Aces on Bridge — Daily Columns

The Aces on Bridge: Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

Vulnerable: Neither

Dealer: South


5 4 3

A 10

A Q 6 4

10 7 6 5


K Q 9

K 9 7 4 2

J 3

J 4 3


6 2

Q J 8 6 5 3

9 8 7 5



A J 10 8 7

K 10 2

A K Q 9 8


South West North East
1 Pass 1 Pass
2 Pass 3 Pass
3 Pass 4 Pass
5 Pass 6 All pass

Opening Lead: Diamond jack

“The difficult we do immediately. The impossible takes a little longer.”

— Slogan of U.S. Army Service Forces

Eddie Kantar recently showed me a deal where everyone told him he couldn’t have made his slam, only for him to discover a day later that the hand was cold. When Eddie reminded me of the deal (I was on the Dallas Aces, and one of his opponents), I thought I’d give you the challenge too. Cover up the East-West hands.

Kantar believes in opening one club with really strong hands that have 5-5 in the black suits. As it happened, this helped him wind up in six clubs, a great contract, but how would you have played it? West started with jack-third of trumps, East a singleton.

Kantar simply drew trump and took two spade finesses, and went down. But afterwards he decided he should have won the opening lead in dummy with the queen, played the heart ace, discarding a spade, and ruffed a heart, stripping that suit. Next would come the three top clubs followed by overtaking the diamond king with dummy’s ace, leaving the diamond 10 as a return entry to his hand.

With West stripped of safe-red suit exits, the stage is set to lead a spade to the jack. As it happens, West has both spade honors, so the best he can do is win and exit with a heart, yielding a ruff-sluff. Kantar could have ruffed with his last trump, discarding a spade from dummy. The spade ace and a spade ruff set up the spades, with the diamond 10 a re-entry to the South hand.


South holds:

5 4 3
A 10
A Q 6 4
10 7 6 5


South West North East
Pass Pass 2 Dbl.
ANSWER: You have enough to try to obstruct your opponents by raising to three spades — even facing a third-in-hand pre-empt. But wouldn’t you like a diamond lead against an eventual four-heart game? Best is to use three diamonds here as lead-directing with at least spade tolerance — a gadget known as McCabe. All new suits at the three-level here are lead directing, even by an unpassed hand.


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 2011. If you are interested in reprinting The Aces on Bridge column, contact