The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part CXCI: Archie’s Knavery

The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part CXCI: Archie’s Knavery

By Ray Adams
frankandarchie@yahoo.com

Poor Frank was on the verge of making a tough slam just the other night at the local duplicate club when he ran into some knavery from his rival, Lucky Archie.

 

 

In the auction, 2♣ was artificial and forcing, 2 showed two controls (ace = 2, king = 1), and all other bids were natural. This was the last round of the evening, and Poor Frank knew if he made this slam that he would win that evening’s laurels.

Lucky Archie led the five of clubs, won by declarer in hand as East followed. Poor Frank studied the dummy and saw he needed a minor miracle to make this bold slam. One opponent had to hold ace/king third of spades and declarer needed three dummy entries, but he could only see two: the queen of clubs and the ace of hearts.

After some thought, Poor Frank hit upon a plan. He cashed another high trump, then led a small spade towards dummy. Lucky Archie rose smartly with the king and exited with his last trump, won with dummy’s queen. Lucky Archie’s nine dropped when Poor Frank ruffed a small spade.

Poor Frank now led his small heart towards dummy. His plan was to play Lucky Archie for the jack and finesse it by playing the ten. This would create his third entry if it worked. As readers can see, it would have, as the Lucky One was in possession the jack of hearts on this hand.

A funny thing happened to Poor Frank’s plan. Lucky Archie had not beaten Poor Frank all week and he was extremely nervous and had trouble holding onto this cards. When Poor Frank led the five of hearts, the jack dropped from Archie’s hand. Poor Frank was shattered. He had to win the ace, and even though he ruffed out Lucky Archie’s king of spades, there was no longer a way to get back to the good queen of spades. Poor Frank was down one and Lucky Archie was that evening’s victor.

“Partner, please forgive me,” Lucky Archie said to East after the hand was over. “I played the jack of hearts by mistake, although it didn’t matter. Poor Frank was always down one.”

Later, when Poor Frank discussed that evening’s hands with Janet, he said,, “How it hurts to get beat by someone who has no clue. An excellent player would have played that jack, but with Lucky Archie it can only be an accident. Sometimes I just can’t stand it.”

“Yes, I’m sorry, darling,” Janet said. “Things like that take away from the beauty of the game. Still you found a way to make a contract many players would have missed.”

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The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part CXXXIX: The Wrong Contract

 

 

The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part CXXXIX: The Wrong Contract

By Ray Adams

frankandarchie@yahoo.com

 

Poor Frank found himself in the wrong contract just the other night at the local duplicate club, and his arch rival, Lucky Archie, looked to be the one who would benefit from this indiscretion.

 

The bidding on this hand definitely needs explaining. Lucky Archie had lately been experimenting with opening 1NT while holding a five card major as recommended by a bridge book he was reading. Red Dyeman, Poor Frank’s partner thought he and Frank had agreed that a two diamond bid over an opposing 1NT showed a single major, while Poor Frank thought it showed both. Red was correct, as Frank had forgotten he had agreed to play it Red’s way, rather than how he played it with Janet and other partners. Thus, Poor Frank picked his three card spade suit over the two card heart suit. Red realized Poor Frank had erred, but passed and hoped for the best.

Lucky Archie, obviously trying for a ruff, cashed the ace of hearts and exited a heart. This ran to Poor Frank’s queen. Poor Frank feared he might go down two or even three for a cold bottom, but saw some possibilities and gave nothing away in his demeanor. He led a diamond at trick two to dummy’s ace, then ruffed a diamond. Next came the ace of clubs as he threw a heart from dummy. He then led a small club, ruffing it in dummy as Lucky Archie played the king. Poor Frank now ruffed another diamond in hand. He led a sneaky ten of clubs and Archie tossed his king of diamonds. Declarer discarded dummy’s queen of diamonds.

Poor Frank looked at the tricks spread out before him: he had won seven tricks in a row. Could he possibly make one more? He now tried the jack of clubs. Lucky Archie thought about this and ruffed with the seven of spades. Poor Frank overruffed with the eight and suddenly he had made this improbable contract!   He now tried ruffing a heart with his nine of spades, but Lucky Archie overruffed and the defense soon took the rest of the tricks.

East’s eyes almost popped out of his head when he saw Lucky Archie’s cards.

“You mean we had all top five spades and the ace of hearts and we couldn’t set this contract?   Archie, this is the lowest point of your bridge career.”

“Well, I thought Frank had the king and jack, not you,” Archie said.

