On the round of 64 of the Spingold knock-out teams there were two boards with a similar kind of squeeze. From the first segment board number 6:
Two diamonds showed majors and four no-trumps asked partner to pick a game in a minor. Douglas Doub started with the two of hearts to his partner’s Ace and Adam Wildavsky returned the two of diamonds to the second trick. What is your plan?
When dummy came down, I was pretty certain that North has all the remaining trumps. The diamond return revealed anyway, that I don’t have to worry about a trump loser. Why was North doubling the final contract, then. The reason is quite obvious. He must be void in spades and he wanted South to lead that suit. Therefore, the trumps must be drawn before any spade finesse. I took the diamond continuation with dummy’s Jack and continued three more rounds, West discarding one spade and three hearts. Next spade to the Queen, which holds, North discarding a heart, as expected. Now I had two ways to make my contract. Can you spot both of them?
East’s distribution must be 6-5-1-1. If I continue with any club but the Ace to the next trick, either defender has to give me an entry to a second spade finesse. But much nicer way is to make an immaterial squeeze against North. I took the Ace of spades, ruffed a spade into my hand. In the five-card ending dummy had just clubs, I had the King of Hearts, one trump and three clubs and North was down to two small hearts and KJ7 of clubs. When I took my last trump, Wildavsky had no answer. If he discards a club, I concede a club to him. When he discarded one of his hearts, I cashed the King of hearts and endplayed him with a club to the Ten. At the other table our opponents chose their other eight card fit, but went two down in five clubs so that was a 14 IMP gain for us.
The very first board from the second segment: Venkatrao Koneru started with the six of spades. What would your line of play?
Besides the two sure trumps losers you have three potential diamond losers. Spade ruff or two is your big concern, but the obvious line is to win the lead in dummy and take the diamond finesse. Is that a good idea? To play a diamond to the Queen and see what happens? What happens is that you go down. East takes the King of diamonds and continues with three rounds of hearts. The whole hand:
Hua realised that there is no reason to take the diamond finesse on the second trick. If West has the King of diamonds, declarer has always ten tricks if the defenders can’t organize any spade ruffs. Correct line is to play trumps immediately. East wins and plays back a club, which you ruff. A second round of trumps is followed by a second club ruff. Next declarer takes his last trump and plays two more rounds of spades. In the five-card ending North has one spade and four diamonds, West KJ5 diamonds and two clubs and South one high spade, two diamonds and A10 of clubs. What East can discard when a spade is played from the dummy? If a diamond, he can win the diamond continuation, but declarer takes the rest. If a club, declarer takes the Ace of clubs and endplays East with a diamond. At the table East made it easy for Hua with returning the Jack of diamonds to the third trick. Koneru hoped to find the Queen of diamonds from his partner’s hand, but this time the unlucky diamond switch resulted an overtrick, when Hua could ruff his both diamond losers in dummy.