The Adventures of Team Porcupine, Part XLVII: The Value of Small Cards
By Ray Adams
Bridge buffs who are successful know the value of small cards and use them well to get good results. Perhaps no declarer does this as well as Porczouk Nograwowicz of Team Porcupine.
Nograwowicz arrived in 4♥ on the auction given above and West led the eight of diamonds, won by East’s king. East immediately placed the seven of spades on the table, which Nograwowicz read as an obvious singleton. He let this ride to West’s ten and dummy’s king. He now made the far-sighted move of ruffing dummy’s last diamond with the ten of hearts.
When he played the ace of hearts, he was pleased to see West’s jack fall. He now led the eight of hearts to dummy’s nine, picking up East’s last heart. When he led a small club, East defended well, winning the ace and returning a small club. Declarer won his king, but now had to get back to the dummy to eliminate the last club. He was able to do this by leading his carefully preserved five of hearts to dummy’s six. Now he could lead the last club and ruff it.
When he then led a small spade, West won his jack, but was endplayed. A spade return would allow dummy’s nine to score, while exiting with a diamond would give declarer a ruff and a sluff. Either way, Nograwowicz had brought this tricky game home for plus 620 to Team Porcupine. When South at the other table was down one in the same contract, Team Porcupine picked up a nifty 12 imps on this board. It was a nice reward for Nograwowicz’s knowledge of how valuable the small cards can be.