“Even so, you could have overruffed the dummy on the last club,” East said in a whiny voice.

Although this hand made a good story to tell to Janet later on, the result was only slightly above average for Poor Frank, as many NS pairs had made a two heart contract. But Frank still had one more board to play against his rival to see who would emerge victorious that evening.

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The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part CXC:  A Gift for Poor Frank

The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part CXC:  A Gift for Poor Frank

     Poor Frank and Lucky Archie got into a bit of fireworks on the last hand of the evening.

By Ray Adams

frankandarchie@yahoo.com

     East had a tough decision to make at his last turn in this competitive auction.  Perhaps it was right to bid 5♣, although readers can see East probably would have lost two hearts and a trump.  East eventually decided to double, hoping to salvage something from this hand.

Poor Frank cashed the ace of spades, then shifted to a small heart that went to the queen, ten, and two.  East split his diamonds, playing the nine when the two was led from dummy.  Declarer won the ace as Poor Frank showed out.  Lucky Archie ruffed a club in dummy and led another diamond to the jack and king.  South now ruffed a club with dummy’s last trump.

Lucky Archie was always nervous when he played a doubled contract, so he now paused to let his heartbeat return to normal.  He saw he could not ruff a spade without allowing East to dink him in clubs and take over control of the trump suit.  He returned to hand with a heart to the ace.  The eight of diamonds went to East’s queen.  East cashed the ace of clubs and played the king of clubs.  But the Lucky One was able to ruff this and it now appeared as though he had all good tricks remaining.

Declarer’s last three cards were the king and four of hearts and the seven of diamonds.  Poor Frank had the king of spades and the eight and six of hearts.  Dummy held the queen and ten of spades, plus the jack of hearts.  East had the five of diamonds and the last two clubs.

When Archie led the seven of diamonds to pick up the last trump, Poor Frank had to throw a heart or the king of spades.  Clearly the king of spades couldn’t go, so he tossed a heart.  Dummy let go the ten of spades on this.  Archie knew he had not seen the high spade so he played the king of hearts, smothering dummy’s jack.  His last card was the four of hearts and somehow this was good and he had made his doubled contract and won that evening’s laurels.

“You shouldn’t have thrown that heart, Frank,” the Lucky One said.  “You could have set me.  That was a very bad discard.”

“Maybe you should buy me a book on discards for my next birthday, Archie,” Poor Frank said.  “That way you could face a higher level of competition and feel prouder of your victories.”

Later, Janet commented, “Well, you certainly won the battle of the wits, darling.  Although you always should when you go against that half wit.  He didn’t even realize he had you squeezed.  But if I were you, I would have a little talk with your partner.  If East hadn’t doubled, it’s highly unlikely that Archie could have ever played the trump suit the way he did.”

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The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part CLXXXVII: The Legend Grows

The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part CLXXXVII: The Legend Grows

By Ray Adams
frankandarchie@yahoo.com

Lucky Archie’s local legend continued to grow when he had the following fantastic result at the local duplicate.

The bidding requires some explanation. After North reversed into two spades, Lucky Archie should probably have bid some number of hearts to show his great support for partner’s opening bid suit. Instead, he bid three diamonds. Red Dyeman, his partner, later stated that he now thought Archie had a 6-5 hand in the minors and Red supported diamonds. Lucky Archie never explained his bids, but he must have forgotten Red’s opening bid. Perhaps he intended the five club bid to be a cuebid. Certainly, Red meant for his six club bid to be a cuebid, as he said after the hand was over.   Poor Frank now doubled, which asked for his partner to lead dummy’s first bid suit, or hearts. Lucky Archie passed, possibly figuring his partner would clarify the situation. Red then made an SOS redouble, but Lucky Archie took this to be the real thing and passed. So the Lucky One found himself in yet another improbable contract, as he played in his 4-0 fit rather than the partnership’s 6-4 fit!

West led the ten of diamonds, won by dummy’s ace. Lucky Archie led a spade to his ace and cashed his four top clubs, sluffing hearts from dummy and leaving West with the last trump. He returned to dummy with the king of diamonds and ran the spades. He came back to hand with the queen of diamonds and cashed the jack of diamonds. He now had twelve tricks lined up in front of him. West ruffed Poor Frank’s ace of hearts at trick thirteen, but the Lucky One had done it again.

“Why did you double, Frankie?” Lucky Archie asked Poor Frank as they agreed on the score.

“I just wanted my partner to lead a heart,” was the reply.

“My advice would be to never ask a partner to lead a suit he doesn’t have,” Archie said.

