ACBL Unit 539
San Diego

Gone with the Slam

Can You Save Tara?



By Joel Hoersch

Contract: 7 by South; Opening Lead: Q

This problem appeared in a skit named "Gone with the Slam". It was performed by San Diego bridge thespians three times in various California cities several decades ago. I expect every aspiring bridge analyst to try to match the expertise of the heroine (Mammy) who finally solved the problem after Rhett Butler storms off in disgust saying: "Frankly, my dear, I don't BID that slam!" I give you a hist, however: Mammy's last line is ... "Shucks, Mizz Scahlett, this bridge squeezing business is jest lahk dustin' and cleanin' house! You jest keep movin' stuff around 'til it looks lahk it's finally where it belongs!!!"




By Philippe Lamoise

You take the lead in hand with the K, then you start cross-ruffing the diamonds and spades: 3 top diamonds and 2 top spades that East and West have to cover each time. This ensures that the top remaining diamond (8) is in the East and the top remaining spade (T) is in the West. You end up in dummy and you cannot do another round of cross-ruffing because you need the last heart in dummy to finesse the K. So you play this last heart from dummy to finesse the K and clear the trumps and keep playing trump from the South hand. On the last heart you have the position on the right, which is the exact setup for a double squeeze. When you play the 7 West cannot discard the T of it will set the 7 in dummy for the 13th trick, so West has to discard a club. Now you discard the 7 from dummy because it is no longer needed, and East is squeezed in clubs and diamonds. East cannot discard the 8 because it would set your 7 as the 13th trick, so they discard a club and now you can play the 3 to the A and the 5 is good for the 13th trick.

This double squeeze is a combination of a positional squeeze in clubs and spades against Est, followed by an automatic squeeze in clubs and diamonds against East. West is squeezed first, which sets up the second squeeze against East. Playing the top diamonds and spades for the cross-ruff is critical to have West guard against the spade threat and East guard against the diamond threat. If you don't do it East would be guarding against clubs and spades and would be able to discard safely after you discard a spade or club from dummy. In other words the positional squeeze would be on the wrong side to work.

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