On the Tablecloth

Playing in a regional pairs event at the Pasadena nationals, we come to the table of a noted expert, distinguished by the presense of a tablecloth, the only one in the room. I pick up in third chair:
 S:4 H:6 D:A862 C:AKQ10842
Partner opens 1S:, RHO, the expert, bids 4H:, and I have a problem. I try 6C:, which seems about what this hand is worth, and all pass. Dummy hits and, perhaps coincidentally, I am in a fine contract.
S: AK1063
H: J7
D: K97
C: J74
S: 4
H: 6
D: A862
C: AKQ10852
The lead is the H:2, which righty wins with the Ace, fooling no one. She thinks for a little while and returns the C:3, which I think is a mistake, but we shall see. I think a diamond would probably be best, or perhaps a heart, but my hand is entirely unknown to her at trick two.

How are my chances? I have seven club tricks and two Ace-Kings, for eleven tricks. If spades are 4-3 or QJ doubleton, I have twelve tricks, which is about 65%, so I have a chance. Is that likely? Hearts are known from the lead to be 7-3. It looks like trumps are 2-1 and there is no void on the right due to the absence of a Lightner slam double. East could be 3-7-2-1, so establishing spades looks like a good shot. Are there any other chances? Yes! If West has five spades and East has the top three hearts, there will be a double squeeze around diamonds. That is why a diamond return would have been best, forcing me to give up the double squeeze, though it would leave me will the possibility of a simple squeeze against West in spades and diamonds. That would require East to be 2-7-2-2, which is possible, but unlikely. Alternatively, West could have D:QJ10, which would account for East's reluctance to play diamonds.

My next move ought to be to test spades and see what I can find out about the hand, so I play the C:8, covered with the 9, and won with the Jack. Top spade, spade ruffed high, and C:5 to the seven have drawn trumps, East pitching a heart on the second club. I cash the other top spade, and righty pitches another heart. I pitch a diamond and take stock. I need a squeeze. East was clearly 2-7-3-1. That means a simple squeeze in the pointed suits will not work, so I am reduced to a double squeeze, hoping East has the H:AKQ. What if she doesn't? The H:J will be a one-card menace against both opponents, which is normally worthless, but just in time, I realize that West will be under pressure in three suits. If he misses the squeeze and pitches his heart honor, I'll have my double squeeze, but I remember that the doubly-guarded one-card menace is an element in the double guard squeeze, a rare bird indeed. What does that need? I need West to have two of the top three diamonds. Let's try it, but I shall need to be careful. I run the clubs, pitching one spade and (careful, now) the nine of diamonds, leaving:

S: 10
H: J
D: K7
C: ---
S: Q
H: Q
D: Q10
C: ---
S: ---
H: K
D: J43
C: ---
S: ---
H: ---
D: A86
C: 2
On the last club, West is pickled. A spade is obviously fatal, and a diamond allows me to cross to the D:K, dropping his Queen and finessing against partner's Jack on the way back, so he pitches the H:Q. I toss the spade from dummy and East is squeezed in hearts and diamonds, so she concedes the rest.
Copyright © 1992 Jeff Goldsmith