The Adventures of Team Porcupine, Part LX: A Crucial Discard
By Ray Adams
Discarding is truly one of the hardest parts of the game and many times a player must make a discard before that player is fully prepared for it. This would suggest that a bridge buff should always try to anticipate how the hand will develop and how one seemingly innocent discard might play a role in the triumph or defeat of a contract.
The auction was the same at both tables. Readers can see that with normal defense (two diamonds. a ruff, ace of clubs and a ruff), a four spade contract would most likely go down two. At any rate, both Easts decided to shoot it out and try to set declarer.
Against Nograwowicz, West cashed the ace and king of spades and continued with the queen. East now had to find a discard and at this table, threw a club, East’s long suit. Nograwowicz ruffed the spade lead, led a club to dummy’s ace and followed this up with the jack of diamonds. East declined to cover and Nograwicz inserted his queen which held. Declarer next led a small diamond, trumped in dummy. East rose with the ace on the subsequent trump lead and returned a club. Nograwowicz ruffed this, then ruffed another diamond in dummy, as East’s king dropped.
Declarer next cashed the king and queen of hearts, drawing the last two trumps. He then played the ace of diamonds dropping West’s ten, and his seven of diamonds was the tenth and game-going trick. This was a nifty plus 590 for Team Porcupine.
When Pas/Konejwicz were defending the same contract, Pas also cashed the ace and king of spades and continued with the queen. But on this trick, Konejwicz tossed a small diamond. This soon proved to be a winning discard. Declarer ruffed the spade and led a club to dummy’s ace. Konejwicz covered the lead of the jack of diamonds with his king as South won the ace. Next came a diamond ruff in dummy. Konejwicz captured the subsequent trump lead with his ace and declarer ruffed his club exit.
But now, when declarer tried to ruff another diamond in dummy, Konejwicz overruffed with the jack of trumps to set the contract. This was plus 100 for Team Porcupine and the combined scores represented a nice 12 imp pickup. This was an excellent reward for having the foresight to make a simple, but crucial discard.