Readers have recently complained to me that they don’t hear enough about Poor Frank’s friends, who are good bridge players in their own right. I always pay attention to my readers, so here is a story about one of Poor Frank’s bridge friends: Jack Leeder.
Jack Leeder is usually considered to be the understudy of Ace Banghor, who is one of the club’s senior players. Ace was recently giving Jack the following advice, “When you are learning bridge, Jack, it is important to learn how to finesse. But in order to become an expert player, you must learn when to disdain finesses.”
Jack slowly nodded his head at this sage advice when his thoughts were interrupted by Lucky Archie who had heard Ace’s words.
“Why I bet you can’t disdain any finesse that presents itself to you Jack, and I’m willing to bet good money on it.” Before long the two had agreed that Jack would win the bet only if he refused to take any finesses on the next hand he declared against Lucky Archie. That hand soon arrived.
Dealer: West North West North East South Vulnerable: None ♠ 63 1♣ 1♦ Pass 2♣ ♥ Q96 Pass 2♦ Pass 2♥ ♦ AK843 Pass 3♥ Pass 4♥ All pass. ♣ J93 West (L. Archie) East ♠ A109 ♠ QJ75 ♥ 10 ♥ J75 ♦ QJ109 ♦ 765 ♣ AQ764 ♣ 852 South (Jack Leeder) ♠ K842 ♥ AK8432 ♦ 2 ♣ K10
In the auction, 2♣ showed a good hand and 2♦ showed an average overcall. Lucky Archie started with the queen of diamonds, won by dummy’s ace. Jack remembered his bet and led a club to his king, disdaining the finesse. Lucky Archie won the ace and persisted with a diamond, ducked in dummy and ruffed in the closed hand. Declarer cashed his ace of trumps and exited with the ten of clubs. West won the queen, but discovered he had been endplayed. If he led a diamond, declarer would ruff to establish the suit, then draw trumps ending in dummy. Three spades would then disappear on the high club and top diamonds.
But if Lucky Archie led a club, dummy would win and the same thing would happen. If Archie led a spade, Jack’s king would be established and the game would also be made. Thus Jack soon claimed not only the contract, but also the bet. However, when Lucky Archie offered to throw in a drink at the local bar, Jack declined, fearful of spending the rest of the evening listening to Lucky Archie expound on his bridge exploits.