Double Double Whammy, Part A
by Ted Muller
South to make 7
Opening lead: 8
This hand features a combination of plays that I have not seen elsewhere (and I hope you haven't either) — a knockout squeeze to set up an entry-shifting squeeze.
Against the trump lead, the first five tricks are forced. The ace of spades must be won, followed by a diamond to the king, heart to the ace, and the diamond ace discards south's remaining heart. Now a heart is led from dummy, and east is squeezed, knockout-fashion. If a minor suit is discarded, declarer has sufficient entries back and forth to set up and cash the fifth card in that suit as trumps are drawn; therefore, east must part with his remaining spade.
South overruffs and plays a club to dummy's king, to this position:
The spade jack is led and east is squeezed again, in entry-shifting fashion. If he discards a diamond, then declarer retains the lead in dummy and ruffs out the diamonds; if instead he pitches a club, then the spade jack is overtaken, and a long club is set up.
Alternatively, declarer could elect to "pretty-up" the position. After a club to the king, dummy's last heart is ruffed as east sheds a diamond. The ace of clubs is cashed, followed by a club. West must not trump this lead, for a simple crossruff would ensue. The club is ruffed low in dummy, setting up this elegant ending:
The spade jack is led, overtaken if east discards a club.
No effective opening lead is available; judicious use of entries achieves the desired matrix. For example, against a club lead declarer must be careful not to play on spades early: club king, diamond king, heart ace, diamond ace, heart. In this case, the knockout squeeze on east occurs one trick sooner, before trumps ever have been led.
Now that you have mastered this layout, try your luck on Part B of this problem!