The Adventures of Team Porcupine, Part XLI: The Key Bid
By Ray Adams
On many hands, there is one key bid that can be made which will change the entire outcome of the hand. Harrington Konejwicz of Team Porcupine made such a bid in a recent match in a tough regional event.
In the first auction given above, against Kowalski/Nograwowicz, West reached 3NT after his partner only raised his 2♣ bid to 3♣. Kowalski led the ten of hearts and West at this table quickly wrapped up ten tricks for -630 to Team Porcupine.
Konejwicz, however, saw his hand had great value in a club contract, especially as he was short in his partner’s first suit. This induced him to raise Pas to 4♣ and this led to the small slam attempt. At this table, North started with the four of spades, a much safer lead against the slam. This went to the three, queen and ace.
Pas saw the hand was laydown if trumps split 2-2, but what if they didn’t? He decided to be flexible and started with a club to the ten as both opponents followed. He then led a heart to his queen, losing to North’s king. Back came a spade, won by dummy’s king. Pas now led a heart to his ace and followed up with a trump to the jack, North showing out by tossing a heart.
It now looked right to cash the jack of hearts and later ruff a heart and a spade to claim this contract. But what if South had started with only two hearts? Then South would ruff the jack and Pas would come up a trick short. It was at this point that he decided on another plan. He led a low heart and ruffed it as South showed out. Pas was now very glad he had not tried to cash that jack.
He then cashed the ace of diamonds and ruffed a diamond with dummy’s small trump. He now ruffed dummy’s last spade, ruffed a diamond with the king of clubs and drew South’s last trump with the ace. The only card left in dummy was the high jack of hearts, the slam-going trick. Pas had done it.
This board was worth a nifty 12 imp swing to Team Porcupine. One key bid and one key play had done the job for them.