The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part XI: Betrayed by a Smirk
Poor Frank and Lucky Archie were at it again the other night at the local bridge club. The race for first place was so close that it would not be decided until the last board of the night was played and scored. The kibitzers were three deep around the table where Poor Frank and Lucky Archie met head to head. This was the exciting hand:Dealer: South North South West North East Vulnerable: None ♠ AK7 1♦ 1♥ 2♥ Pass ♥764 3♦ Pass 4♦ Pass ♦ Q842 5♦ All pass. ♣ A93 West (Archie) East ♠ 95 ♠ Q10432 ♥ AQ1053 ♥ K982 ♦ J3 ♦ 5 ♣ Q1085 ♣ 762 South (Poor Frank) ♠ J86 ♥ J ♦ AK10876 ♣ KJ4
Lucky Archie led the ♠9 against the minor suit game. Declarer won dummy’s ace and played a heart to the jack and queen. West exited with another spade, taken by dummy’s king. Poor Frank ruffed a heart, returned to the dummy with a diamond to the queen and ruffed dummy’s remaining heart. He then drew the last trump. Declarer clearly had a spade loser to go with the heart he had already lost, so it appeared as though the fate of the contract depended on the club finesse. Or did it?
As Poor Frank carefully studied the dummy, trying to decide on his line of play, he noticed out of the corner of his eye that his rival, Lucky Archie, had the smuggest look on his face. Lucky Archie took such great pleasure in beating Poor Frank, that he surely must be smirking because he felt he would set this game contract. And what would make him think this? Could it be he had the protected queen of clubs? Poor Frank decided to act on this assumption.
He cashed dummy’s ♣A, then led a low club. When East played low, Poor Frank played the king. Archie looked surprised and not too happy when Poor Frank now exited with the ♣J. Archie won his queen, but had no choice but to give Frank a ruff and sluff and the contract.
“Good work, Frank,” North said.
Poor Frank briefly considered turning to his rival and giving him a big smirk, but soon rejected this thought. After all, he never wanted to lower himself to Lucky Archie’s level.