The Adventures of Team Porcupine, Part XLVI: The Trouble with 15 Point No Trumps
By Ray Adams
In the old days of bridge, most partnerships played 16-18 point no trumps, but the modern method is to play the 15-17 point variety. This allows a pair to open 1NT more times than in the past, thereby pre-empting the opponents’ bidding. However, there can be disadvantages to opening a 15 point no trump.
The bidding on this hand is typical of the modern aggressive style found in high level team games. West opened a 15 point no trump, Kowalski made a point count double and Nograwowicz simply bid what he thought he could make.
West undoubtedly wished for someone else to be on lead, but eventually chose the three of clubs. This ran to dummy’s nine, East’s queen, and declarer’s ace. As Nograwowicz counted the outstanding points, he came to the conclusion that he had already seen every point in East’s hand when the queen of clubs hit the table. Outside the declarer’s hand and dummy, there were 15 high card points left in the deck and West had to hold every one of them for his opening bid. This was all the information Nograwowicz needed to play the hand like a seeing eye dog.
At trick two, he led a small spade, West winning the queen. West now chose to exit with a club and this ran to declarer’s ten. Nograwowicz now played the ace of spades and a spade, once again endplaying West. In frustration, West cashed the ace of diamonds and exited with a diamond. Declarer won dummy’s king and tossed two hearts on the queen of diamonds and a high club. Poor West had been endplayed three times during the hand as Nograwowicz soon claimed his game.
At the other table, Pas chose to open 1♦ and the opponents ended up in 3NT. Konejwicz led a diamond, and Pas eventually exited with the jack of clubs. North struggled but could not avoid drifting down one for a nice swing to Team Porcupine. It was not a triumph for the 15 point no trump.