The Adventures of Team Porcupine, Part XXV: Greed Strikes Out
By Ray Adams
A good way to increase your score in contract bridge is by doubling their contract. And this can be especially true in Swiss Team bridge, where a difference between +300 and +100 or +500 and +200 can be a significant swing. But sometimes a double can tell the opponents they are in trouble and may lead to a totally different outcome.
After East doubled Kowalski’s pre-emptive style bid for penalties, Nograwowicz ran to 5♦ as shown in the top auction diagram above. East also chose to double this contract. West got the defense off to a good start by cashing the ace of hearts, then the ace of clubs, continuing with a club, ruffed in dummy.
Declarer ruffed a spade with his king of diamonds, then led a trump to dummy’s ace, pleased at the drop of East’s singleton ten. He ruffed another spade with his queen of diamonds, then led a small trump to dummy’s eight, picking up the last lurking enemy trump. Now the play of the ace of spades dropped the remaining spade in the opponents’ hands, and declarer ran the spades and soon claimed +750 for Team Porcupine.
At the other table, Konejwicz was not impressed with his defensive values and thought a five heart bid was a little too unilateral a decision. So he passed, and he and Pas quietly defended North’s four spade contract. The defense took two aces and two trump tricks for a modest down one or plus 100 to Team Porcupine. This did not look like a significant swing, but when this result was added to the +750 earned at the other table, it represented a juicy 13 imp gain for Team Porcupine in a match they won by six imps.
Readers can see that had the East player at Kowalski/Nograwowicz’s table duplicated Konejwicz’s thoughtful pass, there would have been no swing. But sometimes greed must have its day, even if that day ends in disaster.