The Adventures of Team Porcupine, Part LXVI: Shades of Sonny
By Ray Adams
Alphonse (Sonny) Moyse, Jr. was such a strong advocate of 4-3 major suit fits that this type of contract was named a Moysian fit after him. In the modern bridge world, Porczouk Nograwowicz has perhaps become the master of playing in such a fit. This is due not only to his declarer skill, but also for the propensity of his partner, Stanislaus Kowalski, to raise his partner’s major suit response with only three card support, without even making an attempt to discover if Nograwowicz actually had more than four.
On this hand, Nograwowicz correctly used 5NT, the grand slam force, as opposed to the grand slam farce bid introduced by Kowalski in a previous match. Since Kowalski had two of the top three spade honors,he unhesitatingly bid the grand in spades. Readers should note that Nograwowicz’s two spade bid most likely only showed four spades. However, Kowalski wasted no time in raising him with three card support, leading to Nograwowicz once again playing in a Moysian fit at a very high level.
West led the three of diamonds, covered by the nine, ten, and won with declarer’s ace. Nograwowicz wondered why West had led a diamond, rather than the standard lead of a trump versus a grand slam. It certainly seemed to him that this lead must be a singleton and he had to be very careful in how he played the hand. If spades behaved in some fashion, he saw he had a chance if only the queen of hearts was tripleton.
He won the opening lead in hand, and played the ace and king of hearts, throwing a club from dummy. Next came a small heart, West following with the queen. Declarer ruffed this with the ace of spades. He then cashed the queen of spades, observing East’s eight. When he played dummy’s ten, East followed with the nine, so he overtook with the jack. The king and seven of spades then drew the last two lurkers. It now only remained for him to play the jack of hearts, dropping East’s ten, then claim with a high heart, the top two diamonds, and the ace of clubs.
Readers can see that if he had not been so observant of the trump suit, that he would have gone down trying to return to hand with a diamond. At the other table, the opponents bid and made 6NT, a very tricky contract that required the declarer to squeeze West and then end play this player to lead a club or heart for the twelfth trick. Still it was a nice 13 imp pickup for Team Porcupine.
Team captain Stari Pas later asked Kowalski why he had raised Nograwowicz with three card support rather than rebidding his six card club suit.
“Watching Nograwowicz play a 4-3 fit is one of my life’s greatest pleasures,” he replied.