Trump Compound Squeezes

by Aimin Yang, Shaanxi, China

A compound squeeze may occur where both opponents guard two suits, and one of them guards a third suit. The classic compound squeezes rarely involve a ruffing menace, but in some cases the classic compound squeezes will fail when, through the power of a bilaterally-guarded ruffing menace, a trump compound squeeze will mature. Consider these two situations:

Situation 1:

 NORTH ♠ A J 3 ♥ 9 ♦ A J ♣ 2 WEST ♠ Q 10 9 ♥ J 10 ♦ K Q ♣ — EAST ♠ K 7 5 ♥ K Q ♦ 4 3 ♣ — SOUTH ♠ 2 ♥ A 2 ♦ 5 ♣ A K 9

Here, spades and hearts are guarded by both opponents, diamonds only by West, so there is no double squeezes. What about a classic compound squeeze?

In notrump, South, the declarer cannot take the spade ace or heart ace in advance, because they are necessary entries for any compound squeeze. If he cashes the diamond ace, then leads clubs, West will discard spades, and a double-squeeze fails, because declarer lacks a second winner with the heart menace.

Suppose South holds the diamond ace and plays two clubs; West discards two spades, dummy a spade, leaving:

 NORTH ♠ A J ♥ 9 ♦ A J ♣ — WEST ♠ Q ♥ J 10 ♦ K Q ♣ — EAST ♠ K 7 5 ♥ K Q ♦ — ♣ — SOUTH ♠ 2 ♥ A 2 ♦ 5 ♣ 9

When declarer cashes the club nine, West can throw his last spade, and dummy is squeezed. Thus, the classic compound squeeze does not work.

However, suppose that clubs are trumps. When declarer plays the club ace, West is squeezed among three suits. Clearly, he cannot give up a diamond. (1) If he discards a heart, there is a heart menace against East, and a double-squeeze ensues. (2) If West throws a spade, declarer can ruff a spade, making the last spade in dummy a menace against East, so a double-squeeze matures here also, with the major suits playing reversed roles.

Note the difference between this case with diamond ace as an entry in a menace suit and the last possibility above, where diamond is cashed in advance, after which the spade ace becomes a critical entry.

Situation 2:

 NORTH ♠ A J 3 ♥ A 9 2 ♦ — ♣ 2 WEST ♠ K 10 7 ♥ K 10 4 ♦ — ♣ 3; EAST ♠ Q 9 5 ♥ Q J 5 ♦ — ♣ 4; SOUTH ♠ 2 ♥ 3 ♦ K ♣ A K 9 8

Here, both hearts and spades have bilaterally-guarded ruffing menaces. When South runs clubs, if East gives up a major-suit card, declarer can build a menace against West by ruffing, leading to a double-squeeze. Observe that neither a common double-squeeze nor a compound squeeze will work, so this is a genuine trump compound squeeze.

This is a similar situation:

Situation 3:

 NORTH ♠ A J 3 ♥ A 9 ♦ A 2 ♣ 2 WEST ♠ K 10 7 ♥ K 10 ♦ 5 4 2 ♣ — EAST ♠ Q 9 5 ♥ Q J ♦ Q J 10 ♣ — SOUTH ♠ 2 ♥ 3 ♦ K 7 3 ♣ A K 9

When clubs are trumps, there is a trump compound squeeze; but in notrump, a classic compound squeeze can also be excuted, so this layout is not a pure trump compound squeeze.

Apparently, the ruffing menaces against both opponents in Situations 1 and 2 play unique roles, and those two situations are the basic forms of trump compound squeezes.

ESOTERICA

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