The Adventures of Team Porcupine, Part L: Nograwowicz Finds a Way
By Ray Adams
Porczouk Nograwowicz of Team Porcupine was faced with a very difficult play problem in a recent regional after his opponent made what could best be termed an “eccentric pre-empt.”
Kowalski’s double was negative, showing four hearts. Kowalski probably assumed from West’s pre-empt in diamonds that Nograwowicz had no more than one diamond and this must have influenced his subsequent 6♥ bid.
West led the queen of diamonds and declarer took the ace. He led a spade to dummy’s king and cashed the ace and king of clubs, then ruffed a club, taking a great interest in the fall of the queen from the West hand. Declarer cashed the ace of spades, sluffing a small diamond from dummy. Nograwowicz then cashed the king of hearts and led a small heart to dummy, both opponents following. It was the critical point of the hand.
Declarer reasoned that since West had started with three clubs and had also followed to two hearts, and further based on West’s pre-empt, it was likely this player was now out of trumps. Putting his reasoning into action, he cashed the jack of clubs, tossing his losing diamond. When West was unable to ruff, declarer was home. He now ruffed a diamond with his last trump and had ten tricks in the bag, with dummy’s ace and queen of trumps sure to score tricks number eleven and twelve.
Plus 1430 on this board was worth 13 imps to the Porcupines when the opponents failed to bid the slam at the other table, and in fact, made only 11 tricks in a heart contract. Once again Nograwowicz had found a way to save the day for Team Porcupine.