The Adventures of Team Porcupine, Part XLVIII: A Pretty Cool Slam
By Ray Adams
Team Porcupine frequently bids and makes slams that other teams fail to reach. Opponents of the team call this “lucky” and overbidding,” while the Porcupines say it is due to “inference, intuition, and lack of inhibition” or what Kowalski dubbed Third Eye Bidding. The following example will allow readers to make their own decision as to which side is correct:
Since Kowalski had good holdings in both majors, he decided to open his 11 point hand 1♣, thus creating a situation where it was more likely that his brilliant partner – Nograwowicz – would be playing the hand. East’s 1NT overcall was the 15 to 17 point variety. Nograwowicz’s 4♦ call was a cuebid showing slam interest and Kowalski’s 4♥ bid was another cuebid. West, a very good player from southern California, looked at Nograwowicz like he was a madman when the 6♠ card hit the table. East had shown a minimum of 15 points and he, West, held 7. These Porcupine madmen could not hold more than 16 to 18 points and West could not get the double card on the table fast enough.
West led the queen of diamonds to East’s ace and Nograwowicz won the diamond return with his king. Declarer saw his only problem on this hand was in the trump suit, and if East had both the king and the jack he was sunk, but maybe East had two to the king and West had the singleton jack. At trick three, he led a heart to the ace and then played the queen of spades. East covered and the ace dropped the jack. Nograwowicz then drew the last trump, ruffed two diamonds in dummy and claimed.
The pair at the other table was not as inferential, intuitive, or as lacking in inhibition as Kowalski and Nograwowicz and they settled into a comfortable 2♠ contract, making six when the declarer took the same view in the trump suit as Nograwowicz. This was a tasty 14 imp swing for Team Porcupine.
As West wrote down the minus 1210 score, he muttered, “You guys only had 18 high card points!”
“Sometimes 18 points can be a pretty cool slam,” Kowalski replied.