Monday, September 5, 2011

Moving to The Netherlands

From September 2011, the author of this blog will work and live in The Netherlands.

After an initial setup period I will start visiting bridge clubs and playing tournaments, reporting on deals, technique and events on this blog. I will also start digging more into the organization and ethics of bridge as a [mass] sport. I have some ideas for bridge software as well and look forward to taking the time to program them a bit - I'm thinking of dealers, teaching and scoring programs, easy to use and gain knowledge from.

Wish me luck! 

Kind regards,

Honor Saving Squeeze

Books are filled with experts that (usually sitting South) delight the reader with their ability to plan and execute squeezes. You as a bridge lover can only hope that someday soon you will meet such a beautiful, available and willing squeeze, that you will nail down properly at the bridge table.
Having said that, it's not always the expert, the maestro, or even South that plays, but a normal Matchpoint player that is ready to do anything for that extra trick, and finds himself in the middle of a squeeze. Take this example from Mamaia 2011 festival, evening contest:

All Vul, Contract: 3NT

               ♠ 32
               ♣ 643
       ♠  K87 
    ♥ 76 
    ♦ 87654 
    ♣ KQ8 
  ♠ T654
  ♥ KJ543
  ♦ 9
  ♣ T95
               ♠ AQJ9
               ♣ AJ72

After a sequence in which I announced 4 spades and dummy 4 hearts, I received the K lead against 3NT and (due to a signaling problem probably) Q continuation. I now had 10 easy tricks. However, if the spade finesse works and diamonds do not split worse than 4-2, I can make at least eleven by taking the spade finesse twice, using diamonds as entries to dummy.
Alternatively, I could establish one heart and take a single spade finesse, again for 11 tricks. With the small extra chance that if I play a heart and West does not rise with the King, I can revert do spades and maybe get 12 tricks.

I thus played a heart to the Queen at trick 3. East won and played the last club. I cashed a fourth round of clubs, hoping that opponents will discard diamonds and I would gain confidence in my plan. They indeed did so, however when I played the J to the Q, East discarded a heart. The spade finesse lost so I now lost a trick! There are only 9 tricks left in this ending, with West on play:

All Vul

              ♠ 3
              ♣ -
       ♠  87 
    ♥ 7  
    ♦ 876  
    ♣ - 
  ♠ T65
  ♥ J54
  ♦ -
  ♣ -
              ♠ AJ9
              ♣ -

Fortunately enough, any play by W is wrong. A spade means a free finesse, a diamond or a heart equal a simple squeeze against East.
West played a heart, I played two diamonds finishing in dummy, and East conceded.

In a sense the squeeze brought nothing. I finished with the 10 tricks I had after the second club play. The squeeze was a way to "recover" to 10 tricks after fooling around or "exploring" the possibilities of the deal. Although I lost a trick in the process by blocking diamonds, this rectified the count for a simple squeeze.

I dare to call this squeeze a happy ending of an unclear road. A squeeze that recovers the honor of a greedy declarer. So I named it: "Honor Saving Squeeze" :)

If you're interested in the mechanics of the Squeeze, I suggest you examine "Kelsey on Squeeze Play" by Hugh Kelsey. It truly walks you through the why's and how's of these beauties.

You can find it under the link below or by visiting Hef's Bridge Attic, an powered store on which I bring you the most important and valuable bridge products out there - bridge books, playing cards, bridge software, bridge apparel.

What is your opinion? A clumsy play or a touch of normality? Can the squeeze be broken? (yes, it can :) ). Can East see that after winning the heart King? Let's discuss!

Kind regards,