Ted's Bridge World Dante's Infernal

The Double-Delusion Squeeze

The Friday afternoon duplicate is in progress.  Having ridden my bicycle to the club as a way of incurring some badly needed exercise, I had some time to kibitz a few hands as I was resting up for the return trip across town.  My efforts were rewarded, as I was treated to this unusual situation:


* The 2 opening bid was alerted as Flannery, showing opening count with four spades and five hearts.

South felt that he had too much stuff simply to balance with two notrump, and a takeout double followed by a notrump rebid would have suggested a 20-count or even more.  So he opted for a reasonable compromise of simply getting to game — a good shot in my opinion.

West began the proceedings by playing the ace, king, and another heart; east followed suit once, then discarded a diamond and a club.  Declarer could see only eight sure winners, so he would need an extra trick in a black suit.  Leading a club toward the king right away was somewhat dangerous, however; although west was likely to hold the club ace, it was possible for her to have twelve high-card points without it.

Declarer opted to run his diamonds first to see what transpired.  West followed to the first round, then discarded a club, a spade, and, reluctantly, the queen of clubs!  Upon seeing that, south promptly led the low club from hand to set up his ninth trick.

West grabbed the ace of clubs and played a fourth round of hearts, as RHO discarded the jack of spades.

Game was now in the bag, but declarer naturally wanted as many tricks as the defense would be willing to donate.  The entire hand was known by this time; these were the remaining cards:


Clearly, declarer is entitled to only two more tricks; yet there seems to be an unwritten rule in force at this club:

West knew that she had a good heart to cash; similarly, east knew that she was looking at one or more of the master diamonds.  Neither defender, however, had a clue as to the distribution of the hand or a count of the high-card points; in fact, most players at Dante's Infernal cannot be bothered with such trivial matters.

It is not often that a declarer has a choice of pseudo-squeezes, but that challenge presented itself here.  He could try leading a club at this juncture; in order to keep a spade guard, LHO would be compelled to jettison the heart winner that she had worked so hard to establish.  As an observer, I felt that there was a good chance that LHO would, in fact, discard a spade, perhaps hoping that partner held the king or ace.  If that were the case, she would expect to obtain the lead and cash her precious heart winner after all.

Declarer, however, had another idea.  He cashed the his ace and king of spades instead.  True to form, the east player — her choice seemingly mandated by the bridge gods — held on to her good diamonds for dear life, sacrificing her club stopper.  That enabled declarer to overtake the club jack and cash dummy's eight-spot at the end.  Making four.  The full deal:



A question still nags me: which is the better pseudo-squeeze?  West has a higher-ranking black card to guard than does east; yet she might perceive it as a possible entry if partner still holds a spade honor, and she had worked so hard, after all, to set up that heart trick.  On the other hand, east might well not appreciate the significance of the lowly ten-spot, causing her to hoard her good diamonds in deference to the bridge gods' wishes.  That was the case today.

Add a new item to the lexicon: The Double-Delusion Squeeze.  I rate its likelihood of success as better than 50%!

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