Playing in the national board-a-match, we reach 3NT quickly
I get the opening lead of the J against 3NT.
I have two spades, one heart, three diamonds, and one club
on top with chances for more tricks in every suit but spades.
It seems obvious to start on the clubs, so I do.
I win the K in dummy and play a club towards the king.
RHO inserts the 9, and my K loses to the ace.
LHO thinks for quite a while and continues with a small diamond.
That gives me a trick, so I'm up to 8 tricks now and I can
create at least one more, probably two more, in clubs. I let
the diamond run around to my curse as RHO shows out, pitching
the 10, upside down. Continuing setting up the clubs,
I play a club to the 8, which holds! RHO discards a small
Hmmm. I have nine top tricks so far. LHO has nine minor suit
cards and probably has the A, so I have great hopes for
heart finesses. If both hearts are onside, I can make 11 tricks
for a sure win on the board. If either heart is onside, I still
have 10 tricks, which is at least half a board. There may be
blockage issues, but I think I can overcome them. I want to
try to make 11 tricks, so I lead a heart to the ten. Ick. It
loses to the J. That was probably a singleton; had I
hooked the Q instead, I'd have had my 11 tricks. LHO exits
with a diamond to dummy and I don't even have 10 tricks for
certain, though RHO surely has the K and while spades
are blocked, I may be able to squeeze RHO in the majors to get
my tricks back. If the J really was a singleton, I
have a really cool end position. The cards are now:
I need to cash the A in order to squeeze RHO, so I take
the heart finesse now. It succeeds as LHO shows out, pitching
a diamond. Yep, I blew to the stiff. 11 tricks were available.
That means the hand is double-dummy now, so let's look at the
I cash the A pitching a club from dummy, and
RHO can spare a heart. On the A, however,
LHO is squeezed. He can't pitch a club or I can
run the clubs, so he must come down to a doubleton
spade. That isn't too painful; the 6 doesn't
look very important. When he pitches a spade, I can
get rid of dummy's last low club. Now I can continue with a
spade from hand. If LHO ducks this, spades are unblocked
and I have my ten tricks, so he wins it. If he exits
with his spade, again, I have all my tricks, so he
plays a club, locking me away from my last spade
winner in dummy. But now RHO feels the pain:
If he pitches a spade, dummy's spades are good, whereas
if he pitches his last heart, I can cross to my Q
and cash my heart. He tries a heart, so I face my
hand, scoring one spade, three hearts, four diamonds,
and two clubs for ten tricks.
The core of the end position is an "overtaking squeeze,"
an uncommon relative of the steppingstone. But this one
was a non-simulataneous double squeeze. And RHO was
squeezed on the trick his partner led, so it was a
suicide squeeze. So I guess it's a non-simultaneous
double suicide overtaking squeeze. Or just a whatever
It turns out that nothing I did mattered. Our teammates
led spades and beat 3NT two tricks. I don't see how that
is possible, but declarer must have lost his way a few
times. Still, this is one of the coolest end positions
I have ever seen; in the ending, the defense had no choice
but to force it to happen or give me ten easy tricks.
Copyright © 2007 Jeff Goldsmith