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What about the less fashionable 5 ♦ ?

South Deals
N-S Vul
Q 10 2
A 10 7 2
9 7 5
A 9 2
9 7 5
Q 8 3
K Q J 8 4 3
W   E
K 8 6 4 3
Q 9 8 5 3
10 7
K 6 4
A K J 10 4 2
6 5
West North East South
3 1 3 2 Pass 5 3
Pass Pass Pass  
  1. Weak jump overcall, a very potent weapon in one's armoury.
  2. Awlwardly placed, North fall back on the tried and tested "if in doubt support".
  3. Can't bid 3 NT for the lack of a stopper in the opposing clubs.

On this interesting deal from a duplicate at ARBC, those North-Souths who tried the ubiquitous 3 NT were unlucky. West's  Qxx rendered the contract hopeless after the opening dub lead forced out the ace. What about the less fashionable 5  ?

Declarer won West's king of dubs lead with dummy's ace -ducking would achieve next-to-nothing and would look extremely foolish if East held a singleton and could ruff the second round. At trick two, declarer led a spade to his jack, knowing that if the finesse lost to West's king, at least dummy's promoted queen would provide a discard for his third heart.

The jack of spades won, however, and declarer now laid down the ace-king of diamonds, getting the disap-pointing news that West still had the queen. Short of sensible alternatives, declarer gave West his queen.

West cashed the queen of clubs and then, knowing the jack of clubs would be ruffed, switched to his sin-gleton jack of hearts (best). Declarer won the king and seemingly had to lose another trick - in hearts.

Not so. Watch what happened when declarer ran his diamonds, leaving the ending across as the last diamond was led. He threw dummy's ten of hearts and awaited East's discard.

If East threw a spade, declarer could cash the ace of spades (felling East's king), cross to the ace of hearts and cash dummy's queen of spades. Whereas if East let go the nine of hearts (as he did), declarer could cross to the ace of hearts (felling East's queen), return to the ace of spades and enjoy the promoted six of hearts. It was a classic Criss-cross Squeeze and there had been no defence. Indeed, on weaker defence (say West tried the jack of dubs after the queen, rather than switching to the jack of hearts), declarer succeeds via an easier type of squeeze.

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