“Never ask a partner to lead a suit he doesn’t have,” Poor Frank said in a whiny voice, imitating Lucky Archie later that evening as he and Janet discussed the hands.

Janet laughed and said, “Well, you can’t say he gave you bad advice, darling. Although it doesn’t seem fair that you can’t call on the impossible to beat the improbable.”

“No,” Frank said, “it appears as though I need to call on the lucky to beat the ludicrous.”

 

 

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The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part CLXXXVIII: Poor Frank’s Brilliant Squeeze

The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part CLXXXVIII: Poor Frank’s Brilliant Squeeze

By Ray Adams
frankandarchie@yahoo.com

Poor Frank was sharp just the other night at the local duplicate club.

Poor Frank and his partner bid up to a shaky five club contract and West led the eight of clubs, won by declarer in hand. Poor Frank could see four possible losers: a spade, a diamond, and two hearts. He knew he had to play this hand very carefully or he would go down.

At trick two, he led a spade. West rose with the ace and one of Poor Frank’s losers disappeared. West was reluctant to break another suit for declarer and exited with a spade. Poor Frank ruffed this and crossed to a high trump. When Poor Frank led a small heart, East had no choice but to duck or give declarer his contract. Thus, South’s king won this trick. Poor Frank now drew the last trump with dummy’s last high honor. He then cashed the king of spades, tossing his penultimate heart, and ruffed dummy’s last spade as both opponents followed.

Poor Frank now cashed his last trump, tossing the nine of diamonds from the dummy. East had no good discard. If East threw a heart, Poor Frank would duck a heart and establish dummy’s queen as the eleventh trick. Instead, East let go a diamond. Poor Frank now cashed dummy’s king and overtook the ten with his ace. When East’s jack fell on this trick, Poor Frank’s eight of diamonds took the eleventh trick. Poor Frank had played this hand brilliantly and deserved to win this evening. However, several other players, including Lucky Archie had bid 3NT over their partner’s three club bid and this had led to ten tricks in the form of six clubs, two diamonds, one spade, and one heart. Thus, Poor Frank’s reward for his brilliance was a below-average board and a score that dropped him into third place.

“Well, darling,” Janet said to Frank as they discussed that evening’s boards later. “I admire your beautiful play of the hand, but never forget that in matchpoints, it’s the higher score that counts. So never bypass 3NT if that is an option.”

“Yes, sweetheart,” Poor Frank said. “I let my singleton spade talk me out of the 3NT contract and I shouldn’t have.”

“Never forget, darling, that your arch enemy, the Lucky One, won’t let anything – not even a void – keep him out of 3NT.”

“Yes, but if I start bidding like him, what’s the point of even playing?”

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The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part CLXXXVI: Beating the Split

                                                                                                                                                                                   

The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part CLXXXVI: Beating the Split

     By Ray Adams

frankandarchie@yahoo.com

fPoor Frank overcame a bad split against Lucky Archie the other night at the local duplicate club to bring home a very tough contract.

 

 

In the auction, North’s bid of 2 was Michael’s, showing the majors. When North bid 5♣, Lucky Archie slammed the double card down on the table in what was probably an unethical manner. Red Dyeman, his partner paused for a long time, clearly not wanting to defend five clubs doubled with his unusual 7-5 hand, but he finally passed, trusting Lucky Archie to know what he was doing.

Red led the queen of hearts to the king and ace. Poor Frank tried the king of clubs, revealing the bad split. Lucky Archie flashed him an evil grin and said, “Down, down, down, Frankie baby.   Down, down, down.”

Poor Frank next tried the king of diamonds, won by Archie’s ace. The Lucky One shot back a heart, ruffed by declarer. Poor Frank now crossed to the jack of diamonds, noticing Red was out, then led the eight of diamonds to his nine. He now cashed the queen of diamonds, tossing a spade from dummy. Next came the thirteenth diamond as dummy’s penultimate spade was discarded. Lucky Archie ruffed this and put the ten of spades on the table. Poor Frank won his ace, ruffed a spade in dummy with the jack. He then led a trump to his nine and claimed the last two tricks on a high cross ruff.

Red was not happy with this result, saying, “If you’re going to double them, Archie, make sure you set them. Five hearts is only down one.”

Poor Frank was happy to report this result to Janet later that evening when they discussed the boards.

“It was so nice to make Archie eat his words,” he said. “Down, down, down, indeed.”

“Well, I must say, darling, that was one of your better played hands. You used the distribution to your advantage and made Archie pay. Did you say, ‘Up, up, up’ after the hand was over?”

