Ted's Bridge World Problems

The Charmin

by Ted Muller

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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 ace-queen.

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:

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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.

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