1-Loser Triple Squeezes

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Structure

There are three distinct possibilities when the squeezer holds three single menaces against the same opponent:

Many positions can be constructed in which a player comes under pressure in three suits when the squeezer has only one loser, but in most cases, one of the menaces will be redundant and the position can be played as a simple squeeze by ignoring the extra menace. The true 1-loser triple occurs when all three of the possible simple squeezes are defective, so that all three menaces are required to squeeze out the extra trick. Only these true cases are listed here. It is worth noting, however, that a third threat will sometimes clear up the ambiguity of a simple squeeze.

The 1-loser triple squeeze resembles the simple squeeze in that only one opponent is threatened, and only one trick is gained; this means that there will usually be a single squeeze card, a winner in the free suit which forces the victim of the squeeze to abandon one of the guards. The key point of 1-loser triple squeeze play is that the squeeze card is usually the second last free winner.

[Aside for the mathematically minded: To see why this is so, suppose a player comes under pressure when forced to discard from a holding of p cards in one suit, q cards in another, and r cards in a third. Then the squeezer typically holds a total of (p-1) + (q-1) + (r-1) winners in the threat suits; since the squeezer holds a total of p + q + r - 1 winners (one less than the number of cards remaining), the number of free winners will be 2, and the squeeze occurs when the second last free winner is cashed.]

What kinds of defects in simple squeeze positions can be repaired by adding a third menace? In terms of Clyde Love's BLUE law:

So the problem must lie with the Entry condition. There are two principal types of entry problem which can be fixed by adding a third threat:

  1. The free suit is blocked (the equivalent of A opposite Kx). Sometimes there will be no entry to the hand opposite the last free winner; sometimes unblocking the free suit removes a vital entry. In either case, making the squeeze operate when the second last free winner is cashed may solve the problem.
  2. A simple squeeze would operate if not for an inconvenient winner in one of the threat suits, which can't be cashed in a timely fashion without using a vital entry. Sometimes these positions involve an obtrusive winner in the hand opposite the squeeze card; sometimes they involve a blocked threat suit with a winner in each hand, the equivalent of Kxx opposite A.

Both problems can occur in the same ending.

Classification

Like simple squeezes, 1-loser triples can be classified structurally, according to the location of the menaces and the the means of access to the menaces, but for 1-loser triples a thematic classification into 7 categories, each containing several positions, seems more illuminating.

  1. the positional 1-loser triple squeeze, in which all three threats are positional in nature.
  2. the 1-entry 1-loser triple squeeze, in which there is only one entry remaining after the squeeze card is cashed.
  3. two classes of squeeze in which a blocked, recessed menace (the equivalent of Kxx opposite A) is overcome;
    1. the double-cross 1-loser triple squeeze, in which one extra entry resolves the problem.
    2. the triple-cross 1-loser triple squeeze, in which entries in all three threat suits are required.
  4. the criss-cross 1-loser triple squeeze, in which there is no blocked recessed menace, but at least one threat is the equivalent of xx opposite A (or a ruffing menace, xx opposite -- and a trump).
  5. the jettison 1-loser triple squeeze, a progressive squeeze in which an inconvenient winner may be discarded on the squeeze card.
  6. the shortstop 1-loser triple squeeze, in which an n-card holding blocks an (n+1)-card threat.

In classes 1 through 4, the squeeze card is the second-last free winner. In classes 5 and 6, the squeeze card is the last free winner.

Discussion

Some patterns of variation can be observed in these positions: