Disappointing bridge

I played bridge with Jim again this evening. We had a rather poor game (41% gave us last place out of 10 partnerships), at least partly because I had 29 points on the first hand of the night and got flustered (there are typically 40 points in the deck, so 10 points is an average hand, to put things in perspective). I opened this monster with 2C even though I could have opened 3NT. Jim replied 2D (we use the control-showing step response: he had no aces and at most one king, but I faltered a bit explaining it to our opponents, since I only use it with Jim and it almost never comes up). I bid 2NT (balanced, stronger than previously shown), to which he replied 3H (apparently, this was a transfer, but I missed it). I bid 3NT, he went to 4S (trying to correct for my lack of transfer), and I paused for a bit and bid 6NT. We made an overtrick. That hand gave us an above average result, but made me really nervous (particularly when I learned in the postmortem that I was the only one who didn’t interpret Jim’s heart bid as a transfer to spades), so I was a bit off for the rest of the evening.

One of the last hands of the night had a squeeze play in it. I saw the squeeze play. I set it up correctly. The last thing I needed to do was lose one final club trick. After that, I had a simple squeeze against my left-hand opponent in clubs and diamonds. However, LHO won the club trick, pondered for a very long time, and… gave me a free finesse. I had accidentally endplayed her while trying to squeeze her! Oops. I took the rest of the tricks, but this was little consolation after being robbed of my squeeze play (which would have worked if RHO had won the club trick or if LHO had returned a spade instead of a club). I’m still trying to execute my first squeeze in a sanctioned game, but at least I got darn close this time! I wish I could remember the hand in greater detail, but the third-to-last and second-to-last boards of the night are running together for me (I declared both of them in major-suit games, one making exactly and one making an overtrick).

Here’s the squeeze play, if I had been able to do it: suppose I am in my hand and hearts are trump (all are pulled exept the two remaining in my hand). The ace of spades, king of diamonds, and queen of clubs have all been played already. Here are Dummy’s and my hands:

S: -
H: -
D: J109

S: K
H: 94
D: -
C: 65

Moreover, suppose that my left-hand opponent has both the queen of diamonds and the king of clubs. When I play my two hearts, I discard diamonds from dummy. When I play the king of spades, LHO is squeezed:

  • If she discards the queen of diamonds, I discard a club, cross to the ace of clubs, and win the last trick with the jack of diamonds.
  • If she doesn’t discard the queen of diamonds, I know it’s one of the last two cards she has. I discard the last diamond, cross to the ace of clubs (dropping the now-singleton king of clubs), and win the last trick with the high jack of clubs. Either way, I take the rest of the tricks, even though LHO had a winner and an eventual winner!

What actually happened, however, was that LHO was on lead and lead a low club. I took the jack, then the ace, ruffed a diamond and my hand was good. Oh, well! There’s always next time…

Edit: Yes, I realize that a simple finesse in clubs would have worked just as well as the squeeze play, but I wanted to be fancy.

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