The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part XVIII: Poor Frank’s Dangerous Finesse…By Ray Adams


The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part XVIII: Poor Frank’s Dangerous Finesse

By Ray Adams


Poor Frank had an interesting play problem just the other night at the local duplicate club. As usual, the outcome of the hand would determine that evening’s winner:

Dealer: South                                     North                                       South     West     North     East
Vulnerable: NS                                 ♠ 9                                             1♠            Pass     1NT          2
                                                             K9                                            3          4♥         5♦           Dbl.
                                                             K976                                        All pass.
                                                             ♣ J86542
                                                West (Archie)  East
                                                ♠ QJ5                ♠ AK76
                                                ♥ J10543         AQ876
                                               1084               ♦ 5
                                                ♣ 97                  ♣ K103
                                                            South (Poor Frank)
                                                            ♠ 108432
                                                            ♣ AQ


In the auction, North’s 1NT was forcing. Lucky Archie led theJ to the king, ace, and two. East cashed the ♠K, then tried theQ, ruffed by declarer with the deuce. Poor Frank could see that his only hope was to establish dummy’s clubs. But he appeared to lack the entries to do so.

Frank cashed the ace of diamonds, then led the three, playing dummy’s nine when Archie followed with the eight. When Poor Frank opened his eyes, he saw that the nine had held, East having sluffed a heart. Next came a small club to the queen. This also took the trick. He cashed the ♣A. and returned to dummy by overtaking his J with the king, drawing the last trump in the process. He then ruffed a club to establish the suit and returned to the good dummy by trumping a spade.

“What a strange and dangerous finesse, Frank,” Archie said to his rival. “You certainly didn’t need to finesse my ten of diamonds, did you? It was falling anyway.”

Poor Frank only smiled, but East had something to say.

“Archie you dolt,” his partner said. “If you had played your ten when Frank led a low diamond, he couldn’t have made this stupid contract.”

“But why would I play a ten instead of an eight when it wouldn’t even win the trick?”

East could only sputter at this point, while the kibitzers patted Poor Frank on the back and congratulated him.

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4 Responses to The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part XVIII: Poor Frank’s Dangerous Finesse…By Ray Adams

  1. thebighenry says:

    If Frank had roughed the heart Q with his diamond Q (instead of the deuce) his finess would have succeeded even if Archie rose with the ten, because he would have had the deuce to lead to the nine. It seems to me that Frank should have thought about establishing his clubs before he selected the diamond with which to rough the heart Q.


    • poorfrank says:

      You’re absolutely right, Henry. Poor Frank should have ruffed with a high diamond. But Poor Frank is, after all, human, and he did make a mistake. Because he made a mistake, Lucky Archie had a chance to set the contract had he been on the ball and as great a player as he often claims to be. Good eye, Henry. I’m sure you would not have made the same mistake as Poor Frank. Best wishes, Ray

      Liked by 1 person

      • thebighenry says:

        Thanx, Ray. But it’s a lot easier to find the correct play when you see all the hands.

        Also, it has been pointed out to me that I misspelled “ruffed” as “roughed” and “finesse” as “finess”. It is mildly embarassing, but I do have a mitigating excuse: I started reading and writing English when I was almost 8 years old. Hence, I have always been the first to be eliminated in any spelling bee (or is it “bea”?).

        Best, Henry


      • poorfrank says:

        Just bee cool, Henry.

        Liked by 1 person

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