I am playing in the Platinum Pairs against opponents I don't recognize. There are not very many of those. Playing 12-14 notrumps, we reach game via a straightforward auction.
S: J
H: K1053
D: KJ643
C: J98
S: A109
H: 842
D: AQ52
C: AK5
1NTPass3NTAll Pass
The opening lead is the S:8 to the jack, queen, and ace. I have nine easy tricks, but I'd like to make overtricks. I'm a little concerned that other tables will start with 1NT and not get a spade overcall. Those declarers will likely have an easier time in the play, so I need to go all out for at least 10 tricks. The most promising approach is to score the H:K. If I lead up to it, I think LHO is likely to fly ace if it has it, so that he can clear spades. If he doesn't, then I expect that the 1NT openers will also hear a spade overcall, so I'll reevaluate.

When I lead a small heart, LHO does, in fact, play the ace. RHO drops the H:9, upside-down. LHO, as expected, plays a spade, and RHO clears the suit. That's a little strange, as it looks like spades are 3-6, and I know RHO has no entry. On the other hand, I have to find two pitches from dummy. On the second round of spades, a heart is easy, but on the third, any discard is inconvenient. I'd like to be able to squeeze LHO in clubs and hearts, but no matter what I pitch, a simple squeeze won't work, because I need both menaces, and if I pitch a club, I'll need LHO to have five of them. That's possible; he could be 3415. I see a better way, however, if I can guess their distribution, which I probably can. I pitch a second heart from dummy, baring the king. Next, I run five rounds of diamonds, pitching a club from hand. I will reach this end position:

H: K
C: J98
H: 84
If either opponent has four hearts or both honors plus the C:Q, he will have been criss-cross squeezed. But I'll need to know the count in the end. I think this is the best plan, so I embark on it. While I'm running the diamonds, RHO shows out on the second round and pitches two small hearts. Looks like the H:9 was honest count. On the fourth round of diamonds, RHO pitches a spade and LHO shucks a club. On the last diamond, RHO pitches another spade, and LHO pitches a club. So who has what? It really looks like RHO was 6313 exactly. If he has the C:Q, I'm doomed, but if LHO has it, it's coming down. So I cash the club honors, the queen drops, and dummy is good.
Copyright © 2011 Jeff Goldsmith