Legend: Green = Menace Card; Blue = Idle Card; Red = Trump

Criss-Cross Simple Squeeze

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South to lead:

 

spade symbol J 2
heart symbol A
diamond symbol 2
club symbol --

 

 

 

spade symbol K Q
heart symbol K Q
diamond symbol --
club symbol --

 

spade symbol A
heart symbol J 2
diamond symbol --
club symbol A

 

In this charming position, entry to the established winner is provided by a blocked winner in the other threat suit. The symmetry of the position means not only that the squeeze is automatic, working against whichever opponent holds the guards, but also that it doesn't matter which hand holds the squeeze card. The ending is inherently ambiguous; the squeezer will need a good count of one of the threat suits, or else a good guess. The criss-cross ending is the pattern for three other simple squeeze types, the one-way ruffing squeeze, the two-way ruffing squeeze, and the see-saw (positional ruffing squeeze; overtaking ruffing squeeze; entry-shifting squeeze). In each of these, one or more of the blocked winners characteristic of the criss-cross is replaced by a trump.

Variations

1) Idle cards: In the sample ending, North has an idle card in diamonds. This could be a loser in any of the four suits; the ending is especially piquant when the idle card is in hearts, so the squeezer must deliberately but temporarily block the heart suit.

2) Extra winners: The criss-cross squeeze has a large number of very rare but significant variants. In the position illustrated above, adding spade winners to the South hand or heart winners to the North hand (while correspondingly adding losers to the opposite hands) does not significantly alter the nature of the position, but adding spade winners to the North hand or heart winners to the South hand (or both) will result in new positions. For instance, in the following variation, a spade winner has been added to the North hand:

 

spade symbol K 9 2
heart symbol A
diamond symbol 2
club symbol --

 

 

 

spade symbol Q J 10
heart symbol K Q
diamond symbol --
club symbol --

 

spade symbol A
heart symbol J 10 2
diamond symbol --
club symbol A

 

There is no great difference if East chooses to abandon spades (South cashes spade A, heart A, spade K, spade J), but if East chooses to abandon hearts, then South will no longer make a trick with the spade K; in compensation, the heart threat has been extended so as to provide two extra tricks.

Adding blocked winners to both threat suits gives two quite different possibilities:

Both threats extended (two extra tricks developed in suit abandoned):

 

spade symbol K 9 8 2
heart symbol A
diamond symbol 2
club symbol --

 

 

 

spade symbol Q J 10
heart symbol Q J 10
diamond symbol --
club symbol --

 

spade symbol A
heart symbol K 9 8 2
diamond symbol --
club symbol A

 

Neither threat extended (squeeze occurs on second last free winner):

 

spade symbol K 9 2
heart symbol A
diamond symbol 3 2
club symbol --

 

 

 

spade symbol Q J 10
heart symbol Q J 10
diamond symbol --
club symbol --

 

spade symbol A
heart symbol K 9 2
diamond symbol --
club symbol A K

 

 

Theoretically, it is possible to go further with this process, adding more blocked winners. For completeness sake, here is a schematic diagram describing possible endings in the criss-cross family (in the diagram, n stands for the number of blocked winners held by North in North's own threat suit, s for the number of blocked winners in South's threat suit, and f for the number of winners remaining in the free suits when the squeeze card is cashed).

spade symbol (n winners) + (s + 3 - f losers)
heart symbol A
diamond symbol(f idle cards)
club symbol --

 

 

spade symbol (n + 2 cards)
heart symbol (s + 2 cards)
diamond symbol --
club symbol --

spade symbol A
heart symbol (s winners) + (n + 3 - f losers)
diamond symbol --
club symbol (f winners)

 

All hands in this ending have n + s + 4 cards; if East discards a spade on South's next free winner, then South unblocks the spade A, cashes any remaining free winners, and crosses to the established North hand; if instead East discards a heart, South can unblock the heart A and return to the spade A to cash the rest of the tricks in hand. (Note that, when f is greater than 1, there can be no communication between the hands in the non-threat suits; for instance, in the schematic diagram above, if North had a club, then declarer wouldn't need a squeeze - South could cash spade ace, heart ace, n further spade winners, then f club winners and s further heart winners, for a total of 2+n+f+s winners, which since f is at least 2, would be at least equal to n+s+4, the number of tricks remaining.)

The numbers n, s, and f must satisfy four conditions:

(A violation of either of the first two conditions would mean that North-South have the rest of the tricks without resorting to a squeeze; the third condition says that North, South, and West can have at most 13 spades between them; the fourth condition says the same thing about hearts.) This leaves no fewer than 38 possible values for n, s, and f, tabulated below:

n, s, f
n, s, f
n, s, f

0, 0, 1

2, 0, 1
3, 2, 1
0, 1, 1
2, 1, 1
3, 2, 2
0, 2, 1
2, 1, 2
3, 2, 3
0, 3, 1
2, 2, 1
3, 3, 2
0, 4, 1
2, 2, 2
3, 3, 3
1, 0, 1
2, 2, 3
3, 3, 4
1, 1, 1
2, 3, 1
3, 4, 4
1, 1, 2
2, 3, 2
4, 0, 1
1, 2, 1
2, 3, 3
4, 1, 2
1, 2, 2
2, 4, 3
4, 2, 3
1, 3, 1
3, 0, 1
4, 3, 4
1, 3, 2
3, 1, 1
4, 4, 5
1, 4, 2
3, 1, 2

The four sample endings in this article illustrate the cases 0, 0, 1; 1, 0, 1; 1, 1, 1; and 1, 1, 2 respectively.

3) Losing squeeze card: The delicacy of the criss-cross mechanism means that the losing squeeze card variant won't work unless the squeezer has two winners in the short hand for each menace suit which might be returned after the squeeze trick is lost.