The Adventures of Team Porcupine, Part XLII: Safe or Sorry
By Ray Adams
One of the big differences between matchpoint and team bridge is the prevalence of safety plays in team bridge. However, there are some hands where there is no excuse for not playing safe.
The top auction occurred when Kowalski/Nograwowicz sat NS. Once his partner bid NT, Kowalski felt he was off the hook and totally ignored his five card heart suit. He simply raised his partner to game and sat back and relaxed. West led the queen of diamonds and Pas saw that 4♥ might be a better contract, but that 3NT should be good if only he could run clubs. He won the ace of diamonds at trick one, seeing no value in holding up.
There was one danger: clubs might split 4-0. If so, there was nothing Nograwowicz could do if East had all the missing clubs, but if West did, then he still had a chance. Therefore, at trick two, he played the ace of clubs from his hand. When East played a low spade, Nograwowicz was now glad he had not unthinkingly played low to a high club in dummy. He then led the eight of clubs, covered by the ten and won with the queen.
Declarer only had one entry left to hand and that was in spades. So he cashed the ace of this suit and came to hand with the king, then cashed the queen. He now led his last club. West played low, but Nograwowicz inserted the nine and the king picked up West’s last club. Declarer was now able to claim ten tricks for +630 to Team Porcupine.
At the other table, Konejwicz had no no good lead against the 4♥ contract and finally decided to attack dummy’s first bid suit. This proved to be an excellent choice. Pas continued the diamond attack when in with the ace of hearts and it was not long before declarer lost control of the hand and eventually finished down two for plus 200 for Team Porcupine.
The final result was a 13 imp swing for the prickly team and was a triumph for Kowalski’s “Let Partner Play It” philosophy of bidding and, of course, the safe play of Porczouk Nograwowicz.