The Adventures of Team Porcupine, Part IV: Team Porcupine Meets the NT Hog
By Ray Adams
On a recent Sunday afternoon, Team Porcupine played Porkjowl Swinebidder’s team for the first time. Swinebidder has developed quite a reputation over the years for hogging hands with his outrageous no trump bids. This day proved to be no exception. After six boards, Team Porcupine captain Stari Pas estimated that his team trailed by 14 or 15 imps.
However, Team Porcupine never rolls into a ball and gives up. On board seven, fate and Swinebidder gave them a chance to make up some ground:
In the auction, Konejwicz’s 1NT bid was forcing. After Swinebidder tried 3NT, Konejwicz had the choice of bidding four hearts or doubling. He chose the latter course and the defense proved to be as quick and deadly as a rapier in the hands of an expert swordsman.
Pas led the seven of spades, won by Konejwicz’s ace. Back came the ten of hearts, covered by Swinebidder’s jack and won by Pas’s queen. Pas now cashed the ace of hearts and returned a heart to Konejwicz’s nine. When Konejwicz now led his small spade, Swinebidder’s queen/ten holding was trapped. This meant Team Porcupine could now win the first eleven tricks.
Sweat was dripping off Swinebidder’s face so rapidly that he had to call a caddy to bring him a towel. As he chose his discard for trick eleven, he realized he was caught in a rare play: a defensive squeeze. If he threw his ace of clubs, Pas could cash his six of clubs and then lead a diamond to Konejwicz’s ace. On the other hand, if Swinebidder jettisoned one of his high diamonds, Pas would lead his lone diamond to partner’s ace and jack. Either way, Swinebidder was unable to take a single trick with his 21 point hand!.
This was down nine doubled for 2600 points to Team Porcupine. Since West at the other table carefully played four hearts, making six for plus 680, this represented an 18 imp pickup for Team Porcupine and allowed them to win a match that had so recently looked hopeless.
Swinebidder was a pale and badly shaken man who blankly stared into space after the match was over. Kowalski, always kind to his opponents, stepped up to Swinebidder and handed him a business card..
“If you don’t feel better soon, just call that number,” he said.
Swinebidder looked at the card. Printed on it were a phone number and the words: “No Trump Hogs Anonymous.”