The Adventures of Team Porcupine, Part XXXII: It’s All in the Style
By Ray Adams
One of the remarkable aspects of team game bridge is how a slight difference in bidding style can completely change the outcome of a hand.
When Kowalski/Nograwowicz held the NS cards, the auction was as given in the top diagram. Nograwowicz was able to make a one level overcall of his major suit, spades. This allowed Kowalski to lead the king of spades when the auction was over. Nograwowicz played the ten, won the next trick with the ace and gave his partner a ruff. The ace of trumps in Kowalski’s hand meant the contract was soon down one or plus 100 for Team Porcupine.
At the other table, Konejwicz decided his 15 point hand merited a 1NT opener. At this table, South was reluctant to come in with a 2S overcall, allowing Pas to transfer his partner into hearts. The result of this bidding sequence is that South found himself on lead. Of course, it is possible that South might have found the killing lead of a small spade, but this South did not, and this made it more difficult for NS to negotiate their spade ruff.
After the queen of clubs lead, Konejwicz studied the dummy and saw that even if hearts split 5-0 (which they did), he would make his contract as long as NS did not get a spade ruff. So he won his ace of clubs and immediately cashed the king of clubs, sluffing a spade from dummy. Now even if North shifted to the king of spades after winning the trump ace, he could not overruff dummy and the contract was safe.
Plus 620 and plus 100 added up to a 12 imp swing for Team Porcupine in a match they only won by 9 imps. It was nice bonus for a slight difference in style.