Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Dealer: North

Vul: None

8 3
J 10 7
10 8 6
A K J 6 5
West East
10 9 4
Q 9 8 4 6 5 2
2 K Q J 9 7 5 4
10 8 7 4 3 Q 9 2
A K Q J 7 6 5 2
A K 3
A 3


South West North East
    Pass 3
6 All Pass    

Opening Lead:2

“My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains

My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk.”

— John Keats

Eddie Kantar, in his book “Kantar on Kontract,” shows his readers a trick deal that no student ever gets right.


Can you figure out how to make six spades? The trick is to get to dummy to use the ace-king of clubs without crawling under the table. Win the diamond opening lead and play the ace, king and two of spades. West must win the trick and, as you know from the auction, has no more diamonds to lead and so must lead a club or a heart. Either exit puts you in dummy, where you can cash your club winners.


Although Eddie generally does not watch his students play the hands, he couldn’t resist watching this one at several tables. This is what happened. At the first table, declarer ducked the diamond opening lead and East shifted to a heart instead of giving partner a diamond ruff. No matter, declarer still had to lose a heart. Down one.


At table two, declarer won the diamond lead and led a low spade! West rose with the nine and led a heart, so declarer made the hand by winning the heart in dummy and discarding a diamond on the club ace, etc.


At table three, declarer won the opening lead and played the ace-king of clubs from dummy, discarding two red-suit losers. This is clearly the best play if the defenders let you get away with it. “What’s the problem?” she asked, as she tabled her cards.


At that point, Kantar stopped watching.

ANSWER: There are two problems with responding two clubs. The first is that the hand is not quite good enough, since you really don’t have much of a fit for spades. The second is that as a passed hand, many people play two clubs as artificial here. If you play Drury, the call shows a maximum pass and at least three-card trump support. For both of those reasons, I recommend a response of one no-trump.


South Holds:

8 3
J 10 7
10 8 6
A K J 6 5


South West North East
Pass Pass 1 Pass


For details of Bobby Wolff’s autobiography, The Lone Wolff, contact If you would like to contact Bobby Wolff, please leave a comment at this blog. Reproduced with permission of United Feature Syndicate, Inc., Copyright 2009. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact