Stepping StoneSeptember 17, 2013
The simplest form of squeeze has a two-card menace and a one-card menace lying against the same opponent. For example,
When south leads the ♦2, west is squeezed in the majors. However, there are a number of less commoner forms of squeeze play that do not conform to the above usual pattern. These are secondary squeeze positions where factors like irregularity in the position of menaces or in the entry position are present. They are called squeeze strips. Stepping stone is a type of squeeze strip in which declarer has sufficient tricks in top cards but cannot go conveniently from hand to hand. The deal below is from a recent pairs tournament:
Yes, I agree with you that my bidding was bad. When everybody else is going to score +110 with the NS cards, I am headed for a poor score as I have over bid my hand. West leads ♥5. East wins with the king and returns a heart. West wins and clears the suit, dummy and east discarding a spade.
After winning the heart, I play the ♦A and continue with the ♦Q. LHO follows and RHO wins with the king and shifts to a spade. I win with the ace as I have a hunch LHO has the ♠K. When I cash ♦J, LHO discards a heart! Why didn’t he discard a spade? May be he started with K-x in spades. Why didn’t he discard a club if he has three small? He certainly has queen-third in clubs. Now I am getting closer! I cash two more diamonds and LHO discards a heart and a club. The last four-card position is:
When I play the last diamond, LHO is squeezed. He parts with the heart and I discard a spade from dummy. I cash ♣K and exit in a spade and tell my LHO to give the last trick to dummy’s ace. If west discards a club, I can play ♣K and when LHO follows with ♣Q, I can overtake with the ace and cash the jack.
In a stepping-stone squeeze, declarer exerts pressure in space to win the tricks that are rightfully his. Did you notice there is a defence to beat the contract? In with the ♦K, east should return a club. Declarer is cut-off from dummy. West can discard his clubs on the run of diamonds!