The Squeeze-Trim-Endplay: Hand

From actual play, October 8, 2007. Club 110 on Long Island. Reported by Robert Frick. Location of the 7 is unknown.



You opened 1C, your partner bid 1S, you bid 2NT, and your partner raised you to 3NT. The opening lead was the 8. You have 10 tricks and are playing for the second overtrick, at duplicate

You cash the ace, jack and queen of clubs, Lefty pitching a small diamond. The you lead a spade towards your KJx (in case RHO has Ax of spades). Lefty wins the ace and returns the 9 of spades. You win in your hand and play a third round of spades, Lefty now thinking and then playing a small heart.



Now what? (If you cash a club, Lefty discards another heart.) For the moment, I will give you the 7 of diamonds. The "answer" will consider the interesting variations when declarer does not have the seven of diamonds.

This is a pretty basic squeeze-trim-endplay. If Lefty pares down to two diamonds and three hearts, you lead a diamond to set up your long diamond while you still have a heart entry. If Lefty pairs down to three diamonds (or more) diamonds and two (or fewer) hearts, you play your two heart winners and then endplay Lefty in Diamonds.

Now, suppose Righty had the 7 of diamonds. Now Lefty is caught in a one-suited squeeze in diamonds. If his last three diamonds are KJ9, then a small diamond endplays him. If he brilliantly jettisons the nine of diamonds and keeps a small diamond, then you lead the queen of diamonds. As long as declarer's small diamond is larger than Lefty's small diamond, Lefty is endplayed.

No one to my knowledge has offered a hand where a one-suited squeeze occurs within the squeeze trim endplay. It is natural that it would, I just never thought of it. Whether or not it actually occurred in play depends on the spots which are not known.

Another interesting variation occurs when dummy has the 7 of diamonds. You do not want to lead a small diamond and have the dummy win the diamond trick, because the dummy just has two losers. Jettisoning the 7 does not help if dummy has 76 of diamonds.

However the same one-suited squeeze that keeps Righty off lead when she has the seven of diamonds also keeps dummy off lead. Again, if Lefty pares down to KJ9, he is endplayed; if Lefty pares down to KJx, you lead your queen to smother the board's 7 (and hopefully your spot is bigger than Lefty's.

Thanks to Richard Pavilcek, who pointed out that the one-suited squeeze works whenever declarer's spot is higher than defender's. (Of course, we are talking about Lefty's highest spot that is lower than either the dummy's or Righty's; it doesn't help Lefty to have the 7.)

Squeeze-Trim-Endplay Hands