Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Saturday, January 12th, 2013

The master played this way and that,
And Atherton, amazed thereat,
Said, “‘Now I have a thing in view
That will enlighten one or two.’

Edwin Arlington Robinson

East-West North
West ♠ A 5 2
 Q 9 4 3
 9 6 5
♣ 9 5 3
West East
♠ Q 6 4
 A K Q 10 4
♣ Q J 7 6 4
♠ 10 9 7 3
 A 10 2
 8 7 2
♣ 10 8 2
♠ K J 8
 K J 8 7 6 5
 J 3
♣ A K
South West North East
1 Pass Pass
2 3♣ 4 All pass


.Today's deal illustrates what to an experienced bridge player is a rather unlikely theme because it runs counter to the idea of what a squeeze is. Simply put, if you guard one suit and your partner another suit, neither of you should be squeezed. If you each have to guard a third suit, you can understand a squeeze might operate – but if there are only two danger suits, and two of you to look after those suits, how can any pressure be brought to bear? Watch and learn!

Against four hearts West began by playing off his three top diamonds, eliminating that suit as a source of pressure for declarer. Declarer ruffed the third diamond and played a trump. East took the second trump and sensibly exited with the club two, giving nothing away.

Declarer won this in hand and simply ran his trump, reducing to a position where dummy had ace-third of spades and two small clubs, while declarer had three spades, a trump and the master club.

When South led his last trump, West had to keep the spades guarded and so pitched down to one club, while a spade was discarded from dummy. Now East had to throw a spade to keep control of the clubs. Reading the position, South (who knew West had the spade queen because of East’s pass in response to his partner’s opening bid) led the spade jack, covered all around. The fall of the 10-9 of spades meant declarer’s hand was now high.

It is tempting to double and then bid hearts, and this plan will work fine if the opponents do not intervene and deprive you of the chance to describe your hand efficiently; but they may well do so. The hand is at the absolute top of the range for a one-heart overcall, but that would be my choice. Beef up the hearts by adding the 10, and you might double.


♠ K J 8
 K J 8 7 6 5
 J 3
♣ A K
South West North East

For details of Bobby Wolff’s autobiography, The Lone Wolff, contact If you would like to contact Bobby Wolff, please leave a comment at this blog. Reproduced with permission of United Feature Syndicate, Inc., Copyright 2013. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact


Iain ClimieJanuary 26th, 2013 at 9:41 am

Hi Mr. Wolff,

It is a fascinating end position (although East, I think, has to hold both the S10 and 9) but I wondered whether a club switch at T3 helps. I suspect it doesn’t – West has to find discards on the torrent of hearts and can led his clubs go at first but then has to keep the DQ so comes down to 2S. The D9 is then thrown from dummy and East also has to come down to 2S to guard the clubs. The SQ then drops regardless, although clearly West has it.


Iain Climie

bobby wolffJanuary 26th, 2013 at 9:59 am

Hi Iain,

A keen analysis by you only creates a different ending, but with the same result. This good stuff is brought about by technique (order of the playing of the suits) card reading (sure of the location of certain card(s) here the queen of spades) and, of course, timing. Oft times, deft timing by the defense triumphs, but here all advantage goes to the declarer except against the unnatural (to say the least) club lead and eventual club continuations therein ruining the timing since after that start three high diamonds could be played eliminating the minor suit cards before the squeeze technique can function.

David desJardinsJanuary 26th, 2013 at 3:16 pm

Something is wrong here. West can just duck the spade jack. Then declarer has the spade ace and king, but can’t score them both. East gets a club trick at the end.

David desJardinsJanuary 26th, 2013 at 3:18 pm

Oops, sorry, I didn’t read the column carefully enough. That’s what’s wrong! My bad.

bobby wolffJanuary 26th, 2013 at 6:04 pm

Hi David dJ,

The point you made is very easily missed and is what is aptly called a criss-cross application of a squeeze. Thus, it is so named, and at least to my judgment, is MUCH better to delve deeply (as you have) and learn from it, than to stay clear and not see it in its graceful and, of course powerful, environment.