Main     Article 7K65 by Richard Pavlicek    

Canada Wins the Gold

The bridge exhibition held at the Salt Lake Olympics was won by Canada: 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 (hehe) 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 (Canada was one) reached the laydown slam. Four teams stopped in game, and one team stretched to a grand slam, down one. The bidding shown is a Standard American auction to 6 C, although 6 NT would be a better contract.

6 C by South

N-S Vul
S A Q 8
H 9 5 2
D Q 9 4 3
C Q 7 3
S 10 9 3 2
H J 10 6 3
D 10 8 7 6 5
C
TableS K J 7 5
H K Q 8 7
D J 2
C 9 6 2
Lead: D 6S 6 4
H A 4
D A K
C A K J 10 8 5 4

West

Pass
Pass
Pass
All Pass
North

2 NT
3 D
4 S
East

Pass
Pass
Pass
South
2 C
3 C
4 C
6 C

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