A vice squeeze operates against a defender's doubleton of touching rank, e.g. Q-J or J-T, when it protects the other defender's top winner in the suit. It was first described by British expert Terence Reese in his book, "Master Play in Contract Bridge."

Dummy
KT2
WestEast
QJA95
8
South
S4
H5
D9
C


South is playing no-trumps and only has one winner left, the D9. But when South leads the D9, West is "caught in the vice." Forced to keep his heart lest South's H5 become a winner, West elects to discard a spade. Now South can continue with a spade to the queen, king and ace. East must return a spade to dummy's ST.

Compare this to a 3-card ending in which East is missing the SA:

Dummy
KT2
WestEast
QJ653
8
South
S4
H5
D9
C


When South leads the D9 and West pitches a spade, South simply proceeds with a spade to the king and ten. As such, this is a positional simple squeeze, not a vice squeeze.

The vice squeeze is also related to the guard squeeze, which is a squeeze that creates a finessing opportunity against one defender:

Dummy
K2
5
WestEast
QJ5T73
8
South2
8SA94
H
D9
C


South has a natural loser in spades. But when she leads the D9, West is squeezed in three suits. When West discards a spade, East is exposed to a finesse. At the next trick, South crosses to dummy's SK (picking up West's SQ) and takes a simple finesse against East's ST. Compared to the vice squeeze, though, a guard squeeze operates against a finessable card rather than a top winner.


Example

Dummy
5
KT8
WestKQ95East
KQJT82AQ98776
QJ9A653
32South876
54SA943K632
H742
DAJT4
CJT

West
2
Pass
   North
Dbl
3NT
   East
Pass
All Pass
   South
2NT


South ducks the opening spade lead and wins the second round, pitching a diamond from dummy. The first order of business is establishing dummy's club suit, so South floats the CJ around to East's CK. South is relieved when East returns a diamond, instead of a heart to West's theoretical ace. 9 tricks are now available: 1 spade, 4 clubs and 4 diamonds. A squeeze in the majors offers a potential overtrick as well.

So South proceeds to run dummy's clubs. A spade and two hearts are discarded from the closed hand, while West jettisons two diamonds and a spade. The layout becomes:

Dummy
KT8
WestKQ9East
JT8
QJ9A653
South87
S9
H7
DAJT4
C


Now South reels off the diamond winners. West discards two spades and a heart before coming under pressure from the last diamond:

Dummy
KT8
WestEast
J
QJA65
South
S9
H7
D4
C


When West parts with a heart, South leads a heart to the queen, king and ace. Dummy's HT becomes an overtrick.

See also

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