Squeeze play (bridge)
A squeeze play is a type of play late in the hand of contract bridge
Contract bridge
Contract bridge, usually known simply as bridge, is a trick-taking card game using a standard deck of 52 playing cards played by four players in two competing partnerships with partners sitting opposite each other around a small table...

 and other trick-taking game
Trick-taking game
A trick-taking game is a card game or tile-based game in which play centers on a series of finite rounds or units of play, called tricks. The object of such games then may be closely tied to the number of tricks taken, as in plain-trick games such as Whist, Contract Bridge, Napoleon, Rowboat, and...

 in which the play of a card (the squeeze card) forces an opponent to discard a card that gives up one or more tricks. The discarded card may be either a winner or a card needed to protect a winner. Although numerous types of squeezes have been analyzed and catalogued in contract bridge, they were first discovered and described in whist
Whist is a classic English trick-taking card game which was played widely in the 18th and 19th centuries. It derives from the 16th century game of Trump or Ruff, via Ruff and Honours...


Most squeezes operate on the principle that declarer's hand and dummy's hand can together hold more cards with the potential to take extra tricks than defenders' hands can protect (or cover). Less frequently, two defenders can cooperate to squeeze declarer or dummy on the same principle.


Squeeze play description depends upon the following terms:
  • Busy card(s) - card(s) held by defenders which are winners or protecting winners
  • Count - knowing the cards held by the opponents; sometimes requires knowledge gained from the bidding and prior play of which cards in each suit is held by each defender
  • Count is rectified - being at the point in play where the declarer has lost all the tricks he plans to lose
  • Entry or communication - the ability of declarer to get between his hand and dummy (or the reverse)
  • Idle card(s) - card(s) that can safely be discarded by defenders
  • Menace or threat card(s) - card(s) held by declarer or dummy which is a loser but which can become a winner when the squeeze is operated
  • Squeezee (slang) - the defender(s) obligated to discard a card which is a winner or protects a winner
  • Squeeze card - the card which when lead forces the defender(s) to discard a busy card


Most common types of squeezes require all the following conditions to prevail in order for the squeeze to operate:
  • Declarer (together with dummy) has enough winners to take all the remaining tricks except for the extra trick(s) that will be gained from the squeeze. In other words, declarer has already lost all the tricks he plans to lose and the count is said to be rectified.
  • In at least two suits, declarer and dummy have threat cards or menaces that are not immediate winners, but threaten to become winners;
  • At least one of the menaces is positioned after a squeezed defender (squeezee).
  • The declarer has sufficient entries (winners serving as communication between his hand and dummy) to cash the menaces if they develop into winners.
  • The squeezed defender(s) must hold only busy cards that are covering a menace, with no idle cards that can safely be discarded.


These concepts are illustrated in Example 1:

South needs all three remaining tricks in a notrump contract. He leads the A, and West is squeezed in hearts and spades. If West discards the A, North's K becomes a winner. If he discards either spade, North's J becomes a winner.

Note the following features of this position:
  • The count is rectified. Three cards remain, and declarer has two immediate winners (the A and A) plus one winner that will be established by the squeeze (either the K or the J).
  • The K and the J are the menaces.
  • Both menaces are positioned after the squeezee (West).
  • The A is an entry to the promoted menace card.
  • West has no idle cards.

This is a positional squeeze, because if West's cards are transferred to East, the squeeze fails. Now one of the menaces must be discarded before it is East's turn to play. If the K is discarded, East can safely discard the A. If the J is discarded, East can safely discard a spade.

Squeezes often require declarer to know the location of specific high cards or the number of cards a defender holds in a particular suit, in order to know what cards the squeezee will be forced to play. Examples 2a and 2b illustrates:

Again South needs three of the remaining tricks in a notrump contract. In Example 2a the presence of the diamond loser means that when South cashes the A, West is not squeezed. He can safely discard his idle 7. However, when South next plays the 3, West is squeezed again. East wins the Q, but must lead to dummy's winners.

In Example 2b East's 3 2 are replaced by the 3 2 and declarer must know East's club length in order to make the correct play. If South cashes the A and then leads the 3, East wins the Q and will take the rest of the tricks. In this case, the correct play is for South to lose the Q immediately, before taking the A, in order to rectify the count. Now East is forced to lead a club to South's ace, and West is squeezed as before.

