The Adventures of Team Porcupine, Part XXII: A Kowalski Transfer
By Ray Adams
Team Porcupine members are fond of a bidding eccentricity on the part of Stanislaus Kowalski that they like to call a “Kowalski Transfer.” The following hand is a good example:
When Pas/Konejwicz were sitting EW, their opponents reached four spades in the first auction given above. The two diamond bid was new minor forcing, asking partner for three card support of spades. After discovering their 5-3 major suit fit, the opponents soon reached game.
Konejwicz led a diamond, ruffed in dummy. Declarer came to hand with a club to the ace and led a small spade. Konejwicz rose king and exited with a club, ruffed by West. West exited with a high diamond, ruffed with dummy’s last trump, the queen. North now came to hand with a heart ruff. The ace of trumps drew the last two enemy trumps and declarer was soon able to claim, winning a total of four club tricks, six trumps, and the ace of hearts. It was minus 650 for Team Porcupine.
When Kowalski/Nograwowicz were NS, the bidding took a different turn in the second auction shown above. At his second turn, rather than look for a fit for his five card major, Kowalski chose to support his partner’s second suit. This is the technique known to Team Porcupine as the Kowalski Transfer. In other words, Kowalski was up to his usual tricks, transferring the play of the hand to his partner, Porczouk Nograwowicz, rather than trying to play the hand himself. This worked wonders when Nograwowicz was able to bid the minor suit slam.
Declarer won the opening trump lead with dummy’s ace. He immediately saw that the hand was hopeless unless East held the king of spades and this key suit split 3-2. Thus, he played a low spade from dummy at trick two, East rising with the king and returning a trump. Declarer won his ten and then ruffed a small heart in dummy.
A spade to the queen allowed Nograwowicz to ruff another small heart with dummy’s last trump. He then ruffed a diamond in hand, drew East’s last trump and played the ace of hearts. A spade to dummy allowed him to claim the rest of the tricks.
This was a 13 imp swing for Team Porcupine and gave them just enough imps to win this important match. Readers who love bidding gadgets may enjoy debating the merits of the two methods used on this hand: new minor forcing vs. the Kowalski transfer.