A Double Cross Squeeze

A Double Cross Squeeze — What a Hideous Play!

The phone rang. “I hope I haven’t disturbed you,” began the Hideous Hog. It was five o’clock in the morning.
“I’m off to catch the plane for Vistafjord’s bridge cruise, and I want you to stop a check for me — the one I gave at the Griffins last night. I just remembered I jotted a hand down on the back. I don’t want to lose it, so get it back — pay for me or something and we’ll settle later. Don’t forget. Better make a note of it before you fall asleep again.”
We had all been taken aback at dinner the previous night when the Hog picked up the bill, not to scribble a hand in the ususal way, but with the avowed intention of paying. What’s more, he wrote a check there and then. Looking for a bit of paper later, as we sat chatting over coffee, he must have taken it up again absent-mindedly.
I remember vividly the hand in question for I had kibitzed it when it came up a couple of days earlier.

Dlr: South ♠ 10 9 2
Vul: All K Q 2
A 2
♣ K Q J 10 4
♠ J 5 3
A 9 6 3
J 7
♣ 9 7 6 5
1NT Pass 6NT All Pass

The Hog’s vulnerable 1NT showed 16-18, but since that included points for good play as well as for high cards, it could be flexible.
Karapet led the ♠4. The Hog played the ♠9 from dummy and won Papa’s ♠J with the ♠A.
At rick two, he led the 5 to dummy’s K, Karapet following with the 4. Papa gave the matter some thought before playing the 6. Undeniably, he paused long enough to betray the presence of the A,
HH snarled. Papa growled. Then, with a dreamy look, the Hog led the 7 from the closed hand.
“You’re in dummy,” murmured RR and a junior kibitzer simultaneously.
“Sorry, careless of me,” apologized the Hog, and with a faint air of reluctance, he detached dummy’s Q.
Papa’s long spatulate fingers beat a nervous tattoo on the table. What was up?
The Hog knew Papa had the A, so he wouldn’t have led a heart at all unless he had the J. And if he had it, why the pantomime of playing from the wrong hand? Could it be . . . .
Suddenly the scales fell from Papa’s eyes. He could see it all. The Hog didn’t have the J, but to steal a trick he was playing as if he had it by pretending that he didn’t. A brazen double cross.
Curving his lips in distain, Papa soliloquized sotto voice, just loud enough for the kibitzers to hear.
“Not only is he trying to steal a trick, but he is hoping to set the stage for an endplay at the same time. After three spades, two hearts and five clubs, he intends to throw me in with the
A, forcing me to lead a diamond. Even then he would have to guess, of course, but if all went well, he would have brought off another of his ridiculous contracts. Clever, but not clever enough against Papa,” and the Greek pounced with his ace on the Q and promptly returned another heart.
This was the deal:

Dlr: South ♠ 10 9 2
Vul: All K Q 2
A 2
♣ K Q J 10 4
♠ Q 8 6 4 ♠ J 5 3
10 8 4 A 9 6 3
Q 10 8 4 J 7
♣ 3 2 ♣ 9 7 6 5
♠ A K 7
J 7 5
K 9 6 5 3
♣ A 8

The Hog cashed his ♠K and reeled off the clubs coming to this four-card end position.

Dlr: South ♠ 10
Vul: All
A 2
♣ 4
♠ Q ♠ 5
Q 10 8 J 7
♣ — ♣ —
♠ —
K 9 5 3
♣ —

On dummy’s last club Karapet was inexorably squeezed.
“It was my best chance,” gloated the Hog. “I needed to find the same defender with the ♠Q and four diamonds. But how could I rectify the count for a squeeze, or rather how could I persuade Papa to do it for me? Themistocles is most obliging but he does need a little encouragement,” added HH with a wink at the kibitzers.<?p>
Papa looked at him scathingly, “If I couldn’t bring home a contract without a shady conjuring trick, I wouldn’t want to be in it. I’d be ashamed. . . ”
“What!” roared the Hog. “Are you suggesting that I wouldn’t have made the slam had you defended properly by holding up the A? Surely even you can see that after two rounds of hearts I would have reeled off the clubs, bringing about this position:

Dlr: South ♠ 10 2
Vul: All 2
A 2
♣ 4
♠ Q 8 ♠ 5 3
10 A 9
Q 10 8 J 7
♣ — ♣ —
♠ K
K 9 6 5
♣ —

“You don’t count anyway, but Karapet can’t breathe. Desperately, to prolong life for a few seconds, he throws his 10 on dummy’s last club. I, too, discard my heart and continue with three rounds of diamonds, setting up my fourth diamond as the 12th trick. Why, it’s child’s play”

“But if you could make the contract anyway,” asked a puzzled kibitzer, “why would you resort to a questionable er ah . . .?”

“To a little hocus pocus, you mean,” broke in HH. “You don’t see it? Then let me tell you, sir, that a man in my position has certain duties, moral obligations. It would have been an affront to justice to allow a man to get away with that deplorable hesitation.”

Raising the kibitzer’s glass, which he had inadvertently left en prise, the Hog concluded in lofty tones: “It isn’t enough, sir, for the right man to win. There are times, and this is one of them, when it is even more important that the wrong man should lose.

On the agenda at the forthcoming meeting of our Ethics and Etiquette Committee is an item entitled: Taking improper advantage of a proper pause.

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