Thumbscrews

Hi all

I was playing some online BBO-tournament last week and this deal came up.

South
72
86
J8742
QJ94

West
North
East
South
 
11
22
pass
2
pass
2
pass
3NT
a.p.
 
 

1. Unbalanced or a preparing for a strong NT
2. Weak (?)

Partner kicks off with a small and things look bad, for it has a free run to declarer’s Jack.  

 
East
AQT3
7
QT9653
75
South
72
86
J8742
QJ94

Declarer immediately finesses again in and next come four rounds of partner winning the last one with his Jack. He ponders for a while and cashes both his top (declarer discarding two ) before exiting in . Declarer repeats the finesse leading to this position.  

 
East
A
QT
7
South
J8
QJ

On the Ace of I’m in big trouble. I have to keep my guard else declarer is home already, but that means my holding doesn’t pull any weight anymore. Declarer plays a towards his hand and within mere seconds the next deal is on the table already. We had a substantial lead, but ten imp just evaporated from our scorecard.

North Dealer
NS Vul
North
K986
JT54
AK
A63
West
J54
AKQ932
KT82
East
AQT3
7
QT9653
75
South
72
86
J8742
QJ94

Partner’s lead was unlucky, as far as I can see any other lead leaves declarer with grim perspective. At the table it felt like partner handed over medieval torture equipment to the enemy with clear instructions how to apply them to me. I was wondering if this particular squeeze is the one Terence Reese calls "The Vice".

3 thoughts on “Thumbscrews

  1. Well, maybe declarer can always make, but with the line of play he chose North can always assure declarer’s downfall. After cashing the diamond AK he should have extracted that final exit card from dummy by cashing the club Ace. Now a spade locks the declarer in dummy and South will escape the medieval torture and come out victorious with his diamond Jack. One final arrow on declarer’s bow should still be avoided: do not try to lock declarer in dummy with a small spade, because declarer will win with the Ace and use North’s spade King as a stepping-stone to his hand. So cash the club Ace and exit in style with the spade King.

  2. Yes, you’re right. I realized later that North can disrupt declarer’s communication. My remark was a bit hasty and more a reaction to “on any other lead”. A heart lead delivers the contract, and a diamond lead can go either way. A club lead however is devastating. Wasn’t there something about leading unbid suits?

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