In your typical squeeze, the opponent's discard in a suit makes your card in that suit good.
The winner squeeze is different. You always have the power to establish a trick in a suit, say hearts. You gain a trick when the opponent pitches a winner, allowing you the space to enjoy your heart winner.
Here is a simple example:
Lefty (West) leads a spade against your contract of 1NT. You have only 6 tricks. If you led a heart right now, Lefty will cash 7 tricks. But if you lead your two top clubs, Lefty is forced to pitch a heart and then a spade. Once Lefty has pitched a spade, you can lead hearts. Lefty cashes 5 spades and a heart and you make 1NT.
A Typology of Squeezes
The two main types of squeezes are (1) regular squeezes, in which you gain a trick in a suit when the opponent pitches from a suit, and (2) endplays, where you gain a trick when an opponent is forced to lead away from a tenace.
The winner squeeze hence falls into a third category. The only other squeeze I know of in this category is the winkle/stepping stone squeeze.
I have not seen any book which discusses or analyzes the winner squeeze. Perhaps that is because it often naturally runs itself. Nonetheless, it seems to be a relatively common squeeze (especially if you include pseudo squeezes).
Function of Each Suit
All four suits are involved in the standard winner squeeze, and each suit plays a distinctive role.
- One suit has the squeeze card (clubs in the above example).
- In one suit, Lefty (or whoever the squeeze is against) has winners. That was spades in the above example.
- There is a suit which you can set up tricks by knocking out controls (hearts in the above example).
- There is a suit in which you have a threat and Lefty has to guard the threat, forcing Lefty to save a loser instead of a winner (diamonds in the above example).
Other Features of the Winner Squeeze
The winner squeeze always gains one trick.
The squeeze works even if Lefty is sitting behind both threats.
As the next page discusses, there is no loser count.
Next: Loser Count