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Squeeze play (bridge)

Although the squeeze play (or simply squeeze) was already discovered and described in whist, its use was best described and perfected in contract bridge. It is a play that often occurs late in the game that involves the play of a card (often, but not necessarily, a winner) in order to put pressure on an opponent, or force him to weaken his own defensive position. A squeeze forces an opponent to discard a vital card from his hand, thus giving up a trick (or two in some cases). In order for a squeeze to work, the victim might not hold any "idle" cards, but all his cards must be "busy", covering some sort of menace. This mechanism can be shown on a simple squeeze.

South leads the club ace in the following position, and West is squeezed between hearts and spades - if he throws away the heart ace, south discards the jack of spades in north, plays hearts and north makes the ♡K and the ♠A, if he throws away one of the spades, south discards the king of hearts in north, plays spades, and again north makes the two remaining tricks.

                      ♠ A J
                      ♡ K
                      ♢ -
                      ♣ - 
           ♠ K Q        
           ♡ A                 immaterial
           ♢ -
           ♣ -          
                      ♠ 4
                      ♡ 6
                      ♢ -
                      ♣ A

This is a positional squeeze--East holding West's cards would not be squeezed as one of the two menaces (the spade Jack and the heart King) would be discarded before his turn to play. If north had discarded the king of hearts, east could discard the ace of hearts (provided west still had at least one heart), if north had discarded the spade jack (or the spade ace), east could have discarded a spade.

We will see more of this in simple squeezes.

These plays typically occur late in the game, because they often require the player to have an exact count and location of certain high cards in one or more suits, and must know exactly what cards an opponent will be forced to play. as the following example demonstrates:

                      ♠ A J
                      ♡ K
                      ♢ 2
                      ♣ - 
           ♠ K Q            ♠ 3
           ♡ A              ♡ -
           ♢ 7              ♢ Q
           ♣ -              ♣ 8 7
                      ♠ 4
                      ♡ 6
                      ♢ 3
                      ♣ A

This time when the club ace is cashed, West simply sheds his small diamond, an idle card.

To avoid this kind of failure, south needs to 'rectify the count' - that is, he must lose all tricks except the ones he is entitled to and the one he intends to gain with the squeeze. In this case that would mean that he should grant the diamond queen to east first; however, in this case east returns a spade, taken in north, and the communication is lost: south cannot reach the club ace in his hand.

The following sections will describe the mechanisms of different types of squeezes:



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