The Adventures of Team Porcupine, Part XXXIV: Team Porcupine vs. the Silver Fox
By Ray Adams
Part II: Nograwowicz’s Coup, Board # 16
Nograwowicz’s 2♥ bid showed two controls (ace = two, king = one). His second heart bid showed an actual heart bid, and Kowalski erred at this point, choosing to support his partner with only two hearts rather than bidding his second suit, spades. Thus, the pair reached the wrong grand slam.
Diego led the king of diamonds. Nograwowicz felt sick to his stomach when he saw Kowalski’s dummy. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw the Fox smile and maliciously twist a lock of silver hair. Declarer knew he was in trouble and took extra time to think before playing dummy’s ace. He then tried a low heart, inserting his jack when the Fox played low. When he opened his eyes, he saw that the knave had won. Now a club went to the ace. He next ruffed a low club with a small heart. Declarer cashed the king and queen of spades, then led a heart to the ace.
Declarer now ran clubs through the Fox, who soon found himself in a hopeless position. If the Fox ruffed, Nograwowicz would overruff, draw the last trump and return to dummy with a spade. If the Fox did not ruff, he would eventually be caught in a trump coup when declarer led the ace of spades. The Fox soon saw what Nograwowicz was up to and folded his cards and put them back in the board.
“I have too much respect for your declarer play to prolong this farce any longer. Of course, had you been in 7S, which is the normal contract, I would have put my cards back in the board as soon as I saw the dummy.”
Nograwowicz acknowledged the Fox’s compliment with a nod.
“You are quite the bidder,” the Fox said to Kowalski. “Maybe you should write a book. You could call it Precision Kowalski.”
This comment put a broad smile on Kowalski’s face. Why how wonderful it was for a player of the Fox’s caliber to say something so nice about his bidding prowess. And yes, that was exactly the title he would use. No, Bridge Per Kowalski and The Kowalski System were much too pedestrian for a book that would be so enlightening.
“I had no cards, Diego,” the Fox said to his partner. “I had no cards. Well, at least I had a queen this time and what happened? It got used against me. I was couped out of the only face card I have seen in two boards. If there is any justice in this world, then I will have 30 points on the next hand.”
“I had a vision while he was playing that contract,” Diego said. “For a moment I saw Belladonna brilliantly declaring a hand while playing in the Bermuda Bowl.”
“Try to have a vision of me playing a hand, Diego,” the Fox said. “We can’t win if Belladonna plays a hand. He’s not even on our team. Although maybe he should be. Does he stare into space like T.O.D.? I need cards, Diego, cards.” The Fox viciously twirled his moustache. “Give me some cards, Diego.”
At this table, Joe became declarer at the more sensible contract of 7♠ and Konejwicz led the jack of diamonds. Joe won his ace, cashed the ace of clubs and ruffed a club in dummy. He then drew trumps in three rounds and claimed. It was plus 1510 at both tables, meaning that Team Porcupine still led two imps to none. As he picked up board 17, Nograwowicz shuddered to think what the deficit might have been had he not found the trump coup.