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Quantitative and a squeeze
The bidding: South, with a balanced 17 points, opens one notrump. North has 17 points and normally should just bid six notrump, however he has the dreaded four-triple-three distribution, a flat hand.
Therefore, he invites partner to bid six notrump with 17 points or a good 16 points and pass with 15 or a poor 16. A good 16 has touching honours, good intermediates cards and perhaps a five-card suit. South bids six notrump with his maximum 17 points.
The Lead: West chooses to make a passive lead because he does not want to accidentally give declarer his twelfth trick. West leads the ten of diamonds.
The play: Declarer looks over dummy and counts his tricks. He has 11 sure winners. He may get a twelfth trick if either spades, hearts or diamonds break three-three. He also has one more chance.
If one player is protecting four cards in two of the suits, he will be squeezed to discard an important card.
In order for a squeeze to work, declarer must win the remaining tricks. He is in six notrump so he should lose a trick right away to rectify the count.
Therefore, he plays a small club from both hands. He wins the diamond continuation and he now cashes two top spades, two top hearts, two top clubs and three top diamonds. On the third diamond East must either pitch a heart or a spade. If declarer sees a spade discarded he can cash his spades for the twelfth trick.
Result: 6NT= for +1440
Notes: -All the bridge columns may be viewed at http://watsongallery.ca.