When I was an advancing bridge player, books by Terrence Reese were eye-openers for me. Master Play was one of my favorites. In it, Reese wrote about a maneuver called a Stepping Stone Squeeze where declarer has a certain number of winners, but can't score them all because of blocked transportation. He uses an opponent to help him get from one hand to another, hence the name.
Playing on BBO last night, I picked up:
♠K J ♥Q 10 9 8 3 2 ♦Q J 3 ♣Q 8.
Influenced by my good heart spots, I opened a light 1♥, my left-hand opponent doubled and I eventually became the declarer in 3NT. West led a low diamond, and this was my dummy:
I played low and was disappointed when the finesse lost to East's ♦K. He returned a diamond, and I won in hand to advance the ♣Q. West won with the ace and shifted to the ♠2. I won with the jack and led another club. West took his king this time and exited with the ♦6 to dummy's ace.
At this point I could take my club tricks, but spades rated to be divided 4-2. I couldn't unblock the king and get back to dummy and the suit, therefore, wasn't likely to run. On the fifth club, however, West discarded the ♥7, and I saw my chance.
With four cards left, I led a spade to my king and exited with a heart. West won the ace and had to lead to dummy's good spades. Here are all four hands:
Do you see where West erred? He needed to discard his ♥A instead of the 7. I wonder if West has heard of the song by the Monkees: "(I'm not your) Steppin' Stone"?
Even though the deal was flawed (the defense could always cash one diamond, two clubs and two hearts), I enjoyed it. Afterwards, my partner and friend, Kate, sent me a chat box message: "You got lucky on that one."
What is a stepping stone? According to the Merriam Webster dictionary:
1. a stone on which to step (as in crossing a stream)
2. a means of progress or advancement