The Bulgarian Squeeze

A Sure-Trick Problem

by Manol Iliev

 NORTH ♠ K 2 ♥ A 10 9 3 2 ♦ K 5 ♣ A 10 9 3 SOUTH ♠ A 10 9 ♥ J 5 4 ♦ A 9 4 3 2 ♣ K 2

West leads the queen of diamonds against South's contract of three notrump. How can declarer guarantee the contract against any distribution and defense?

Solution below.

### Solution

Win with the diamond king and lead the heart deuce to the jack. No problem unless East plays low and West shows out; assume that. Continue with a heart to the nine, taken by East. East cannot safely lead a heart or a club. If East returns a diamond, win with the ace. Unless East started with five diamonds, work on diamonds for a ninth trick. When East is five-five in the red suits, lead a spade to dummy's king. If East follows, lead a club to the king, establishing an extra trick in clubs if East shows out, taking the black aces to strip-squeeze East between the red suits otherwise. If East shows out of spades (he is 0=5=5=3), lead a spade to the ace; if East keeps enough red-suit protection to stop an extra trick in those suits, he can hold at most two clubs, after which club ace-king and a diamond will endplay him. Assume that East returns a spade at trick four.

Win with dummy's king, collecting a spade honor in the process, and lead a diamond. If East follows, win with the ace. If East started with five diamonds, continue as in the previous paragraph; otherwise, lead another diamond and continue working on that suit if West started with three or four diamonds. If East started with four diamonds, and leads a spade (best), finesse the ten. At worst, West wins and leads a black suit, after which East is subject to a red-suit strip-squeeze. Assume that East shows out at trick five.