“No, I felt sorry for Archie after the way Red criticized him. I said, ‘Don’t let it get you down, Archie.’”

“Oh, darling, I think you’re as great a person as you are a player.”

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The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part CLXXXV: The Play is the Thing

 

The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part CLXXXV: The Play is the Thing

By Ray Adams
frankandarchie@yahoo.com

Poor Frank and Lucky Archie were neck and neck just the other night at the local duplicate club. Neither one found the best contract on the last hand of the evening. Nevertheless, whoever scored higher on it would waltz into first place.

The top auction occurred when Poor Frank held the South cards. Surely the pair should have arrived in 4♠ or even 3NT, both better contracts than 5♣, but Poor Frank bid his hand as though he had seven clubs and North assumed that to be the case when he put Frank in game in that suit. The only good thing that can be said about Poor Frank’s contract is that it appeared – at least on the surface – to be a better spot than Lucky Archie’s 4 effort in a 4-2 fit! But on this evening, the play was the thing.

Poor Frank won the queen of diamonds lead with the ace and led a spade to the jack. He returned to hand with the ace of hearts, cashed the king of hearts, and tried a spade to the queen. He then cashed the ace of spades, tossing a diamond. He threw his last diamond on the queen of hearts. When he led the jack of clubs, East ducked and Poor Frank won his king.

The six of clubs went to the eight and nine. Poor Frank ruffed the diamond return and led a trump.

When trumps split, he claimed eleven tricks. This was an amazing result, but he and Lucky Archie were so close in score, that if the Lucky One made 4 , he would win that evening.

Lucky Archie almost fainted when he discovered he was declarer in 4. He had mistakenly put the 2 card on the table instead of the one for 2♣. His partner had quickly raised him to game and this is why he found himself in such an offbeat contract. His play was similar to Poor Frank’s. He won the opening diamond lead and led a spade to the jack. He came to hand with the ace of hearts, cashed the king of hearts and repeated the spade finesse. He then drew the outstanding trumps with the queen and jack. Then Archie ran the spades to score ten tricks. When he led a club, East rose with the ace and the defenders took the last two tricks with diamonds.

Later that evening, when Poor Frank discussed the hands with Janet, he bemoaned his fate once again. On this particular evening, she was having none of it.

“You were lucky tonight, darling,” she said. “When you lead the jack of clubs, all East has to do is play the nine. Now West can win the eight at trick ten and exit with a heart. The defense will now score the ace and queen of clubs separately to set you.”

Poor Frank looked at his lovely friend with respect. Had she become a better bridge player than he was? If so, maybe she could help him devise a strategy to defeat his lucky rival.

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The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part CLXXXIV: Fear of Sleeping, Part II

The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part CLXXXIV: Fear of Sleeping, Part II

By Ray Adams
frankandarchie@yahoo.com

The night following Poor Frank’s traumatic dream in which Lucky Archie had squeezed him, Poor Frank drifted into dreamland once again.

Poor Frank arrived in six hearts via the same method as had Lucky Archie the previous evening. The dream Poor Frank recognized the bidding and the hand, especially after the opening lead of the king of diamonds was made and the dummy laid down. Except, there seemed to be something wrong. But what was it? Poor Frank studied his hand carefully and then he saw it. The ten of diamonds was gone. What could that mean? It looked ominous, but the dream Poor Frank went ahead and played the hand the best he could.

He won the ace of diamonds, drew one round of trumps with the ace, then played the ace of clubs. He tossed one of dummy’s diamonds and ruffed a club. When no king of clubs fell, he ran the trumps, just as the Lucky One had in the previous dream.

The dream West was put under pressure the way Poor Frank had been the night before. West feared an endplay, and in a desperate attempt to prevent this, threw all his high diamonds, coming down to the king and jack of spades, plus the four of diamonds. The dummy was down to the diamond six and the ace and five of spades. Lucky Archie had one spade, the king of clubs, and the nine of diamonds. Poor Frank held the eight of diamonds and the queen and ten of spades.

Poor Frank tried for the endplay, leading a diamond from dummy. But Lucky Archie was able to win the nine of diamonds and send a spade through Poor Frank, putting the contract one down. Once again Poor Frank woke up barely able to stifle a scream.

“As soon as I saw the nine of diamonds come out of Archie’s hand, I knew it was a dream,” he said to Janet the next day. “Archie would never have been clever enough to save that card.”

“Frank,darling,” she said, “have you ever thought that maybe your fear is that of sleeping alone?”

