There is something pleasingly symmetrical about double squeezes, where both opponents are forced to unguard the same suit, usually on the same trick. This double squeeze cost us 13 IMPs and helped to knock our Cambridge Club team (Ann Curtin, Steve Siklos, Jonathan Mestel, and myself) out of the fourth round of the NICKO (or FICKO, as the purists call it):
Our N/S pair settled for 6, after a diamond weak jump overcall from East.
Peter Gemmell and Peter Sutcliffe of Ipswich & Kesgrave bid all the way to 7, against silent opponents, and got a trump lead. Prospects looked good. There are 11 tricks on top and there would be no problem about scoring a diamond ruff (ruffing two diamonds is not feasible because of the poor entries); and then declarer needs just one extra trick in clubs, which is straightforward if they are 3-3 or 4-2, or if that fails he can fall back on the heart finesse. Or even if that is wrong there may be a squeeze ...
With a huge number of IMPs at stake - if Cambridge stop in 6 then making 7 is worth 13 IMPs, but going off costs 17 - Gemmell played it carefully. He won with the J, cashed A, crossed to Q and scored a diamond ruff. He then drew trumps and played a club to the king, discovering the bad news. He continued with the ace, pitching a heart, then ruffed a club. Then he played his remaining trump, the squeeze card as it happens. There are now just three cards left in declarer's hand, but four cards in the other three hands:
LHO must keep her J, so cannot keep more than two hearts; in practice she threw a heart. Dummy pitched the now useless 9, and RHO (me) was done in. I naturally threw my K, hoping that declarer's card was the J. If I had known that it was the Q, I would have thrown a heart, but in that case declarer would now know that neither opponent had more than two hearts and would therefore play successfully for the drop.
It plays itself, one could say, because the ending comes about naturally enough, but declarer had to keep his wits about him. And we lost the match by just 9 IMPs.
All five of the Cambridge Club teams are now out of this event. We will come storming back next year.