Playing rubber bridge at lunch time at the office, I have a great hand, and I stretch a little to bid 6NT. (For the record, the auction was 2 2; 2NT 3; 6NT, with the opponents silent throughout.) The opening lead is a small heart, and these are the cards I see:
|x led|| |
I decide to try the J rather than the K, and it wins. I cross to my hand with the A and try another heart. West rises with the A and leads a spade. He's the kind of player who always leads fourth best from his longest and strongest against notrump, even from a suit the opponents have bid and even against a slam. Anyway, what kind of a weird lead would x from AQx be? So I'm certain West has the Qx left and East is out. Now what?
I've lost one trick, and I can count 11 winners off the top (four spades, two hearts, three diamonds, and two clubs). I need one more. If I'm wrong about the hearts, the Q will drop under the K, and the 10 will be good (but I don't believe that). If East has the Q, a club finesse will work (but I'd rather not rely on that unless I have to). Wait! If I'm right about the hearts, the 10 is a squeeze threat against West, and if the diamonds aren't split 4-4, the 7 is a squeeze threat too. Careful now. Think. How does this work?
Cash the A. Cash the AKQ, throwing a heart and the J (so that the 10 can win if I decide to take the club finesse after all). West follows twice and then shows out, so yes, the red-suit guards are split, and at this point I could claim, but I play it out anyway. (I'm not entirely confident I've got everything right, and besides, explaining it might take longer than playing it. Also, I confess, I'm enjoying myself.) Finally, cash the Q. Now the lead is in dummy with this four-card ending:
This is a non-simultaneous double squeeze. Cash the J, throwing a club. If West has the Q, he has to bare it to keep the Q guarded. Now cash the K. If East has the Q, he has to bare it to keep the 7 covered. Either way, cash the K and the Q falls, making the 10 good. What a thrill!
It turned out that West had the guarded Q, so sure enough, just taking the finesse wouldn't have worked. But in reality, East miscounted and discarded his last diamond guard on the J, one trick before he had to. I'm not letting that get to me, though.