Left Field 05

If you learn to understand squeeze play, you will be amazed how often you can gain that extra overtrick, but not only that, how often a squeeze can help you out of a really tight spot. Often, in such challenging situations, not only will you need to execute an intricate squeeze play, you may need to alter your technique to fit in with the facts as you know them. This fascinating deal occurred at X-Clubs on Friday 28/07/2023.

Board 13 Dealer N All Vul


When North opens 1NT (12-14) and South asks for North’s range, the inevitable final contract should be 6NT. Most declarers who received the lead of the jack of diamonds failed when the black suit finesses both lost. Some Norths were put under immediate pressure when East led a spade after West doubled South’s 2S ‘rangefinder’.

When the jack of diamonds was led, West showed out and discarded a spade, signalling encouragement according to their agreed methods. How should declarer proceed? The normal play would be to finesse the jack of clubs after taking one or two top hearts. That loses to West’s queen and the end result is one down when the spade finesse loses. Is there a better way?

When West shows out on the very first diamond, declarer’s plan should change. With a diamond void in the West hand, West is bound to have longer clubs than East, hence more likely to have the queen. Declarer should therefore lead the ace from dummy and follow with the jack. This finesse works but when West covers the jack and the ten is cashed, not surprisingly, East shows out. West now has the good club. But no need to despair. Declarer has a perfect count on the hand, and after taking the top diamonds and hearts, leads his last club. West wins but has to lead a spade round to dummy’s AQ for the last two tricks. Not difficult with the proper technique, and not possible to go wrong in the end play because West will have to keep only two spades or surrender their club trick. Such end plays are often missed by many even experienced players, so do practice them. In the next issue we’ll look at declarer’s play when East leads a spade against 6NT by North.