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Beauty of a hand involving a simple squeeze

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Congratulations to Alan Douglas and Ed Betteto for their great ACBL-wide win in the April Charity Pairs. After winning at the Club with a 71 per cent plus game it was recently announced that they had the highest score out of the 1,415 Pairs from the USA and Canada who took part.

The pair are individually among the very best in Bermuda and the local win came as no surprise, but the overall win over such a huge field which contains some top pairs is just sensational- well done.

Alan and Ed, together with David Sykes and Fabian Hupe have, in the past week, been representing Bermuda in San Jose, Costa Rica in the CACBF Championships where the other contestants are Barbados, Guadeloupe, Jamaica, Panama and Costa Rica.

Douglas and Sykes have been winning at the Bermuda Bridge Club for years and Betteto and Hupe, whilst newer to the Club, have been racking up the results since their arrival and all four players bring a lot to the table. As I said last week, this is one of the strongest teams to represent Bermuda in many a year and I fully expected them to be in the shake-up in the final stages.

I now, however, have all the results and the team finished a somewhat disappointing fourth in the six-team field.

The standings after the Round Robin:

Guadeloupe 132.58

Barbados 129.84

Costa Rica 111.39

Bermuda 86.09

Jamaica 86.04

Panama 54.06

The full results for the team were a 12-8 win over Jamaica; 5-15 loss to the host country Costa Rica; 6-14 loss to Barbados; 12-8 win over Panama; 8-12 loss to Guadeloupe; 2-18 loss to Costa Rica; 16-4 win over Jamaica; 9-11 loss to Panama; 10.31-9.69 win over Barbados (1 Imp); and a 4-16 loss to Guadeloupe.

The 2-18 loss to Costa Rica had a big impact on the final standings and of the Bermuda team's wins three were against the teams below them, though the 1 imp win over Barbados — the eventual winners of the round robin — was good as the Barbados team were clearly very strong.

I must say that the final result for Bermuda surprises me as I think the two pairs that represented us are a lot better than that, and I would expect them to produce good results in future competitions if the opportunity arises. It will be interesting to hear from the team just how it went and where the problems lay, and if I get that I will bring it to you next week.

Last Saturday also saw the staging of the two session Non Life Masters Pairs and in a very tight finish the pre-tournament favourites, Kathy Keane and Mike Viotti, finished on top with a score of 76, just ahead of George Correia and Ellen Davidson on 72.5 and Betsy Baillie and Lisa Ferrari on 70 — Baillie and Ferrari also won the B section of the event.

Betsy and Lisa led after the morning session from George and Ellen in second and Mike and Kathy in third, but in the second session the eventual winners leapfrogged the leaders to take the title.

Many congratulations to Mike and Kathy who both show the desire and the ability to continually improve, and it won't be long until we see them figure in the results in the higher strata games — a big well done.

Today's hand is a beauty and involves a ‘simple' squeeze — I normally avoid covering squeeze plays in the column as I know a number of players find then too complicated, but I though it worth covering this one. (Fig 1)

After South opened a strong 2 Clubs, North bid a ‘waiting' 2 Diamonds and the made the practical jump to the no trump slam after South had shown a balanced hand.

West led the ten of Hearts. Declarer could count 11 top tricks and 12 if Spades were 4-1, but this declarer went a bit further and looked at the possibility of a 5-0 spade break and the possibility of a Spade-Diamond squeeze against the defender with the spades if he also had diamonds.

In planning the play declarer saw that, if he cashed even one spade and ducked a diamond, a defender with five spades could win it and return a spade, killing the squeeze. In order to cater for all eventualities, declarer won the first trick with the ace of Hearts, then cashed the king of Hearts and the ace-king of Clubs. Then he led a low Spade to dummy's queen. West's discard turned a potential 12 tricks into 11. While taken aback by this development, declarer had prepared well.

He continued with a low Diamond from the table and, when East played the jack, declarer took this with the king then ran the ten of Diamonds to East's queen. East exited with the jack of Spades. Declarer took this in dummy with the ace. He cashed the ace of Diamonds and jettisoned the queen of hearts from hand. Declarer continued with the jack of hearts and repeated the manoeuvre by discarding the queen of Clubs from hand, thereby bringing everyone down to these three cards (Fig 2).

When the jack of Clubs was now cashed East had no answer, as either a Spade or Diamond discard would be fatal — absolutely glorious planning and execution by declarer.

Results for week of May 13

Monday afternoon


1, Elysa Burland/Greta Marshall

2, Richard Gray/Wendy Gray

3, Judith Bussell/Diana Diel


1, Elizabeth McKee/Stephanie Kyme

2, Joseph Wakefield/Dorry Lusher

3, Patricia Siddle/Marilynn Simmons

Wednesday morning


1, Peter Donnellan/Lynanne Bolton

2, Diana Diel/Patricia Siddle

3, Judith Bussell/Stephanie Kyme


1, Joseph Wakefield/Julia Beach

2, Michael Bickley/Dorry Lusher

3, John Burville/Charles Hall

Thursday evening


1, Katrina Van Pelt/James Leitch

2, Claude Guay/Sharon Shanahan

3, Mike Viotti/Kathleen Keane


1, Simon Giffen/Rachael Gosling

2, Gertrude Barker/Martha Ferguson

3, John Rayner/Heather Woolf

Friday afternoon


1, Gertrude Barker/Marilynn Simmons

2, George Correia/Greta Marshall

3, Judith Bussell/Martha Ferguson


1, Patricia Siddle/Diana Diel

2, Tony Saunders/Charles Hall

3, Dorry Lusher/Lyn O'Neill

School Session


1, Gareth Cooper/Max Santinago


1, Katiah Rogers/Salayah Stange

Winning team: David Sykes, left, Fabian Hupe, Alan Douglas and Ed Betteto shone in the WCBL-wide Charity Pairs contest (Photograph supplied)
Fig 1: the starting position
Fig 2: the ending position

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Published May 25, 2019 at 9:00 am (Updated May 24, 2019 at 6:21 pm)

Beauty of a hand involving a simple squeeze

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