A simple squeeze occurs when declarer leads a card that forces a defender to discard or unguard a winner. A simple squeeze operates in two suits, as illustrated below in hearts and spades.

Dummy
AJ
5
West--East
32--KQ
2A
--South--
--S4--
HK
D9
C--


In this three-card ending, South is on lead in a no-trumps contract. When South leads the D9 (the "squeeze card"), dummy's heart is discarded and East is squeezed in the majors. It can be said that all of East's cards are "busy". If East discards the HA, South's HK becomes a winner. If East tosses the SQ instead, then a spade to the ace fells East's king.

An important concept in squeeze play is "rectifying the count." This refers to conceding all the necessary losers before attempting a squeeze. If playing in a small slam, this means conceding one trick to the defense first. If playing 3NT, this means conceding four tricks.

In the above diagram, imagine that South still has a club loser when she leads the D9:

Dummy
AJ
5
West--East
323KQ
2A
--South--
JS48
HK
D9
C2


In this case, East can simply chuck his "idle" card, the baby club, and there is no squeeze.


Example

Dummy
976
AK62
WestA43East
AKJTJ755432
JT9853
65South9872
K96SQ8T84
HQ74
DKQJT
CAQ32


West opens 1C but South winds up in 3NT. The defense wins four rounds of spades, South discarding clubs from both hands. West then exits with a heart to South's queen.

South expects the club finesse to fail because West opened the bidding. A 3-3 heart split is also less likely than a 4-2 split. The best plan is to cash a second round of hearts (to help get a better count on the hand later), and then run all the diamond winners. Note that the count has already been rectified by the defenders. In the actual layout, the fourth diamond catches West in a heart-club squeeze:

Dummy
--
A6
West--East
--J7--
T9--
--South9
K9S--T84
H7
DT
CAQ


On declarer's lead of the DT, West is stuck. A heart discard would establish dummy's long heart, while a club discard would bare the king.

See also

  • Double Squeeze
    A squeeze against both opponents.

  • Jettison Squeeze
    A variation of the simple squeeze requiring declarer to unblock a high card.

  • Rectifying the Losers
    An article about rectifying the losers in preparation for a squeeze.

  • Vice Squeeze
    A squeeze that operates against a defender's doubleton of touching rank.

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