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Silvio Sbarigia’s quiz 19th: “Journey into squeeze: second stage”

Posted on 09 May 2011

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 In the first “stage” (quiz n° 17), we demonstrated that an intermediate or lower intermediate player can follow and understand an article on squeeze: the matter, in fact, is not difficult in the general principles. But needs to be studied. Giorgio Belladonna didn’t learn the squeeze thinking on it while walking: he read a book.

The intermediate player, however, hesitates to open such books because he’s not able to “read the hand”, that is to reconstruct the entire deal by the auction and the playing: he thinks that without this skill the squeeze techniques cannot be managed. This is a prejudice, and here we are going to show the measure in which it is wrong.

North (Dummy): ♠K108 A3 10653K542

South (Declarer): ♠AQF7 10542 AK2A6

Contract: 6♠. East named heart. West leads 8

In this hand it is immediately clear that need to ruff twice heart, but still the tricks are eleven, and a beginner also can understand that the twelfth trick has to come from a squeeze (or from other magic unknown as well).

To make a squeeze we need two menaces aimed against one opponent; spade cannot be a “menace”, it’s the trump suit. Heart could menace East, but we have to use up those in ruffs; so the menaces only can be in club and diamond. Now the wrong question is: who hold these suits? The response is easy here, but we needn’t to know it: if one opponent holds five clubs and four diamonds, the squeeze will work; if the suits are split, nothing will work.

Diagram 1: Declarer is going to play ♠J, the squeeze card

















Take the lead – grateful to the devils who suggested West to do not lead spade – and continue heart. East wins and plays club: take by ace, ruff heart, diamond to king and another hearth ruff. Play the ♠K and diamond to ace, then spades, reaching this situation (diagram 1). The only cards we have to take care of are the diamonds that drop.

On the last spade, discard the 10 from Dummy (the “idle card”), and West is squeezed by the pinchers 2 and ♣5.

In this deal needn’t to “read the hand”, so we have demonstrate what said above, but there are more complex schemes and manoeuvres that call for this skill. How to get it? By reading a squeeze book.

Giorgio Belladonna studied the squeeze in “Il gioco di Compressione nel bridge” by Adolfo Giannuzzi (Mursia, not translated in English). He later wrote that the study of that book gave him the skill to reconstruct the opponents’ hand, making him expert from the intermediate player he was before. The complete hand (diagram 2):

Diagram 2























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Silvio Sbarigia


SILVIO SBARIGIA is a pharmacist; he was born in Rome and lives there. He has won the European championship in 1975 with legendary Blue Team, runner up at 1974’s and at Olympic games of 1976.  Sbarigia is member of Neapolitan Club Technical Commettee. His bridge problems aren’t difficult; just we need to think on a plan and to avoid the instinctive playing. Bridge quizzes by Sbarigia »

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