The Adventures of Team Porcupine, Part I: Kowalski Improves His Game
By Ray Adams
Team Porcupine retired from tournament play just a year ago, but their exploits still live on wherever bridge players congregate. One of their players, Stanislaus Kowalski, was continually trying to improve himself. He read all the books he could find about world championship team events. It was his hope that he would be able to emulate great bids and plays made by world class players.
He once perused a tale about a hand where the player originally passed holding an eleven card suit and later entered the bidding only to be doubled. This expert made his contract and picked up a nice swing for his team. Kowalski decided he would do the same thing the next time he held such a long suit. His chance came on the following hand:
In the diagrams above, the top auction occurred when Nograwowicz/Kowalski sat NS. The bottom one was at the other table where Pas/Konejwicz were EW. Readers can see Kowalski’s strategy in action. He originally passed his eleven card suit, then later came into the auction and made a pest of himself, eventually drawing a double from East, who not only held the ace of trumps and an outside ace, but whose partner had opened the bidding. East was undoubtedly expecting a penalty of at least 1700. Unfortunately for this pair, West led the ace of diamonds. Kowalski ruffed this, went to the board with the ace of clubs, threw his other club on the king of diamonds and claimed, conceding the ace of trumps. This was plus 1660 to the prickly Team Porcupine.
In the other auction, Pas’s 5♥ bid was a Michael’s cue bid showing spades and an unnamed minor. Konejwicz bid 6♠ and this was doubled by North, mainly on the strength of his heart void. However, when South led the king of hearts, Konejwicz ruffed with the jack of spades, drew trumps and conceded a trick to the king of diamonds. This was another plus 1660 for Team Porcupine!
The double double slam swing was a 22 imp pickup and allowed Team Porcupine to easily win this match. Kowalski’s reading had reaped huge dividends and made him the hero of the day.