Mystery #5

Squeeze to Unblock a Suit

The question in Mystery #5 was posed by the late Norm Roshel more than 30 years ago. To the best of our knowledge, no one has ever produced a satisfactory answer.

Question 5: Is there a deal in which South, the declarer, can execute a squeeze against an opponent whose guards include a card preventing the run of a blocked suit?

Here is an example of a blocked suit:

 NORTH ♠ A K J 3 2 WEST ♠ 10 9 8 EAST ♠ Q SOUTH ♠ 7 6 5 4

At notrump, South, declarer, can take only four spade tricks if the North hand has no side entry. However, if West were to discard a spade, declarer could take five spade tricks.

From N. Scott Cardell, Pullman, WA:

### Solution 1 (using the spade suit from the question):

South to make six notrump against any opening lead and defense.

 NORTH ♠ A K J 3 2 ♥ 10 8 7 2 ♦ 3 2 ♣ 3 2 WEST ♠ 10 9 8 ♥ Q J 5 4 ♦ Q 8 7 5 ♣ 5 4 EAST ♠ Q ♥ 9 6 3 ♦ J 10 4 ♣ J 10 9 8 7 6 SOUTH ♠ 7 6 5 4 ♥ A K ♦ A K 9 6 ♣ A K Q

Against any non-diamond lead declarer can cash the aces of spades, hearts and clubs, then lead two more rounds of clubs. As shown, declarer must play avoidance against East if West sluffs a diamond, but a nonpositonal variant is possible. A low-diamond lead produces basically the same ending. On the silly lead of the diamond queen, declarer ducks and claims the rest.

### Solution 2:

South to make seven notrump against any opening lead and defense.

 NORTH ♠ A K 8 7 4 ♥ J 9 6 ♦ 7 5 4 ♣ 7 2 WEST ♠ 9 6 3 ♥ Q 10 8 5 ♦ J 9 6 3 ♣ 10 8 EAST ♠ Q J ♥ 7 4 3 2 ♦ 10 8 ♣ 9 6 5 4 3 SOUTH ♠ 10 3 2 ♥ A K ♦ A K Q 2 ♣ A K Q J

Against any opening lead, declarer cashes spade ace, heart ace-king, diamond ace and finishes the clubs, discarding a diamond and a spade from dummy.

From Pete Filandro, Smyrna, DE

As stated, though apparently not as intended, the conditions can be satisfied by well-known endings such as the one shown below, in which South leads and takes the last three tricks at notrump:

 NORTH ♠ A ♥ — ♦ — ♣ K Q WEST ♠ Q 10 ♥ — ♦ — ♣ A EAST ♠ Immaterial ♥ ♦ ♣ SOUTH ♠ K J ♥ — ♦ A ♣ —

The mystery statement could be rephrased to specify an internally blocked suit.

ESOTERICA

This section is devoted to weird, wild and wacky material. For bridge friends, lovers of arcana, pursuers of special interests, and anyone intrigued with a particular facet of the game of bridge.