But with East's hand as shown in Example 2a, losing the Q first does not work. East can return a spade, and declarer will score only the A. Not only does the squeeze position disappear, but there is no entry to cash the A.


There are several ways to classify squeezes:
  • According to which opponent can be squeezed:
    • In a positional squeeze, only one opponent can be squeezed.
    • In an automatic squeeze, either opponent can be squeezed.
  • According to number of opponents squeezed:
    • In a single squeeze, only one opponent is squeezed.
    • In a double squeeze, both opponents are squeezed.
  • According to number of suits involved:
    • In a two-suit squeeze, there are menaces in two suits.
    • In a three-suit squeeze, there are menaces in three suits.
    • In a compound squeeze, there are menaces in three suits (against one); then, menaces in three suits (against both opponents). It could be named a six-suit squeeze.
    • The peculiar and rare single-suit squeeze
      Single-suit squeeze
      A single-suit squeeze is a uniquesqueeze play in contract bridgethat occurs with an awkward defensive distribution of one suit.It is a kind of immaterial squeeze, in which a discard does not cost a...

      is actually a type of endplay
      An endplay , in bridge and similar games, is a tactical play where a defender is put on lead at a strategic moment, and then has to make a play that loses one or more tricks. Most commonly the losing play either constitutes a free finesse, or else it gives declarer a ruff and discard...

       rather than a real squeeze.
  • According to what is gained:
    • In a material squeeze, the opponents are forced to give up a trick directly.
    • In a non-material squeeze, the opponents are forced to give up strategic position. For example, an opponent can be squeezed out of an exit card or a card that disturbs declarer's entries. An extra trick, however, may materialize later.
  • According to the count rectification:
    • In a squeeze with the count, the count is rectified before the squeeze card is played, and declarer will lose no more tricks. These are typically material squeezes.
    • In a squeeze without the count, the count is not yet rectified. These are typically non-material squeezes, often with a throw-in in the end position.

Most of the common types of squeezes (and some of the rare ones) have names:
Type of Squeeze Positional or
Opponents Suits Material or
Simple squeeze
Simple squeeze
The simple squeeze is the most basic form of a squeeze as frequently applied in the game of contract bridge.By playing a winner in one suit, an opponent is squeezed out of a winner in a different suit. .The simple squeeze is a squeeze against one opponent and gains one trick...

Either Single 2 Yes Yes
Criss-cross squeeze
Criss-cross squeeze
In contract bridge, the criss-cross squeeze is a variant of the simple squeeze where both menaces are blocked. However, the blocking card in one suit provides the necessary entry to the other menace. Unblocking in the right order will establish the additional winner, but requires an exact count of...

Automatic Single 2 Yes Yes
Trump squeeze
Trump squeeze
In contract bridge, the trump squeeze is a variant of the simple squeeze. In a trump squeeze, declarer has a suit that can be established by ruffing, but the defender being squeezed is guarding that suit. However, if he happens to also guard another suit, the squeeze card will force him to unguard...

Either Single 2 Yes Yes
Progressive squeeze
Progressive squeeze
The progressive squeeze is a contract bridge squeeze that gains two tricks by squeezing one and the same player twice, hence the name...

(aka Triple squeeze
Triple squeeze
A triple squeeze is a squeeze against one player, in three suits; a more explicit definition is "three simple squeezes against the same player."...

Positional Single 3 Yes Yes
Double squeeze
Double squeeze
The double squeeze is a type of squeeze play in the card game of Bridge.Double squeezes are a combination of two simple squeezes carried out against both opponents...

Either Double 3 Yes Yes
Compound squeeze
Compound squeeze
A compound squeeze is a type of play in the game of contract bridge. In this squeeze one opponent is squeezed such that some form of other squeeze emerges involving either or both players....

Positional Double 3 Yes Yes
Entry-shifting squeeze
Entry-shifting squeeze
In the card game contract bridge, an entry-shifting squeeze is a mixture between a material squeeze and an immaterial squeeze. The material part is the same as in a trump squeeze or a squeeze without the count. The immaterial part is that depending on the choice of discards of the squeezee an entry...

