The Adventures of Team Porcupine, Part III: The Ability to Stop and Think
By Ray Adams
Bridge players are consistently faced with many temptations, such as bidding one more for the road or over-evaluating a hand. But the most common temptation they face is choosing to simply react rather than stopping to think. Team Porcupine recently showed how important it is to resist this latter temptation when they played the following hand:
What was surprising in this auction is that neither team chose to try the five club sacrifice. This is probably because both teams prided themselves on their strong defense. The lead at both tables was the same: the five of clubs from the North hand.
Nograwowicz won the queen of clubs when West played low from the dummy and paused to think. Kowalski had led the five and declarer played the four. Where were the three and two? It seemed to him that Kowalski had led fourth best from a six-card suit. If this were the case, then West’s four was a singleton and another club would not cash.
Nograwowicz decided the defense had to look for the setting trick elsewhere and shifted to a diamond at trick two. This struck gold when Kowalski turned up with the ace, jack, and ten. Now the defense was able to cash two diamonds, one club, and the heart ace for down one and plus 50 to Team Porcupine.
At the other table, the South player did not think. Instead he simply banged down the ace of clubs at trick two after winning his queen on the first round. Pas ruffed and started on trumps. South now shifted to a diamond, but it was too late. Declarer finished with trumps and played the king and queen of spades. When he led a low spade, he remembered North’s negative double, showing four spades. So he inserted dummy’s ten. When this held, he tossed his losing diamond on the ace and claimed.
Plus 420 and plus 50 added up to 10 imps for Team Porcupine and this proved to be decisive in winning this match. It was a nice reward for stopping to think.