“Hmm,” he said, “you could be right. Then do you think there might be a cure?”

She smiled and him and squeezed his hand.

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The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part CLXXXIII: Fear of Sleeping, Part I

The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part CLXXXIII: Fear of Sleeping, Part I

By Ray Adams
frankandarchie@yahoo.com

Just the other night after a tough game at the local duplicate club, Poor Frank had an even tougher game in his dreams.

 

North transferred Lucky Archie to hearts after the Lucky One opened 1NT, and North then took a shot at six hearts. The contract appears to have two losers in the absence of a club lead, not a likely choice when the opening leader holds a KQJ sequence. Indeed, Poor Frank led the king of diamonds, taken by dummy’s ace. Lucky Archie then drew trumps with the ace, cashed the ace of clubs, tossing a diamond from dummy, and ruffed a club, hoping to see a doubleton king. This did not materialize, and Archie got bored with ruffing and ran his trumps.

The run of the hearts put severe pressure on Poor Frank, who had the key cards in spades and diamonds. When the last heart was played, he had come down to the queen of diamonds and the king and jack of spades. Dummy had the ace and five of spades and the six of diamonds. East was holding onto clubs, while Lucky Archie had the ten of diamonds and the queen and ten of spades.

The dream Lucky Archie looked puzzled and seemed unable to decide what to do. Finally he said,

“What the hell, partner, lead a diamond.”   This went to the ten and Poor Frank’s queen. But now, Poor Frank had to lead away from his king of spades and the contract had been made.

Lucky Archie was ecstatic and jumped up and down. “Thanks, Frankie baby,” he said, “I couldn’t have made it without you.”

Poor Frank woke up then, shaking and gasping in terror.

The next day, he told Janet about his dream. “At the very end, I knew it was a dream because Lucky Archie could never have pulled off such a neat squeeze. Nonetheless, it scared the hell out of me.”

“There, there,” Janet said, patting Poor Frank’s hand. “It’s over now and it never happened.”

“But it seemed so real. And now I think I’m developing a phobia. I’m afraid to go to sleep. I’m terrified Lucky Archie will do terrible things to me in my dreams.”

“But seriously, darling, surely there’s nothing to fear. Nothing he does in your dreams could be any worse than what happens every week at the club.”

“Perhaps you’re right, but I don’t know,” Poor Frank said in a gloomy voice.

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The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part CLXXXII: Wrong is Right

 

The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part CLXXXII: Wrong is Right

By Ray Adams
frankandarchie@yahoo.com

Can wrong be right? When Lucky Archie is in the equation, anything is possible.

 

Red Dyeman and Lucky Archie produced a nice bidding sequence to arrive at six diamonds – only they didn’t! At the last moment, when Lucky Archie thought he had put the six diamond bid on the table, he had actually put the six heart card down. Red assumed Archie knew what he was doing – after all Red had four good hearts of his own – and he passed. So six hearts became the final contract and Poor Frank led the king of spades.

Lucky Archie immediately called the director and explained that his left hand opponent had led out of turn. It took the other three players a good five minutes to convince Lucky Archie that he was playing six hearts and Red was the dummy. When this sank in, Lucky Archie immediately fainted. Luckily, the director had smelling salts for just such an occasion, and the Lucky One was soon revived.

The king of spades went to Archie’s ace and he immediately ruffed a small spade in dummy. Next came a heart to the ace and a heart back to the jack, finessing the queen. This held and the king of hearts was cashed, leaving Poor Frank’s queen as the only trump remaining. Lucky Archie now ran the diamonds, but Poor Frank ruffed in on the third round. Poor Frank had only clubs left and he exited with a sneaky nine of clubs. Lucky Archie had no choice but to let this run around to his queen. He now led a club to the good dummy and claimed. Of course, this was a top result for him and let him slide past Poor Frank into first place that evening.

Later, when Poor Frank was discussing the evening’s hands with Janet, he said, “How can wrong be right? And how come when it is right, I’m always the victim?”

“What’s interesting about this hand, darling, is that it’s cold for seven diamonds. All you have to do is take the heart finesse, ruff a heart and lead the queen of clubs to smother the singleton jack in the East hand. Now if someone had bid and made seven diamonds, would they have been wrong?”

“No, dearest, they would have been lucky overbidders. But what Archie did was just plain wrong. It goes against all the teachings of the great bridge gurus.”

“Well, darling, would it be wrong for you to come right over here?”

And that put Poor Frank back in a good mood.

 

 

 

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