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
On the first board of a large matchpoint tournament,
I pick up the sort of hand I only hold at matchpoints.
AK10 A64 KQ53 AK2
RHO deals and passes and I open 2, the big bid in
our system. Partner bids 2, 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.
4 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.
| 97652 |
| AK10 |
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
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 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 A, cash the high clubs, cross to
the 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