The Adventures of Team Porcupine, Part XXIII: Saving the Porcupine
By Ray Adams
The most recent adventure of Team Porcupine saw a smart move by declarer save one of Kowalski’s incredibly optimistic bids from being relegated to the rubbish pile of bidding.
The meaning of Kowalski’s bids can be explained, but perhaps not the reasoning behind them. The double was negative, while two hearts was an all purpose cue bid, asking Nograwowicz to further describe his hand. When Nograwowicz simply rebid his strong spade suit, visions of slam started dancing in Kowalski’s feverish brain. Five spades asked his partner to bid six with good trumps, and certainly, Nograwowicz had excellent spades.
Luckily, West did not find the club lead, instead choosing the ace of hearts, ruffed in dummy. Nograwowicz saw he could actually make this contract if trumps behaved. However, he felt compelled by the favorable lead to make a safety play in trumps to guard against a possible 4-1 split. At trick two, he led a spade to the five, four, and West’s six. West returned a spade, but declarer was now in control.
Nograwowicz won the spade in hand, ruffed a heart in dummy and came to hand with the ace of clubs. He drew the remaining trumps, sluffing two clubs from dummy. He then was able to successfully run the diamonds when they split 4-1, taking the rest of the tricks. Plus 1430 for Team Porcupine.
When Pas and Konejwicz were defending at the other table, the opponents only reached four spades. The opening lead was the same, but declarer ignored the possibility of a bad break and banged down the ace and king of trumps. He was in deep trouble when East showed out on the king. Declarer then ruffed a heart in dummy and began to run the diamonds. Pas ruffed the second round and declarer was sunk. The dummy was now dead and the defenders got all their club and heart tricks. Declarer was two down for plus 200 for Team Pocupine.
This added up to a 17 imp swing for Team Porcupine. But was the result a matter of Kowalski’s bidding genius or Nograwowicz’s talent in saving the porcupine?