The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part XXV: Where Did That Setting Trick Go?
by Ray Adams
Most modern bridge players use weak two bids these days because it makes arriving at the best contract more difficult for the opponents. Usually, a weak two bid shows six trumps and 5 to 10 or possibly 6 to 11 points, depending on the partnership agreement. Lucky Archie, however, as is well known, has trouble following basic rules, as he proved once again on the following hand:
Dealer: South North South West North East Vulnerable; EW ♠ Q10 2♥ 2♠ 4♥ All pass. ♥ KJ6 ♦ AKQ75 ♣ A65 West (Red) East (Poor Frank) ♠ AK864 ♠ J52 ♥ A873 ♥ 4 ♦ 4 ♦ J1092 ♣ J72 ♣ K10983 South (Lucky Archie) ♠ 973 ♥ Q10952 ♦ 863 ♣ Q4
Yes, it’s not a misprint. Lucky Archie actually opened 2♥ with five hearts and 4 high card points. It’s easy to see why North propelled him into the 4♥ game. Had North’s spades been better, he might well have placed Archie in a slam.
No one in the club would accuse Red Dyeman, Frank’s partner that evening, of being the club’s best defender. Certainly, he was not up to his partner’s standards. Red cashed the ace and king of spades, then switched to his singleton diamond. Declarer won in dummy and started the trumps, leading dummy’s king. Red impatiently took his ace, but as readers can see, he would undoubtedly have set the contract had he held up until the third round. Then came a belated club shift, declarer winning dummy’s ace.
Poor Frank had a slight smile playing around his mouth. He remained with the high spade, the high club, and the diamond guard. It was clear that Lucky Archie was going down. But a funny thing happened to the setting trick. After drawing trumps in three more rounds, Lucky Archie cashed one more trump for “good luck” as he put it, sluffing a club from dummy.
Poor Frank had nothing he wanted to discard. He eventually threw the jack of spades, hoping his partner held the nine. But Lucky Archie produced this card on the next trick, throwing a diamond from dummy. Poor Frank once again had to toss a winner. He parted with the king of clubs, wishing that Red had the queen. Unfortunately, Lucky Archie played this card next and soon claimed this improbable game.
“Why Frankie baby,” Lucky Archie purred. “You shouldn’t have discarded the jack of spades or the king of clubs. Either one of those cards would have set me.”
Poor Frank said nothing, simply looking like a man who had just had the breath squeezed out of him.