Take a gander at this single-dummy problem. How would you play 6NT, at IMPs, on the lead of the K? Yeah, I know you'd rather be in 7. But this is an article on bad bridge.

Dummy
KQT32
T2
8
Q9743

Partner
SA
HAK976
DA42
CAKJ6


I will give you a hint: declarer's line was not exactly a success. He won the A and then cashed the A with the air of a man tying himself a blindfold and lighting a cigarette. Next he led a club to the Q, thereby blocking clubs. I swear, I don't make this stuff up. The J didn't fall, of course, so declarer ended up -2.

Okay, so what is your plan? Think about it before reading on.




At the table, I thought that declarer should have ducked the first trick. This rectifies the count for a simple squeeze in the majors. The full deal:


Dummy
KQT32
T2
West8East
J864Q9743975
QJ8534
KQJ7PartnerT9653
-- SA T852
HAK976
DA42
CAKJ6


Win the diamond continuation (tossing a spade from dummy), cash the major suit aces, and run the clubs, like so:


Dummy
KQT
T
West--East
J86997
QJ--
--PartnerT96
-- S----
HK976
D4
C--


On the 9, West is caught in the simple squeeze. Cute, huh?

Well, I was feeling pretty good about myself until I analyzed the hand with GIB. Turns out that you can make the hand if you win the first trick. This made me realize that I really am dumber than I thought.

Cash the major suit aces and run all the clubs, and you get this:


Dummy
KQT3
T
West--East
J86997
QJ--
QPartnerT965
--S----
HK976
D42
C--


On the last club, West is forced to pitch his diamond. Now cash the K, the K and exit a heart. West, endplayed, must lead away from his spade tenace.

Did you see that line? Heck, there's probably even another one that I'm missing; email me if you find it.

My objective is not to criticize declarer in this deal, or even myself, but to say that bridge truly is a tough game. I can't begin to imagine how many endplays, triple squeezes, and winkles have slipped by unnoticed in my lifetime. In the grand scheme of things, we all make dumb plays and we're all a little dumber than we give ourselves credit for.


12/20/2013 - A reader named John Portwood has pointed out that cashing the K is unnecessary. Ducking a heart forces West to concede the hearts or spades - a "two-way stepping-stone squeeze".