Article 7K65 Main

Canada Wins the Gold

 by Richard Pavlicek

Canada is king! The bridge exhibition at the Salt Lake Winter Olympics was won by the Canadian national team: Keith Balcombe, Gordon Campbell, Nick Gartaganis, Fred Gitelman, Peter Jones and Joe Silver. Many saw this as an upset, but with bridge now a winter sport (ha-ha) I guess it’s no surprise that our northern neighbor surged to the fore.

This deal from the round-robin stage caught my fancy. It was played eight times, but only three teams (including Canada) reached the laydown slam. One team stretched to a grand slam (down one) and four teams stopped in game. The bidding shown is a Standard American auction to 6 C, though 6 NT would be a better contract.

South dealsS A Q 8WestNorthEastSouth
N-S vulH 9 5 22 C
D Q 9 4 3Pass2 NTPass3 C
C Q 7 3Pass3 DPass4 C
S 10 9 3 2TableS K J 7 5Pass4 SPass6 C
H J 10 6 3H K Q 8 7All Pass
D 10 8 7 6 5D J 2
CC 9 6 2
S 6 4
H A 4
6 C SouthC A K J 10 8 5 4

What interested me about this deal was the play; or more precisely, its application to squeeze-play theory. After a diamond lead, can declarer win all 13 tricks? With the S K offside, the obvious answer is no; but a closer look reveals a potential double squeeze: West guards diamonds, East guards spades, and together they guard hearts. Alas, the traditional squeeze fails because dummy is squeezed first.

But wait! The presence of the S 6 as an alternate threat (instead of the S Q) brings the squeeze back to life. I’ll leave it you as an exercise. Make 7 C (or 7 NT) after a diamond lead against any defense. (An original major-suit lead breaks up the squeeze.)

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© 2002 Richard Pavlicek