by Ted Muller
Contract: 4♥ by South
Opening lead: ♥9
This problem is especially interesting in that each of the four routes to eleven tricks features a technically different type of squeeze! In all cases, the first five tricks are the same: a heart lead to the queen (not that it matters) and ace; diamond to the king, diamond, trump return won in hand, diamond ruff, to this position:
1-2. Low club to the queen
West cannot duck this trick, lest declarer draw the last trump and continue with a low club toward the jack. After winning the king of clubs, west has a choice:
A. Lead the king of spades
Declarer takes the ace, ruffs a spade, and plays off two rounds of trump, to this position:
Now declarer leads the last trump, discarding a spade from dummy, and west is squeezed in straightforward fashion.
B. Return a club
Declarer wins the club return with the ace and draws east's last trump, leaving this:
The next heart lead catches west in a trump squeeze. A spade discard enables that suit to be set up with one ruff, with the club jack as an entry. If a club is discarded, then a club lead sets up declarer's long card in that suit.
3. Cash the spade ace and ruff a spade
Declarer draws east's last trump; west must discard a spade honor, to this ending:
Declarer leads a low club from hand, which west must duck. Winning dummy's jack,
declarer now leads a spade and discards his low club. Having been squeezed out
of his exit card, west is forced to lead a club into the
Note: for this ending, the ace of spades actually could have been played off at trick three, before leading the second diamond.
4. A club is led to the ace
As always, east's last trump is drawn, and these cards remain:
Another heart is played off and a spade is discarded from dummy, causing poor west to suffer the indignity of a rare trump squeeze without the count. As usual, the club suit cannot be unguarded, so west must discard a spade. Now, ace and a spade ruff sets up that suit with the club jack as en entry.