Take It Easy on Squeezes By Sam Gordon

ByAna Roth

Ene 12, 2017

The Spokesman-Review – 11/12 Sep 1943

Kibitzer Tells how to Work Bridge Squeeze—Deep Thinking Needed.

Here’s where we come to another squeeze hand. Let’s start learning how we discover the need for a squeeze play. Also how to work the squeeze when we find it is there. There are these seven principles of play: Trumping, establishing suit, unblocking, strip-and-end play, squeeze, infrequent coups, finesse. In that order of choice look for your best play in any deal.

Must Take All Tricks.

In the above deal south must take all 13 tricks, with diamonds as trumps. West leads the spade king. When dummy in the north spreads, south must plan what play will make what he needs. He has no losers in trumps or clubs or hearts. There is a possible loser in spades, he must find some play that will save that second-round spade loser.

Can he do it by trumping? No. Can he do it by establishing some other suit for sluffing spades? No. Can he do it by some way of unblocking? No. Is it possible to acomplish his purpose with a strip-and-end play? Positively not. Because to pull the strip-and-end play you must give up a trick, which would be fatal to a grand slam.

Probes Hand.

So he starts figuring whether there is a chance to use the fifth principle of play in the order of choice of plays. He tries to find out if he has the needs for a squeeze if not, he will look for one of the infrequent coups. If he finds none of those, he will look for a finesse. Notice that he looks for a finesse only as a last resort. It will take some deep thinking to build a foundation for squeezes. Take it easy.

When you press the bur of a squirt gun, the water is forced out. A squeeze play in bridge is something like that. It forces an opponent to give up a card with which he expected to take a trick. When are you able to force a player to give up a winner card?

Only when he has nothing else to spare. And so, a squeeze usuall works best when opponent is down to the fewest possible cards. In the above deal, south must make a grand slam in diamonds. The opening lead from west is the spade king. South takes that with the ace of spades.

Unusual Play Hope

There is a seeming loser in spades. South can see no ordinary way of saving that spade loser. The only hope is with some unusual play that promotes the spade loser into a winner. The only hope of doing that is to force west to give up his spades and hearts. If west is not willing to do so, south must force west to do it. How can west be forced to give up control of some suit he is protecting? Only by getting him into a position where he has nothing to play except from a suit he is trying to protect.

Now Time for Squeeze.

So, after taking the spade ace, south takes six trump tricks and three club tricks. Ten tricks are thus played. Which leaves only three cards in each of the hands. West is reduced to holding the spade queen to protect spades and the heart K Q to protect hearts. South leads his seventh trump and west is squeezed into squirting one of his queens.

If west throws away the spade queen, the dummy nine of spades is good. If west gives up the heart queen, the dummy nine of hearts is good. West is pinched into doing one or another.