Freeze 'n Squeeze

The first round often seems to be an omen for the rest of the tournament. It is easy not to be in full form yet, so extra concentration is worth expending. On the first board of a large matchpoint tournament, I pick up the sort of hand I only hold at matchpoints.
 S:AK10 H:A64 D:KQ53 C:AK2
RHO deals and passes and I open 2C:, the big bid in our system. Partner bids 2D:, semi-automatic, and I continue with 2NT to show my 23-count. Partner transfers to spades and bids 3NT, giving me a choice of games. 4S: is likely to be best, all things considered, but this partner is not a good judge of when to supress his major in deference to matchpoints, so I do it for him, knowing that my decision could turn out wrong. In big events, though, trying for a top is sometimes a good idea. When dummy hits, I see that I have luckily compensated for partner.
S: 97652
H: J93
D: A94
C: 107
S: AK10
H: A64
D: KQ53
C: AK2
With partner's hand, I would have bid Stayman to find a 5-4 spade fit, but would have bid 3NT if I did not find one. Fortunately, we reached 3NT anyway. I am a little surprised by the opening lead. It is the H:10. I think that they have found the double-dummy best lead. I wonder how she found it? My first order of business is to ensure a second heart stopper. I can do that by the technique called ``freezing the suit.'' I cover with the H:J and duck the Queen. East mumbles for a little while and shifts to a small spade. Evidently, she's placed me with a doubleton spade and is hoping that her partner has an entry. I'm hoping, meanwhile, that this spade is not a singleton. Suddenly my cold game will have evaporated. I win and cash the other high spade and continue with a third, East having underled her Queen doubleton. West wins and continues with a low heart and I finally have to think about this hand. I guess I'm not quite awake yet because I just realized that I have not yet counted my tricks! Four spades, a heart, three diamonds, and two clubs is ten. I have lost two tricks already, so the timing is right for a squeeze. It looks good at first glance: only one opponent can guard diamonds, only one can guard hearts, and both can cover clubs, so I should have a double squeeze. Unfortunately, the menaces are not correctly placed for the double squeeze. It seems that the hearts lie over the menace. If lefty has the diamond guard, then I have a Type L double, which is the one that does not operate. I'll have to rely on a single squeeze instead; the most likely one is a red suit squeeze against East. So, I win the H:A, cash the high clubs, cross to the D:A and run the spades. East started with J10xx in diamonds, and is squeezed. I make eleven tricks for +660 and a complete top board. Today will be a good day.
Copyright © 1994 Jeff Goldsmith