The Adventures of Team Porcupine, Part XXXIX: Team Porcupine vs. the Silver Fox
By Ray Adams
Part VII: The Worst or the Best, Board 21
In a perfect bridge world, only the best contracts (as analyzed by Deep Finesse) would be reached. The sole differences would be in the skill levels of defense and declarer play. Results would never vary more than a trick or two on each hand. But, alas, we have not yet arrived in this Brave New World of Bridge. Players do not always bid to the best contract. In fact, on many hands, no one is certain just what the best contract is, in spite of Deep Finesse’s great prophecies.
So until this perfect bridge world is reached, winning bridge will undoubtedly be an inexact science, consisting of doing one’s best to reach a playable contract, and once there, to play the cards to the limit of one’s abilities.
The Fox finally got a chance to play a hand on the last board of the match and Nograwowicz led the two of spades against his 1NT contract. Kowalski won the ace and returned the queen, taken by the Fox’s king. Declarer immediately went to work on diamonds, leading his jack to dummy’s king when South played low, then running the nine, which won.
The Fox now tried the club finesse, which failed, Nograwowicz capturing the queen with his king. A spade went to Kowalski’s ten. Kowalski then shifted to the jack of hearts. The Fox ducked, but Nograwowicz overtook with his queen to cash the jack of spades. Dummy threw a heart and Kowalski shed the queen of diamonds as the Fox followed with his last spade.
Nograwowicz returned the two of hearts to his partner’s king and the Fox’s ace. The Fox now cashed the ace of diamonds, putting a great deal of pressure on Kowalski. Kowalski knew his ten of hearts was high, but dummy had three clubs to the jack. If he tossed a club, would the Fox take the rest of the tricks in clubs? He thought about what Nograwowicz had told him.
“Stanislaus,” he always said. “Always keep parity with the dummy’s long suit, if you have any card that might take a trick. More tricks have been lost by defenders who fail to do this than there are stars in the Milky Way.”
Kowalski followed the voice in his head and threw the ten of hearts. The Fox now cashed the ace of clubs and led a club to the dummy’s jack. This was his seventh trick, but Kowalski’s ten of clubs took the last trick, preventing the Fox from scoring an overtrick. It was minus 90 for Team Porcupine.
“You did hold the nine of hearts, didn’t you, Porczouk,” Kowalski asked his partner.
“Of course he did,” the Fox interjected. “If I had held it, I would have been making two on this miserable collection of cards.”
“This is true, amigo,” Diego said. “The Fox does not miss too many squeezes.”
Kowalski was glad the match was over. He was very tired of the Silver Fox and Diego. In his mind, he pictured a nice cool glass of Gdansk Lager.
“How about a nice beer after we compare, Porczouk?” he said to his partner.
“If you want to keep that beer really cold, Mr. Kowalski,” the Silver Fox said, “Just set it next to my ex-wife’s heart.” The Fox was actually a fan of heavy metal rock, but he loved to quote this line from the one country and western song that he truly liked. Perhaps this was because the lyrics were so close to his broken heart.
Still, the story of this hand was the fact tht Kowalski’s good discard had saved Team Porcupine from being minus 120. But would that be enough for them to beat the tough Silver Crusaders?
Readers will find out the result that occurred at the other table in Team Porcupine, Part XL, the next and last blog in this series about the match between Team Porcupine and the Silver Crusaders.