Mama Told Me
by Géza Ottlik
South to make 4
Opening lead: 2
The solution to this ordinary-looking hand is a play that simply would not occur to most declarers at the table. When we were little babies, our mothers warned us never to squander our trumps, lest something bad happen.
The trump lead is best for the defenders; clearly, they are not about to permit a diamond ruff. After winning the 8 and finessing in spades, the key is to play three rounds of clubs, ruffing in hand! This seemingly superfluous maneuver, of trumping a loser in the long hand, effects a knockout squeeze on RHO — that is, a squeeze in three suits, one of which is trumps.
If east discards a spade, the heart entries can be used to set up and cash a spade trick. Similarly, a diamond discard relinquishes control of that suit; as the defenders must continue their trump leads, declarer would have time to enjoy the long diamond.
East's alternative is to "discard" a heart, which lets declarer draw all the trumps in two rounds and ruff a diamond at his leisure.