The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part XIX: Lucky Archie Falls AsleepBy Ray Adams firstname.lastname@example.org
Poor Frank and Lucky Archie were at it again just the other night at the local duplicate club. It all came down to the following hand;
Dealer: East North East South West North Vulnerable: EW ♠ 653 Pass 1♣ 1♥ 3♣ ♥A8 Pass 4NT Pass 5♦ ♦K72 Pass 6♣ All pass. ♣ KJ942 West East (Lucky Archie) ♠ KJ9 ♠ 1074 ♥ KQJ73 ♥ 9652 ♦ 9643 ♦J1085 ♣ 3 ♣ 105 South (Poor Frank) ♠ AQ82 ♥ 104 ♦ AQ ♣ AQ876
Poor Frank was playing with an inexperienced partner that evening and 4NT was standard Blackwood, with 5♦ showing one ace.
West led the ♥K, taken by dummy’s ace. Declarer came to the ♣A and cashed the ♦AQ. He drew the last trump with dummy’s king, then cashed the ♦K, tossing his losing heart. He ruffed dummy’s last heart and returned to dummy with a trump.
Poor Frank had played the hand extremely well up to this point. He had eliminated all the side suits and only had spades left to deal with. Poor Frank counted on his right hand opponent, Lucky Archie, to thoughtlessly play a low spade when he led one from dummy. Poor Frank would cover with the eight, and West would win, but would be endplayed and Poor Frank would be writing +920 on the scoresheet.
Indeed, Lucky Archie was unwittingly co-operating with his rival by paying no more than a modicum of attention to the proceedings. So it happened that when Poor Frank called for a small spade, the sleepy Lucky Archie simply played the nearest spade to his finger. It was the ten of spades!
Poor Frank was appalled. The sleepwalking Lucky Archie had somehow made the same play an Italian Grand Master would have. Declarer tried the queen, but West won the king and exited safely with the ♠J. The ♠9 later set the contract, allowing Lucky Archie and his partner to win that evening’s laurels.
When all the bridge players were filing out, complimenting the drowsy Lucky Archie on his brilliant defense, Poor Frank wondered if it might have been better to get his rival a cup of strong coffee before the key play.