This term designates a secondary squeeze that forces the opponents to choose between a throw-in and an unblock, but which of each costs a trick. The winkle squeeze was analyzed and named by Mr. Terrence Reese. The photograph is from the year 1972.

     

The origin of the designation of winkle squeeze is unknown, but a winkle is a British term for practically any of the various marine gastropods or sea snails, and is short for periwinkle. Both designations can also be employed as verbs. The perhaps colloquial definition of the verb is to pry, extract, or force from a place or position, which is rather the explanation of the desired action of the declarer once initiated.

The situation of the winkle squeeze is such that the declarer has sufficient winners for all but one of the remaining tricks, but the declarer is in a position where he can not take all of his tricks because of entry problems.

The following illustrations should clarify this situation.

North
J98
6
West
K542
East
K7
A6
South
AQ
Q
A

The declarer is South and South leads the Ace of Clubs. East is immediately squeezed in two suits, Spades and Diamonds.

In order to protect the King of Spades, East must discard a Diamond. In the case that East discards a low Diamond, then South will throw East in by leading the Queen of Diamonds. East wins and must return a Spade.

If East decides to discard the Ace of Diamonds on the Ace of Clubs, then South plays the Queen of Diamonds giving West the lead, who must then lead a Diamond to the winning Jack of Diamonds in the dummy.

Read Deal 1964

During the 1964 United States Pair Trials in Miami Beach, Florida, United States, one board contained what was later to be proclaimed as one of the most famous examples of the winkle squeeze, and it is presented below. The board was played by Mr. B. J. Becker - playing South, Dorothy Hayden - playing North, Mr. Samuel Stayman - playing West, and Mr. Victor Mitchell - playing East, in the compass directions illustrated.

Hayden
North
Q8
1063
AQJ96
AQ4
Stayman
West
543
A85
K532
1052
Mitchell
East
J1072
KQ74
1087
76
Becker
South
AK96
J92
4
KJ983
South   West   North   East
Becker   Stayman   Hayden   Mitchell
1   Pass   1   Pass
1   Pass   3   Pass
4   Pass   4   Pass
6   Pass   Pass   Pass

In hindsight, it seems that the contract 3 No Trump would have been the better game. However, this contract would have been difficult to reach in view of no Heart stopper, and a possible 5-card Heart suit in the holdings of either opponent. The final contract of 6 Clubs was also based on a misunderstanding of the partnership agreement that a bid of 4 Clubs would always be the Gerber convention after a Minor suit opening. South therefore assumed that 4 Spades promised a singleton Heart, and bid the Club slam.

It seems that West, on lead, was also misled by the bidding and decided to lead a Diamond. Had West not been misled, West might have led a Heart, winning three Heart tricks, defeating the slam contract by two tricks before South could win a first trick.

South gladly accepted the lead and finessed with the Jack of Diamonds. South then discarded a Heart on the Ace of Diamonds and ruffed a Diamond. South then entered the dummy with the Ace of Clubs, ruffed another Diamond, which felled the King of Diamonds, establishing the Queen of Diamonds as a winning trick. South then cashed the King and Queen of Clubs, eliminating all outstanding trumps.

The lead was then, on the ninth trick, in the dummy and the position was as follows:

Hayden
North
Q8
1063
Q
 
Stayman
West
543
A85
 
 
Mitchell
East
J1072
KQ
 
 
Becker
South
AK96
J9
 
 

South leads the Queen of Diamonds from the dummy and East is squeezed. East must throw the Queen of Hearts. South throws the 9 of Hearts and West discards a Spade.

South then leads the Queen of Spades, followed by the 8 of Spades, which East covers with the 10 of Spades. South covers and leads the Jack of Hearts.

If East wins, then East must lead from his Spade holding. In this play, however, West, Mr. Stayman, decides to win with the Ace of Hearts, and in this particular case, end-plays himself.

West had to surrender two Heart tricks to the dummy.

In a later analysis, it was determined that had the 6 of Hearts, held by North, and the 5 of Hearts, held by West been interchanged, then the slam would not have been successful, despite the most favorable lead of a Diamond.

 

 

If you wish to include this feature, or any other feature, of the game of bridge in your partnership agreement, then please make certain that the concept is understood by both partners. Be aware whether or not the feature is alertable or not and whether an announcement should or must be made. Check with the governing body and/or the bridge district and/or the bridge unit prior to the game to establish the guidelines applied. Please include the particular feature on your convention card in order that your opponents are also aware of this feature during the bidding process, since this information must be made known to them according to the Laws of Duplicate Contract Bridge. We do not always include the procedure regarding Alerts and/or Announcements, since these regulations are changed and revised during time by the governing body. It is our intention only to present the information as concisely and as accurately as possible.

 


     
Email Conventions Bridge Sites
     
Home Page I Glossary Home Page II
     
   
  Squeeze Plays