The Adventures of Team Porcupine, Part XIII: Daring Lead Reaps Dividends
By Ray Adams
Bold bidding and play have traditionally been the hallmarks of Team Porcupine. Although this team may not win every match it plays, it has probably never lost one due to timidity.
The fact that the bidding was the same at both tables is a testimony to how far team players will stretch to find vulnerable games in their matches. Many North players would never think of entering the auction in second seat with only eight high card points. However, the fact that they were 4-4 in the majors clearly influenced both Norths in this team match to make a very light takeout double. At any rate, this led to both Souths declaring a game that stood an excellent chance of making.
Against Nograwowicz, the West player made the unimaginative lead of the ace of clubs, then continued with a club which declarer ruffed. Nograwowicz next drove out the ace of trumps. West was unable to mount an effective attack from that side of the table and declarer soon claimed ten tricks when diamonds split 3-2. This was plus 620 for Team Porcupine.
When Pas found himself on lead, he realized that it was unlikely that the defense could cash more than one club trick. He also reasoned that Konejwicz surely had the king of clubs for his bid. Thus, he carefully selected the queen of clubs for his opening lead. Konejwicz studied this card with great interest. He saw that Pas might well be underleading the ace of clubs in an attempt to get him – East – on lead. To cover this contingency, Konejwicz played his king.
The king of clubs won the trick and Konejwicz now read the queen as a suit preference for the higher non-trump suit, or spades. He then put the jack of spades on the table. This went to the queen, Pas’s king, and dummy’s ace. Now, when South played a trump, Pas won his ace, cashed the ten of spades and gave Konejwicz a ruff to set the contract one trick. This was plus 100 for Team Porcupine.
This 12 imp swing was enough to win the match for Team Porcupine. Pas’s bold and unusual lead had reaped huge dividends for Team Porcupine and showed why they keep showing up in the winner’s circle.