The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part XVII: Lucky Archie Transfers the Agony
Just the other night at the local duplicate club, Poor Frank had a slight lead over Lucky Archie going into the last board. All he needed to win it all was an average result on these cards:Dealer: South North South West North East Vulnerable: None ♠ 1053 3NT Pass 6NT Pass ♥ 64 7NT All pass. ♦ KQJ4 ♣ Q963 West (Poor Frank) East ♠ 9764 ♠ 82 ♥ J1098 ♥ 752 ♦ 982 ♦ 1073 ♣ J10 ♣ K7542 South (Lucky Archie) ♠ AKQJ ♥AKQ3 ♦ A65 ♣ A8
Most Souths were happy to pass their partner’s 6NT bid and claim a nifty +990, but not Lucky Archie. He felt he needed more than just an average on the last hand of the night and bid one for the road. Poor Frank led the ♥J and Archie had a glum look on his face when he saw he had only twelve tricks and little chance for a thirteenth.
Declarer ran off four spades, sluffing a club from dummy. Next came a diamond to dummy’s king. Lucky Archie had reached the point of no return and he led the ♣Q in a desperate attempt at a finesse. But when East naturally covered, his hopes dissolved into nothingness. He barely noticed Poor Frank’s ten dropping on this trick.
Declarer cashed the ace of diamonds, then led to dummy’s queen. When he advanced the DJ, Poor Frank was finished. It was impossible for him to hold both the heart guard and the top club. Poor Frank eventually threw a heart and Lucky Archie’s ♥3 took the thirteenth trick, allowing him to claim both the contract and victory.
“I would think you would have known better, Frankie baby,” Archie said in his most condescending voice, “but if you hadn’t thrown that heart, I wouldn’t have made it.”
Poor Frank hid his face in his hands.
“It’s O.K., Frank,” Archie said. “I’m sure you’ll discard better next time.”
Poor Frank looked at his opponent in disbelief. Could it really be that Lucky Archie had absolutely no idea that he had just pulled off a stunning transfer squeeze combined with a Vienna Coup to make this impossible contract? Once again his rival had truly transferred the agony to Poor Frank.