Playing matchpoints in a weak club game, we are romping and stomping when an interesting hand comes up. I am South and deal and open a 12-14 notrump. After a normal transfer sequence, I arrive in 4H:.
S: Q2
H: AKQ109
D: 542
C: KQ3
S: A4
H: 653
D: A107
C: A10986
The opening lead is the D:K.

We seem to have a perfect fit, so if all goes well, we have 12 tricks off the top. I don't think partner ought to have investigated slam, though, and I think this will be a normal contract. I do think, however, that he ought to have given more consideration to playing this hand in 3NT. I'd've bid Stayman and then 3NT when discovering the absence of a 5-4 heart fit.

The play seems straightforward at first, but what if a key suit is 4-1? I might actually go down in this contract! Because it is matchpoints, I don't think I can afford to think so negatively; most of the time everything will be reasonably friendly and I think I see a line that might produce 13 tricks.

I win the first trick and test hearts. Both follow, so I draw a third round, LHO's pitching a diamond. I try the top two clubs and that suit is friendly, too. Now the key play: I cash one more heart pitching a spade from hand and run the clubs. This catches LHO in a ruffing squeeze, because she cannot guard both her S:K and D:KQxxx. RHO pitched the D:J early, so I don't even have to guess the distribution, not that it'd be hard in this case.

I, of course, get the three-card endposition right by ruffing the D:10 and crossing back to the S:A to enjoy my beer.

This wasn't all that hard a trump squeeze to find, but they don't grow on trees. I'm glad I got to justify our choice to play the hand in hearts rather than in notrump.

Jeff Goldsmith,, Aug. 19, 1996