The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part VIII: Poor Frank’s Nightmare
Poor Frank had a very bad dream the other night. Not surprisingly, it involved a bridge hand and his chief rival, Lucky Archie.
Dealer: South North South West North East Vulnerable: NS ♠ Q1093 1♣ 1♥ Dbl. 3♥ ♥ 976 3♠ Pass 4♠ All pass. ♦ QJ2 ♣ A104 West East (Poor Frank) ♠ 64 ♠ J52 ♥ AJ843 ♥ KQ105 ♦ 1098 ♦ K763 ♣ 852 ♣ K7 South (Lucky Archie) ♠ AK87 ♥ 2 ♦ A54 ♣ QJ963
North’s double was negative. West chose not to lead from the heart tenace or the hand might have had a different outcome, instead picking the ten of diamonds. This went to the queen, king, and ace.
Lucky Archie drew trumps in three rounds, ending in hand. He then advanced the queen of clubs, obviously intending to finesse. Poor Frank reasoned that his partner must hold the ace of hearts for his overcall, as South had already shown up with 14 points. And declarer must have no more than a heart singleton.
Poor Frank was certain that Lucky Archie would try the finesse again if he ducked his club king the first time. After all, anything else was beyond Archie’s limited bridge imagination. This would lock declarer on the board when Poor Frank took his king the next time. Now the defenders could force Archie to ruff with his last trump and eventually set him. Thus, Poor Frank played the ♣7 on declarer’s queen and smiled to himself as he patiently waited to strike like a deadly cobra.
Lucky Archie continued by leading the jack of clubs as expected, but when West followed with the five, he called for dummy’s ace, dropping Poor Frank’s king. He then proceeded to take twelve tricks for a top board.
When the hand was over, Lucky Archie asked Frank in his most condescending voice, “Why didn’t you take your king of clubs when you had the chance? Then I would only have made five for an average board.”
Poor Frank woke up in a cold sweat, knowing that not even in his dreams could he best Lucky Archie.
Oh Frank, a sacrifice of five hearts might have worked. If you bid it confidently, Lucky Archie might go to five spades, or maybe not double.
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Hi Dwight David, That 5H bid, even not vulnerable, looks pretty scary to me. And besides, don’t forget that this was a nightmare as I told Henry in my answer to his comment. As we fans of Poor Frank always hope, our hero would surely have prevailed in real life. By the way, D.D., I would have most likely voted for you had I been old enough, although I certainly would have considered voting for Adlai only because of your choice of VP, a tricky guy with a checkered future ahead of him. Best wishes, Ray Adams
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I don’t think D. D. is the Ike of “I Like Ike” fame. The General of the Army spelled his name “Eisenhower”. But, as I recall, he was indeed an avid bridge player.
In this adventure, Poor Frank gave a perfect example of what the phrase “too clever by half” means.
Hi Henry, True enough. Poor Frank was too clever for his own good on this hand. But don’t forget this was a nightmare. In real life, Lucky Archie would undoubtedly have repeated the finesse and gone down. At least that’s what fans of Poor Frank hope. Best wishes, Ray Adams
You are probably right, Ray (as you usually are). I would point out, however, that “real life” is sometimes indistinguishable from a nightmare.