N-S vulnerable

NORTH

{spade} Q 7 6 4 2

{heart} 8 6

{diam} K Q

{club} K Q J 10

WEST

{spade} 8 5 3

{heart} J 10 7 3

{diam} A J 8

{club} 5 4 3

EAST

{spade} K J 10 9

{heart} K 5 4

{diam} 9 7 6 5 3

{club} 2

SOUTH (D)

{spade} A

{heart} A Q 9 2

{diam} 10 4 2

{club} A 9 8 7 6

The bidding:

South

1 {club}

1 NT

3 {heart}

6 {club}

West

Pass

Pass

Pass

All Pass

North

1 {spade}

3 {club}

5 {club}

East

Pass

Pass

Pass

Opening lead: {club} 3

Since contract bridge originated in 1925, bidding has evolved from an art to a science. Major advances in play have been rare, but remarkable new types of squeezes have joined the literature.

Today's slam looked doomed when West found a trump opening lead; but South, Tim Seres of Australia, won in dummy, led a heart to the queen, cashed the ace of spades and led a diamond. When West took his ace and led another trump, South could ruff only two red-suit losers in dummy.

Seres won in dummy, ruffed a spade, led a diamond to the queen and ruffed a spade. When both defenders played low, Seres cashed the ace of hearts and ruffed a heart, leaving dummy with Q-7 of spades and a trump, South with a losing heart, a losing diamond and a trump, and West with a high heart, the high jack of diamonds and a trump.

At the 11th trick, Seres ruffed another spade. We don't know if he'd foreseen what would happen; but West was caught in an odd squeeze in three suits, including trumps!

If West underruffed, dummy would be high. If instead West threw his winning heart or diamond, South would lead his new winner in that suit. Then if West ruffed, dummy would overruff and would be high; if West threw his remaining red card, dummy would pitch the queen of spades and win Trick 13 with the high trump.

Have all the possibilities in play been discovered, or will new gems be found in the next 75 years?

(C) 2000, Los Angeles Times Syndicate