Polish Club

Goren Bridge

Bob Jones

Dlr: South ♠ 3
Vul: N-S Q J 8 5
K Q 10 9 8 6
♣ Q 8
♠ A K 10 9 5 ♠ J 8 7 6
6 4 K 3 2
A J 4 3
♣ J 6 ♣ 10 9 74 3 2
♠Q 4 2
A 10 9 7
7 5 2
♣ A K 5
South West North East
1♣ 1♠ Dbl* 3♠
Pass Pass 4 Pass
4 All Pass

*Negative, values with no clear bid
Opening lead: ?

Today’s deal is from a match between teams from Poland and Canada. The Polish North-South pair were playing the Polish Club system, extremely popular in Poland. Many world championships have been won with this system, and parts of it are popular throughout Europe. The 1♣ opening has three possible meanings. Two of these are strong, but the most common hand, based on frequency, is 12-14 balanced. This means that 1♣ would be the opening bid with any balanced minimum, regardless of minor suit length. A hand with 4-3-4-2 distribution would be opened 1♣ if it had 12-14 points.

West in today’s deal was Canadian expert John Gowdy. While he was considering his opening lead, he took some time to review the opponents’ bidding system. He decided that South would probably have bid directly over the 3♠ bid with either of the strong possibilities of the 1♣ opening, so South was most likely to have 12-14 balanced. This meant that South had some diamond length.

Gowdy backed his judgment with his actions and led the A. He was delighted to see his partner discard on the first trick and he continued with the J as a suit-preference signal for spades. Spades was the higher ranking of the two remaining suits after eliminating the suit led and the trump suit. East ruffed and duly returned a spade to Gowdy’s king, and a second diamond ruff defeated the contract. Nice lead!