Squeeze Plays in Bridge

A squeeze is when an opponent is forced to discard either a winning card, a potential winning card or a guard card to a winner in any suit. There are entire websites dedicated to different types of squeezes, this lesson just deals with a basic squeeze.

What Is A Squeeze Play

A simple squeeze occurs when declarer leads a card that forces a defender to discard or unguard a winner. A simple squeeze operates in two suits, as illustrated below in hearts and spades. An important concept in squeeze play is conceding all the necessary losers in your contract before attempting a squeeze.

If playing in 3NT, this means conceding necessary losers to the defense first before squeezing. A squeeze play (or squeeze) is a tactic, often occurring late in the hand, used in contract bridge and other trick-taking games in which the play of a card (the squeeze card) forces an opponent to discard a winner or the guard of a potential winner. Although numerous types of squeezes have been analyzed and catalogued in contract bridge, they were first discovered and described in whist.

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Most squeezes operate on the principle that declarer’s and dummy’s hands can, between them, hold more cards with the potential to take extra tricks than a single defender’s hand can protect or guard. Infrequently, due to of the difficulty of coordinating their holdings, two defenders can cooperate to squeeze declarer or dummy on the same principle.

Squeeze plays are considered by many “to be the domain of the experts but many of the positions are straightforward once the basic principles are understood.”[1] And according to Terence Reese, the squeeze play “in its practical aspects is not particularly difficult. It takes time, admittedly…and has…to be learned – it cannot be ‘picked up'”.[2] Significance Squeeze plays are important in difficult-to-make high-level contracts and in matchpoint play where the taking of one more trick than generally achieved by the field is a real difference-maker likely to result in a top board. The opportunity to employ a squeeze play arises sufficiently frequently that it essential to learn if aspiring to become an advancing player.[3], [4]

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