Left Field 06

Now we can take another look at the deal in my previous article, but when East leads the three of spades against 6NT. If there has been a lead directional double by West when South has bid 2S as a rangefinder, declarer will almost certainly not make because what appears to be a ‘safe’ lead of the diamond jack will give declarer enough clues to make, as we saw in our previous analysis. The lead of the spade three puts declarer under immediate pressure and there is no reason not to put in the queen in the hope that East has the king, or that the clubs behave, or a squeeze develops. Thus, the queen loses to West’s king and West then returns a low spade, taking out dummy’s ace and leaving declarer in an awful spot. How should declarer proceed?

Board 13 Dealer N All Vul


What declarer should NOT do is panic. Nor should declarer start on clubs because that is the crucial suit and losing a club trick will spell instant death. Declarer can count eight top tricks, so does need four club tricks. But the clubs can wait in the hope that some sort of squeeze would operate before clubs are played. So, declarer plays on hearts, East showing out on the second one. Next, declarer plays a top diamond and all is revealed. East has led the THREE of spades so can be assumed to have either Jxx or 10xx and not a doubleton, so West is known to have four clubs. The only play for declarer will be to play the ace and follow with the jack. But before that, declarer takes the other hearts and then the top diamonds, in the hope that West will discard a club in order to keep a high spade. But West will throw all the spades, because East has made the correct lead of the THREE and not then TEN. Do you now see why East’s TEN is such a crucial card and why the squeeze does not work, but would have worked had East led the ten? West would then have been squeezed in spades and clubs and East’s final spade (the five) would have been useless against declarer’s seven! Normally a squeeze will work if declarer is one trick short of the contract but not this time. So, why does Deep Finesse still make 6NT when East leads the three of spades? Have fun thinking this through before the next exciting installment on squeezes.