Squeezing Potential Winners
If you search the internet for a nonmaterial squeeze, you are likely to find a strange squeeze that is remarkable similar to a winner squeeze.
Consider this winner squeeze:
The contract is 3NT. Lefty leads a spade. The hope for the ninth trick is in hearts, but a direct attack on the hearts will not succeed. Essentially, Lefty is winning the race to set up tricks. But the third club winner squeezes a spade out of Lefty, and now the heart can be set up.
So, technically, Lefty is not pitching a winner, Lefty is pitching a potential winner. This is a trivial difference. Furthermore, if you lead a heart at trick two and Lefty returns a spade, you can run the same winner squeeze at this time.
Squeezing a Critical Loser
Now let me rearrange the heart honors from the previous hand.
You duck a round of spades and win the second spade trick. You are still losing the race to set up your heart trick before Lefty sets up spades tricks. But again, on the third club winner Lefty is squeezed. Lefty has a small heart, but Lefty cannot afford to pitch it. It is critical to the defense that Righty win the first round of hearts and clear the spade suit. To accomplish this, Lefty has to save a small heart. So Lefty has to throw a spade, allowing one heart trick to be set up.
If you think of the small heart as being like a winner, then this is a winner squeeze. In any case, it functions like a winner squeeze, forcing Lefty to pitch a winner.
Note also that if you play a round of hearts, Right can win and clear spades. But then a straightforward winner squeeze is present.
This squeeze is described in the book by Ottlik. It also appears in "Masterpieces of Declarer Play" by Julian Pottage. I have no idea how often it might occur at the table, but the situation itself is fairly commonplace. It seems to be considered (at least on the internet) to be the paradigmatic example of a "nonmaterial" squeeze. It is very neat that the squeeze works against a small card that was never hoping to win a trick. However, structurally, it is identical to the winner squeeze.
Neither of the above authors notes that a heart can be led at trick two. Righty wins and clears the spades, but now the club winners execute a simple winner squeeze against Lefty.
Extended Menace in the Threat Suit
Julian Pottage, in his book "Masterpieces of Declarer Play", presents this hand:
Lefty passed originally, then made a takeout double showing spades and diamonds. Against 3NT, Lefty leads a small diamond. You win with your queen and Righty plays a small diamond, suggesting an odd number. Now the hand can pretty much be played double dummy.
This is a potential winner squeeze. Lefty is about to set up a suit. You have 8 tricks and would like a ninth. You have a ninth trick in hearts, but you will lose the race to establish it.
The only difference is that your spade threat is an extended menace against Lefty. On this hand, that is critical. If you cash four rounds of clubs, Lefty can pitch a heart and two spades. Now Righty controls the third round of spades. You can set up your fourth spade, but you do not have an entry to it.
Fortunately, the extended menace squeeze functions one round earlier. In other words, you only have to cash three club winners to execute the squeeze against Lefty. If Lefty throws a spade on the third club winner, you can set up your fourth spade and still have an entry in clubs.
And of course if Lefty throws a diamond or another small heart, you can safely set up your heart trick. (As noted, this squeeze works fine if you lead a heart at trick two.)
Next: The Pseudo Winner Squeeze