Thursday, January 19, 2012

Crisscrossing the Internet

Playing online with the crazy robots, I held:
A K Q J 8 J 8 6 A 7 5 2 7.

Partner opened 1NT -- what would you do? In robot-land, you always have the best hand. Therefore, you know North holds exactly 15 high-card points, so slam would be dicey at best (a combined 30 HCP). I raised to 3NT, ending the auction.

The robots often do things that humans think are crazy. Recently, I led a club from Q 8 7 2. Dummy had the stiff 10. My robot partner held J-9-X-X didn't cover and declarer won three tricks with A-K-X-X opposite a singleton 10.

But the bots do good things, too, as you are about to see. Here are all four hands:

East led a low spade. North won with my ace and played five rounds of the suit. West discarded two clubs and two diamonds. Declarer continued by running the club suit. After two rounds, this was the position:

On the next-to-last club, dummy and West discarded a diamond. On the last club, dummy threw a diamond (baring the ace), but what could West play? If he discarded a diamond, North can play a diamond to the ace, cross back to his A to cash his good J. So, West was forced to discard a heart. Now it was easy for declarer to play the A and another, setting up dummy's jack. The crazy robot had executed a variation of that rare bird, a criss-cross squeeze!

I put the deal in Deep Finesse and it said declarer had to play it basically the way it did (although it could run clubs first). DF also says that a diamond lead will hold it to five. A heart lead will hold it also, but only if the 10 or 9 is led. A low heart won't work.

If squeezes fascinate you, check out Bridge Squeezes Complete, written by Clyde Love and edited by Linda Lee and Julian Pottage at Masterpoint Press. It's also available as an e-book.


  1. On a low heart lead declarer can play the 8 and duck West's honor--now there is a simple positional red-suit squeeze at the end, since West can't continue hearts safely.

    Looks like you should have been in 6 spades; 6nt is not exactly a high-percentage contract!

  2. @Patrick: yes, it makes 6S and I got a slightly below-average board. Ten pairs bid the slam.