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Interesting Game from the Euro Championships

by David Stevenson

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On rec.games.bridge, Micha Keijzers of the Netherlands asked:

S Axx
H AKx
D AKx
C Axxx
[ ]
S QJx
H Q9xxxx
D xxx
C x

Lead: CK. Maybe someone of you recognizes it. It's from the European championships. How do you play 6H? Well, if you look at it, first thing you need is that the SK is onside, right? So, I thought, I'd have to eliminate clubs, take a spade finesse, and if not covered, endplay west in diamonds to lead spades or so. This was kind of a plan I came up with within 10 seconds, obviously flawed. This person that mentioned the game gave a line of play, apparently found at the table, that was way different: duck the first club!!! And subsequently make you way to reach a squeeze in three suits against west. I can't remember details exactly. Can someone reproduce these? Has anyone seen this game also? What exactly would be the plan with most chance of success? Someone that was also there looking at the game mentioned something of a compound squeeze. What exactly is a compound squeeze? Is this one of them?

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Bernard Danloy replied:

I do not know the details of the hand but it seems easy to imagine what you are asking ( I clearly assume SK is onside ) :

You duck the lead, win the D continuation ( doesn't matter ), ruff a club, lead SQ ( covered ) to the Ace and run all your trumps ( discarding a diamond and a spade ) to reach :

S x
H --
D K
C Ax
S xx
H --
D --
C xx
[ ]
S Jx
H --
D xx
C --

When you lead a diamond to dummy's King, West must pitch a spade if he is the only one who guards the clubs ; if you now cash the Ace of clubs, East gets squeezed in spades-diamonds ....

You are probably right to name this a compound squeeze but I am not an expert ; I can just say you need long clubs ( at least 5 ) with LHO and long diamonds ( at least 5 ) with RHO ; I can also add that, if LHO ducks on SQ, you can endplay him in clubs and force him to lead spades from Kx.

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This was my reply:

Sorry about the slight delay in replying since this was posted some weeks ago.

You say the squeeze will work when LHO has long clubs and RHO has long diamonds, but then it is just a Type R double squeeze, no compound required.

The rules for a Type R dbl are that there must be an R/F winner in the one threat hand. You lead the last R/F/L winner from the one threat hand. In English that means that the last diamond, heart or club winner must be North, and must be cashed while the SJ is still uncashed.

See my article on Double Squeezes.

Ok, that's what you said!

Now, how about a compound squeeze? A compound requires one threat over one opponent - we are assuming that West has at least five clubs. But it does not require long diamonds East. The principle of a compound squeeze is that one opponent is threatened in three suits, and has to discard one: then you reach a double squeeze.

Threats:

Note that both the double threats must be B threats, ie accompanied by an entry. If they were not then the resulting double squeeze would fail. So the diamond threat has to be North.

Some of you may remember I promised to write an article here about classification of compound squeezes based on Love's ideas, but improving and correcting Love. I have not forgotten, despite the promise being over five years ago!!!!!!! Maybe this hand will get me to get round to following my promise. Note1

So what sort of compound squeeze have we here?

There are five types according to my classification: two Type R, two Type L, and the incredibly rare Type B, which Love called an alternate threat compound squeeze. I shall explain these classifications soon in an article as promised, but this particular one looks like Type L, but the requirements are missing. And then, joy of joy, I look to see if it is a Type BR.

The requirements for a Type BR are that one hand should contain the single threat [clubs, North] also a B threat [diamonds] plus an L winner [club ace] plus an entry in B/L [clubs or diamonds, ie the second diamond winner]. The other hand, South, must contain the last free winner [last heart] and a threat opposite North's B threat, ie the third diamond. This is Love's 'alternate threat'.

So the basic requirements are there. CK lead, ducked, to rectify the count, CQ continuation, ruffed, SQ SK SA, four rounds of hearts to reach:

S xx
H --
D AKx
C Ax
S Tx
H --
D 9xx
C Jx
[ ] S 9xx
H --
D Qxxx
C --
S Jx
H 9x
D xxx
C --

Now West is squeezed and must give a spade or a diamond. Of course, there is a problem as with nearly all compound squeezes: ambiguity. Declarer does not know the position and must guess what suit West has given up. Discarding so as to fool declarer is a great defence to compound squeezes.

Assuming declarer has read it right, and the position is as in the diagram, then let us say West gives up a spade. Now there is a Type R double with threats R spades, L clubs, B diamonds. The rule is the L winners must be cashed, and the last R/F winner must be led from South: so DA, CA discarding a D, S to J, last H:

S --
H --
D Kx
C x
S --
H --
D 9x
C J
[ ] S 9
H --
D Qx
C --
S x
H x
D x
C --

Both opponents are squeezed on this trick.

Alternatively, suppose West gives up a diamond at the moment of decision. Now you switch it round to have the diamond threat South, and a Type R dbl with North the single threat hand. So, cash the last heart discarding the diamond threat North [!!], then cross to the DK. When you cash the CA East is squeezed, and when you cash the DA West is squeezed [either first]:

S x
H --
D A
C Ax
S Tx
H --
D --
C Jx
[ ] S 9x
H --
D Qx
C --
S Jx
H --
D xx
C --

Are there any snags? Yes, two. First, suppose West does not cover the SQ. Bernard said you could now throw him in but I do not recommend that in a slam after ducking the first trick ..... (very big grin)

In fact now it is easy because a simple squeeze in the blacks works against West. It could go wrong because after two rounds of hearts you have to cash the D AK, and to avoid ambiguity the CA as well, and someone could ruff one of these.

But the main snag is that you need the D AK in the dummy, so after ducking the opening lead a diamond switch beats you. If you find someone who knows how to defend alternate threat compound squeezes correctly then my advice is to look for an easier game!!!

Note1 The article has now been written - see it here!

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Editor's note:

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