A vice squeeze operates against a defender's doubleton of touching rank, e.g. Q-J or J-T, when it protects the other defender's top winner in the suit. It was first described by British expert Terence Reese in his book, "Master Play in Contract Bridge."

Dummy
KT2
--
West--East
QJ--A95
8--
--South--
--S4--
H5
D9
C--


South is playing no-trumps and only has one winner left, the D9. But when South leads the D9, West is "caught in the vice." Forced to keep his heart lest South's H5 become a winner, West elects to discard a spade. Now South can continue with a spade to the queen, king and ace. East must return a spade to dummy's ST.

Compare this to a 3-card ending in which East is missing the SA:

Dummy
KT2
--
West--East
QJ--653
8--
--South--
--S4--
H5
D9
C--


When South leads the D9 and West pitches a spade, South simply proceeds with a spade to the king and ten. As such, this is a positional simple squeeze, not a vice squeeze.

The vice squeeze is also related to the guard squeeze, which is a squeeze that creates a finessing opportunity against one defender:

Dummy
K2
5
West--East
QJ5T73
8--
--South2
8SA94--
H--
D9
C--


South has a natural loser in spades. But when she leads the D9, West is squeezed in three suits. When West discards a spade, East is exposed to a finesse. At the next trick, South crosses to dummy's SK (picking up West's SQ) and takes a simple finesse against East's ST. Compared to the vice squeeze, though, a guard squeeze operates against a finessable card rather than a top winner.


Example

Dummy
5
KT8
WestKQ95East
KQJT82AQ98776
QJ9A653
32South876
54SA943K632
H742
DAJT4
CJT

West
2
Pass
   North
Dbl
3NT
   East
Pass
All Pass
   South
2NT


South ducks the opening spade lead and wins the second round, pitching a diamond from dummy. The first order of business is establishing dummy's club suit, so South floats the CJ around to East's CK. South is relieved when East returns a diamond, instead of a heart to West's theoretical ace. 9 tricks are now available: 1 spade, 4 clubs and 4 diamonds. A squeeze in the majors offers a potential overtrick as well.

So South proceeds to run dummy's clubs. A spade and two hearts are discarded from the closed hand, while West jettisons two diamonds and a spade. The layout becomes:

Dummy
--
KT8
WestKQ9East
JT8----
QJ9A653
--South87
--S9--
H7
DAJT4
C--


Now South reels off the diamond winners. West discards two spades and a heart before coming under pressure from the last diamond:

Dummy
--
KT8
West--East
J----
QJA65
--South--
--S9--
H7
D4
C--


When West parts with a heart, South leads a heart to the queen, king and ace. Dummy's HT becomes an overtrick.

See also

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