The Adventures of Team Porcupine, Part LIX: Doubled Delight
By Ray Adams
Stanislaus Kowalski of Team Porcupine recently remarked to his teammates, “You know, sometimes I think the Great Shuffler simply creates hands to test the souls of bridge players.” Shortly after Kowalski said this, the team was facing a formidable opponent in a Regional Knockout event when this hand came up:
In the top auction (and also in the bottom auction), 2♦ showed both majors. When West bid 4♥ over Nograwowicz’s 3♣ bid, Kowalski had no problem bidding 5♣. After all he would not be playing the contract.
West led the queen of hearts to the five, king, and ace. Nograwowicz sensed that clubs were splitting 5-0 and played the king of clubs to make certain, nodding his head when West tossed a heart. He then led the king of diamonds, East eagerly taking the ace to return a heart. Declarer ruffed this and led a diamond to the jack, West showing out. He then took the marked diamond finesse and played three more rounds of diamonds, tossing dummy’s two small spades. East ruffed the last diamond and played a spade.
Nograwowicz was now in a good position. He won his ace of spades, and certain that East had started with two spades, ruffed a spade low in dummy. He now led dummy’s last heart and East was couped. If he ruffed low, declarer would overruff with the nine, while if he ruffed with the ten, declarer would do the same with the club queen. He would then play his other high club and dummy’s ace and jack of trumps would score the game going tricks. Plus 550 for Team Porcupine.
At the other table, Pas did not bid 4♥ immediately and the opponents decided to double rather than bid 5♣. This proved to be a mistake, as Konejwicz quickly wrapped up ten tricks, losing only the ace of hearts and two spades. This was plus 590 for Team Porcupine and produced a 15 imp swing in their favor in a match they only won by 9 imps.
This test set up by the Great Shuffler had proven to be a doubled delight for Team Porcupine and also had once again justified Kowalski’s aggressive bidding when he knew his partner would be playing the hand.