The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part XX: Quickly Changing Fortunes
By Ray Adams
Fortunes can change rather quickly at the bridge table. Just when it looks like you are going to come out on top, something unexpected can happen and the whole world turns upside down. Poor Frank knows this only too well, as the following hand demonstrates:
Dealer: East North East South West North Vulnerable: EW ♠ J752 1♣ 2♥ Pass 4♥ ♥ 1082 All pass. ♦ AQ763 ♣ 4 West East (Lucky Archie) ♠ Q983 ♠ AK6 ♥ J3 ♥ K4 ♦ J1054 ♦ 982 ♣ Q75 ♣ AKJ32 South (Poor Frank) ♠ 104 ♥ AQ9765 ♦ K ♣ 10986
The rest of the club had already finished their boards when Poor Frank and Lucky Archie began this one. A crowd of kibitzers gathered around the table.
“It always makes 4♥, but no one in the room bid it,” one observer whispered knowingly.
But North must have put a lot of weight on his singleton club and Poor Frank’s ability to stroke the dummy as he never hesitated when jumping to the game contract.
West led a small spade and Lucky Archie cashed his two top winners and continued the suit, with declarer ruffing. Poor Frank cashed the king of diamonds, then cunningly led the eight of clubs. West won with the queen and returned the queen of spades. Lucky Archie was searching for a small diamond to toss when the king of hearts fell from his hand onto the table. A shocked look appeared on the Lucky One’s face, although it was probably nothing compared to one on Poor Frank’s countenance.
Frank overruffed, of course, but West’s jack of hearts could no longer be prevented from taking a trick to set this beautiful contract.
When the hand was over, Lucky Archie leaned over the table and apologized to his partner, “I’m terribly sorry I ruffed your good trick,” he said. “The card just fell from my hand.”
When Lucky Archie and his partner were subsequently announced as that evening’s winners, Poor Frank sat at the table, looking like a prizefighter who had won the first 14 rounds only to be knocked out in the last minute of the fight.