The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part XV: Lucky Archie Finds the Right Stuff
By Ray Adams
It was another exciting evening at the local duplicate club. Lucky Archie was playing with a bridge professional from San Francisco and doing quite well. But if he wanted to finish first – and he did – he still had to beat Poor Frank on the last board of the evening.Dealer: South North South West North East Vulnerable: EW ♠ K9865 1♠ Pass 4♦ Pass ♥ QJ4 4♠ All pass. ♦3 ♣ K954 West (Archie) East (S.F. Pro) ♠ 73 ♠ 2 ♥ 95 ♥ K10872 ♦ K10742 ♦ A985 ♣ J762 ♣ AQ10 South (Poor Frank) ♠ AQJ104 ♥ A63 ♦ QJ6 ♣ 83
In the auction, 4♦ was a splinter bid showing an opening hand, four card support for spades, and shortness in diamonds. Lucky Archie led the ♥9 to dummy’s queen, East’s king and declarer’s ace. The kibitzers, three deep around the table, edged closer to see what Poor Frank would do next.
Most declarers had drawn trumps and led a diamond from dummy. When the Easts had risen with the ace, they had later ruffed out West’s king and discarded a heart from dummy on the ♦J. Thus, they all made 4♠, losing only one diamond and two clubs.
Poor Frank tried the same trick, crossing to dummy with a trump at trick two and then leading a diamond. The pro did not take the bait. He ducked and Lucky Archie topped Frank’s queen with the king.
As Poor Frank waited patiently for Lucky Archie to lead to the next trick, he made his plan. He would win the heart exit, draw the last trump, ruff a diamond in dummy, back to hand with a trump and ruff his last diamond in dummy. He would then throw East in the lead with a heart and the pro would have to concede the tenth trick with either a club return or a ruff and a sluff.
But when Poor Frank looked down at the table and saw that Lucky Archie had actually led the ♣2, his stomach did a flip flop. Now he could not prevent the loss of two clubs, one diamond, and a heart. Down one meant Lucky Archie had easily won that evening.
Poor Frank, gracious as always, complimented his rival on the club shift.
“It was nothing, Frankie baby,” Lucky Archie said. “When I saw my partner’s two of spades I knew he wanted a club.”
The kibitzers shook their heads in amusement, but still congratulated Lucky Archie on his outstanding thinking. As everyone filed out, Poor Frank sat all alone, holding his head in his hands until some kind soul told him it was time to go home.