Positional Single 2 Yes Yes
Single-suit squeeze
Single-suit squeeze
A single-suit squeeze is a uniquesqueeze play in contract bridgethat occurs with an awkward defensive distribution of one suit.It is a kind of immaterial squeeze, in which a discard does not cost a...

Positional Single 1 Yes No
Strip squeeze
Strip squeeze
A strip squeeze is a declarer technique at contract bridge combining elements of squeeze and endplay.This squeeze occurs when declarer has two or more losers remaining. By cashing winners, declarer forces the defender to discard winners and/or exit cards so that when they are put on lead they...

Positional Single 2-3 Yes No
Backwash squeeze
Backwash squeeze
Backwash squeeze is a rare squeeze which involves squeezing an opponent which lies behind declarer's menace. A variation of this, known as the "Sydney Squeeze" or "Seres Squeeze", was discovered in play at a rubber bridge game in Sydney, Australia in 1965, by the Australian great Tim Seres; it was...

Positional Single 2 Yes Yes
Cannibal squeeze
Cannibal squeeze
Cannibal squeeze or suicide squeeze is a type of squeeze in bridge or whist, in which a defender is squeezed by a card played by his partner. Normally, this occurs with less-than-perfect defense, but there are also legitimate positions where the defense could not have prevailed.-Examples: West is...

Positional Single 2 Yes Yes*
Stepping-stone squeeze
Stepping-stone squeeze
The Stepping-stone squeeze is an advanced type of squeeze in Contract Bridge. It is used when the declarer has enough high cards to take all but one of the remaining tricks, but does not have enough communication between the hands to cash them...

Positional Either 2 No No
Guard squeeze
Guard squeeze
Guard squeeze is a type of squeeze in contract bridge where a player is squeezed out of a card which prevents his partner from being finessed. The squeeze operates in three suits, where the squeezee protects the menaces in two suits, but cannot help his partner anymore in the third suit after the...

Positional Either 2-3 Yes Yes
Vice squeeze
Vice squeeze
The Vice is an advanced squeeze in contract bridge. Its distinguishing motive is presence of a "vice" menace in one suit, where one defender holds cards of equivalent rank which split the declarer's pair of cards in front of him, where his partner has a winner in the suit. It was first attested by...

Positional Single 2-3 Yes No
Winkle squeeze
Winkle squeeze
A winkle is a rare squeeze/endplay in contract bridge in which a trick is offered to the defenders but whichever wins the trick is then endplayed...

Positional Single 3 No No
Clash squeeze
Clash squeeze
A clash squeeze is a three suit bridge squeeze with a special kind of menace, referred to as clash menace. The clash menace is one that might fall under a winner in the opposite hand, because it can be covered by another card in an opponent’s hand. If the clash squeeze can force the opponent to...

Positional Either 3 Yes Yes
Saturated squeeze
Saturated squeeze
The saturated squeeze is a type of squeeze play in the card game of Bridge.The key feature of the saturated squeeze is that it involves threats in all four suits, and all four threats are necessary for the squeeze to function...

Positional Double 4 Yes Yes
Pseudo-squeeze is a type of deceptive play in contract bridge. The declarer goes through the motions of a squeeze where none actually exists, simulating a genuine squeeze in the hope that a defender misreads the position and therefore misdefends...

N/A N/A N/A No N/A
Entry squeeze
Entry squeeze
An entry squeeze exerts pressure by threatening the length of a defender's holding in a side suit. In many familiar squeezed positions, such as a simple or double squeeze, the rank of a defender's holding prevents declarer from cashing a threat until the squeeze has matured...

Either Either 3 No No
Knockout squeeze
Knockout squeeze
A knockout squeeze is the general form of squeezes that exert pressure, in part, on a defender's trump holding. That defensive holding is needed to prevent declarer from making a successful play involving trumps, including one as prosaic as ruffing a loser...

Either Single 3 No No

Further reading

    • Terence Reese, Master Play in Contract Bridge
    • Frank Schuld, The Simple Squeeze in Bridge - New and Revised
    • Norman Squire, Contract Bridge, Squeeze Play Simplified
    • Peter Thoma, The Art of Bridge Squeezes
    The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.