The Adventures of Team Porcupine, Part LV: Nograwowicz and the Nine of Hearts
By Ray Adams
The nine of diamonds is frequently referred to as “The Curse of Scotland” due to historical reasons. On the other hand, the nine of hearts has always been nice to Team Porcupine.
In the auction, Kowalski’s 2NT bid showed a two-suited red hand. Nograwowicz was 2-2 in the reds, but chose hearts simply because he had the nine of hearts and only the seven of diamonds. He shuddered slightly when Kowalski now raised him to game.
West led the three of clubs, and this allowed declarer to sluff a spade from dummy as he won the ace. Next came a diamond to the king and ace. East’s spade switch went to the queen and ace. West persisted with a club, ruffed in dummy.
Declarer now cashed the queen of diamonds and led a low diamond, ruffing it with the nine when East followed. West showed out, but dummy’s diamonds were now established and the contract was guaranteed. Nograwowicz soon claimed four and the swing on this hand allowed Team Porcupine to win the match.
“If the nine of hearts were a person, I would buy him a drink,” Nograwowicz said to his teammates after the match was over. “Even if West had been able to overruff me, it would have been with the queen of hearts and I still would have make it.”
“Let’s all hear it for the nine of hearts!” Kowalski shouted, and the entire team cheered this little intermediate, so often overlooked by most bridge buffs.