The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part XIII: A Two-Edged Sword

The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part XIII: A Two-Edged Sword
By Ray Adams

Gadget bids are very useful in bridge, but sometimes they can backfire, as Poor Frank found out just the other night at the local bridge club.

Dealer: South                                     North                                           South     West     North     East
Vulnerable: NS                                ♠ 76                                                 1♠            2♠        Dbl.        3
                                                            ♥ A9753                                           4♠           5♦         5♠         Pass
                                                            AQJ                                               6♠              All pass.
                                                            ♣ K43
                                                West (Frank)   East
                                                ♠ A3                 ♠ 1095
                                                KQ1042      J86
                                                98742          K1053
                                                ♣ 10                ♣ Q65
                                                            South (Lucky Archie)
                                                            ♠ KQJ842
                                                            ♣ AJ9872


In the auction, Poor Frank’s 2♠ bid was Michael’s Cue, a gadget bid to show a 5-5 holding in hearts and an unnamed minor. North’s double was strength showing, and Lucky Archie quickly arrived in a small slam in spades.
Poor Frank led the 9, won by dummy’s ace. Declarer led a spade to his king and Poor Frank’s ace. West now exited with the K, won by dummy’s ace as Archie threw a club. Declarer then drew trumps in two more rounds. It was now clear that the slam would come home if declarer could bring in the club suit. The normal way to play a 6-3 fit would be to bang down the ace and king, expecting the queen to drop. However, Poor Frank’s bid and the fact that Frank had turned up with two spades had shown Archie that Frank surely held only a singleton club. So declarer led a club to the king, noting Poor Frank’s play of the ten, then led a low club, inserting the jack when East played the six. This held and Lucky Archie was soon writing +1430 on his score sheet for a top board that led to his winning that evening’s laurels.
Although Michael’s Cue had worked well for Poor Frank on other evenings, this particular time it had proven to be a two-edged sword and one edge had ended up cutting Poor Frank’s throat.

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