The Adventures of Team Porcupine, Part XVI: Kowalski Meets Flannery
By Ray Adams
The Flannery convention is a useful bid which shows a specific type of hand that is otherwise difficult to bid. When one is playing Flannery, an opening bid of two diamonds shows five hearts, four spades, and 11 to 15 high card points.
Stanislaus Kowalski of Team Porcupine was recently introduced to the convention at a tournament. A pair of opponents used it quite successfully against him and Nograwowicz, and Kowalski decided he and his partner should add Flannery to their repertoire.
Kowalski thought his hand qualified for a Flannery bid as he added one point for the extra spade, one for the extra heart, and two for the extra singleton. This apparently gave him the 12 points he needed to open Flannery. East’s double was lead-directing and Nograwowicz’s 2NT asked for Kowalski’s distribution in the minors.
Kowalski knew he was supposed to bid three clubs or three diamonds holding three of the bid suit. Four clubs or four diamonds would show four in that minor. Three hearts would show 2-2 in the minors with a minimum, while three spades would be 2-2 in the minors with a maximum. Since Kowalski somehow had none of these possible distributions, he decided to bid four hearts, showing 1-1 in the minors and a minimum, at least in his burning brain. Nograwowicz, of course, had absolutely no idea what four hearts meant, but managed to correct to four spades, surely their best fit.
The play of the hand was easy. Nograwowicz successfully finessed the queen of spades, found the ace of hearts onside and established dummy’s long heart suit with one ruff. He soon claimed five for plus 650 to Team Porcupine.
At the table where Pas/Konejwicz sat West/East, the North/South pair remained silent throughout the auction. Konejwicz opened one diamond in third chair, Pas bid 2NT, and this ended the auction. North led a heart, and the defense was able to cash the ace of diamonds, the ace of clubs, and four heart tricks for down one, or minus 100. Even though Pas was not pleased with the result, what had happened at the other table made this board an 11 imp gain for Team Porcupine.
After winning this match, the team discussed the boards, eventually dubbing Kowalski’s version of Flannery “Kowalskeri.”