Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Which squeeze? 2

Another installment in "which squeeze should you play for?"

K 10 7 3
Q 3 2
Q J 9
A K 8
A 8
A K 7 6 4
A K 8 4 3

Contract: 7
Lead: 10

You draw trumps (East pitches a club), cash 2 hearts (West pitches a club). Now what?

Answer below the fold.

You could play for a compound squeeze: cash another diamond (pitching a spade) to get to a 7 card ending. East must keep 2 hearts and can't keep 3 of both black suits. Whichever suit he unguards, cash those winners ending in hand (crossing back in spades if needed) then play the last trump. This will squeeze East out of the other black suit, then the final heart honor will squeeze West in the blacks.

The problem with this line is that you'll not see many pitches before guessing which suit East unguarded. Basically, he'll pitch one from each black suit, and you'll have a near 50-50 guess as to which one he started with 4+ of and still guards.

The alternative line (suggested by Jonathan Weinstein) is to ruff a spade. If someone shows out, you'll have either a marked major suit squeeze (vs East) or a marked double squeeze pivoting around clubs. If everyone follows to 3 rounds, you'll still have a guess for which of those 2 squeezes to play for. But, you'll be able to use restricted choice to make that guess -- whichever player shows up with a spade honor will be more likely to be out of spades than to have started with QJxx (about 3:2 for West, and about 3:1 for East). The odds of success are definitely higher.

And, occasionally the ♠10 will just set up.

Perhaps testing hearts early is a mistake. Too complicated for me today, though.

[This hand was taken from a recent post & slightly disguised to make a cleaner entry in this series]

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