Very Quirky Suicide Triple Squeeze

From Actual Play. June 12, 2008. Reported in Bridge World.
10652                          J4
4                              AKJ76
J965                           1032
10985                          K64
East had opened 1H. NS then ended up in 3NT (matchpoints), with an opening lead of a heart. East then cashed 2 high hearts.

The second high heart triple-squeezed West. Discarding a spade made declarer's fourth spade good, of course, and discarding a diamond made dummy's fourth diamond good. If a club is discarded, then declarer can overtake a diamond honor with the ace to take two clubs finesses (and then the fourth club will be good).

So this is a suicide triple-squeeze. Amazingly, it occurs at trick 2, and it is inflicted on the player with only 1 HCP, not the one with 12 HCP. That is enough to deserve mention.

A Very Unusual Loser Count

But there is more. The first "quirk" is that this triple-squeeze works one trick too early. The loser count is two, which is perfect for a triple squeeze. But the triple squeeze worked before the last free winner (the queen of hearts) was cashed.

Why is this? There is essentially a "Morton's Fork" in this squeeze. Declarer can unblock diamonds before crossing to the queen of spades. Then declarer has 2 club tricks, 3 diamonds, 1 heart, and 3 spades. Or declarer can overtake the queen of diamonds with the ace and take two club finesses. Then declarer has 2 club tricks, 3 diamonds, 1 heart, and 3 spades. So it only adds up to nine, but it is declarer's choice whether it is 3 diamond winners or three club winners. So functionally there are three winner's in each suit and the squeeze occurs one trick early.

As far as I know, this "Morton's fork" situation in a squeeze cannot occur with a simple squeeze. It probably needs the triple squeeze to be present.

Repeating the Triple Squeeze in the Same Suits

Normally, a triple squeeze repeats if you can run the tricks in the suit that West abandoned and then run a simple squeeze on West. Declarer is not close to being able to do this -- any attempt to cash tricks in any suit means removing all entries from dummy, except for if West abandons diamonds, and then the threats are both sitting in front of West.

However, West made the unfortunate choice of pitching a spade. If declarer has one less spade and one more diamond, this is the right choice. But not this hand.

East of course continued hearts. West was now triple squeezed for the second straight trick, in the same three suits! Pitching a diamond or club has the same unfortunate consequences as before (setting up the fourth club or diamond). The threat in the spade suit is nonmaterial. Declarer already has four spade tricks. But if West pitches a spade, declarer now has two spade entries to dummy and hence can take the club finesse twice.

In retrospect the literally repeating triple squeeze needed the first squeeze to occur with one free winner still unplayed. The last free winner then squeezed another card out of West, and West had chosen to discard on the first triple squeeze the suit that she could not afford to pitch a second card in.