The Adventures of Team Porcupine, Part LI: Kowalski’s Reverse
By Ray Adams
All experienced bridge buffs know what a reverse is. A player first bids a lower ranking suit, then later bids a higher ranking suit at the two level. This shows a very good hand of 17 or more points. It is not unknown for players to make mistakes where reverses are concerned, especially if that player’s name is Stanislaus Kowalski.
Readers will recognize that in their partnership, Kowalski normally sits North, while Nograwowicz sits South. Thus, this hand was rotated for readers’ convenience.
Many players would have opened the South hand 1♦ so as not to reverse, but Kowalski failed to think ahead and started with a club. After his partner responded 1♠, he could have rebid 1NT, but chose not to with a singleton. Instead, he reversed into 2♦, hoping nothing bad would happen. Nograwowicz took Kowalski at his word and made a slam try with a 4♣ bid. Kowalski now bid 4♥, hoping his partner would bid 4♠ which he would rapidly pass. But it was not to be and Kowalski soon found himself at the helm in a small slam as West led the king of hearts.
Kowalski was terrified as he added up his and dummy’s meager resources, but he had no choice but to forge ahead. He won the opening lead with the ace and led a club to the king, as West played the queen. This caused Kowalski to start sweating and he had to wipe his brow several times as he played the hand. He now led the queen of diamonds, covered by the king and won with the ace.
Kowalski now said a little prayer and led the ace of clubs. Yes, the jack dropped from the West hand! He now played a spade to dummy’s ace and subsequently led the queen of spades as East followed low. Kowalski threw a heart as he said another little prayer. Yes, the queen held! Next came the jack of spades, covered by the king and ruffed. He returned to dummy with the ten of clubs and cashed dummy’s last two spades, throwing his last heart and a small diamond. Now Kowalski was playing for an overtrick as he led a diamond. He covered East’s six with the nine and when that held, claimed an unbelievable seven!
When the hand was over, Kowalski’s face was as red as a blushing school girl while he sat there, shaking his head and staring into space.
“Just think how many tricks you would have made if you had actually had the points you told me you did,” Nograwowicz said.