A Teammate's Problem

Today we are playing in the national Board-a-Match championship's qualifying round. We are doing OK, but nothing special. We'll probably qualify. The day after tomorrow, I'll be playing with one of my teammates in the Blues. He got to play today's most interesting hand.
S: K98
H: Q1054
D: 43
C: KQ75
S: Q542
H: J983
D: 106
C: J96
S: A106
H: AK762
D: A87
C: 108
S: J73
D: KQJ952
C: A432
Pass1H:2D:All Pass
The bidding was similar at each table. My partner led an agricultural small heart, his partner's suit. Eventually, declarer lost two spade tricks and the trump ace, so we were -130.

My teammate was favored with a spade lead, won by the S:A, and saw the H:K shift. He knocked out the trump ace, drew trumps and floated the S:J for 11 tricks and a win on the board.

At lunch the next day, one of our opponents complained about this board to me, about how idiotic it was for his partner to fail to cover the S:J. I replied that it was even worse for declarer to give him the chance; after their start, he was cold for 11 tricks. Right then, partner walks in, looks at the diagram, and "explains" his line of play. I know I don't understand his explanation, and I'm sure I don't want to. In any case, all the cards are marked. The S:Q must be in the opening leader's hand, and if third hand didn't have the S:10, he'd probably continue the suit, if not at trick 2, surely when he was in with the trump ace. Obviously, both heart honors are on the right as well. So to make five, declarer can simply draw trumps, cross to the board in clubs, and run the H:Q. Of course, RHO has to cover, but then this position arises before the last trump is played:

S: K9
H: 10
S: Q5
H: J
S: 106
H: 7
S: J7
D: 2
On the last trump, West is simple squeezed in the majors.

It's very rare to see all the information present for a transfer squeeze to be a logical play, but here it was. And was missed, of course. How sad. Someone must have had the good fortune to get a spade lead, so he could find the transfer squeeze, but I didn't hear about it.

Copyright © 2004 Jeff Goldsmith