The Adventures of Team Porcupine, Part XIV: Naturally Kowalski
By Ray Adams
Team Porcupine recently benefited from a bidding convention without a name. Bridge buffs have often heard this sequence: one of a minor to their left, pass by partner, one of a major to their right. They hold five or six of the major bid to their right and an opening hand. Now what?
Most players are forced to pass in this situation, but Team Porcupine recently found an answer. Or perhaps it is better to say that Stanislaus Kowalski did.
When Pas-Konejwicz were North/South, the bidding went according to the top diagram. In that auction, the two club bid was new minor forcing, asking North to bid hearts with three card support. East led a club, won by Pas with the ace. He then quickly cashed six diamond tricks and the top spades. When spades broke evenly, he claimed eleven tricks for plus 660. This seemed absolutely normal, since West had no way to enter the auction with any system employed by him and his partner.
Things were different at the other table as the second diagram above shows. After South bid one heart, Kowalski bid two hearts as natural, showing five or six hearts and an opening hand. Nograwowicz soon rescued his partner, bidding his six card club suit. The South player was insulted by the fact that this upstart pair was interfering in their auction. After all, he had an opening hand and his partner had opened the bidding. Therefore, he doubled, even though he had no trump trick, simply based on high card points. And surely, he expected a penalty of 800 or better.
South led a trump to reduce dummy’s ruffing values. North won the ace and returned a club. However, Nograwowicz took the marked heart finesse, was still able to ruff one diamond in the dummy and lost only one club, one diamond, and three spades to go down one for a minus 200 score. And lo and behold, Team Porcupine had somehow picked up 10 imps on a hand where North/South were cold for eleven tricks in no trump.
After the match – which Team Porcupine won – Kowalski was asked what he wanted to call his new convention. “The Natural Way is how I think about it,” he replied.
But Kowalski was outvoted by the other three members of Team Porcupine who dubbed the new convention “Naturally Kowalski.”