The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part XXX: New Agony for Archie

Ace Babghir

The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part XXX:  New Agony for Archie

   By Ray Adams

frankandarchie@yahoo.com

     Poor Frank had beaten Lucky Archie quite badly during a recent run at the local duplicate club.  This led the Lucky One to seek help from his friend, Ace Banghor.

“You’re letting Poor Frank read you too easily,” Ace said.  “The trick is to discard without sitting there and agonizing.  Plan ahead.  Look like you have no care in the world.  That should solve your problems.  With the faces you normally make, Poor Frank always knows whether to go for the squeeze or take the finesse.”

Lucky Archie got the chance to follow Ace’s advice when the following hand came up during the club championship game:

 

Dealer:  South                                                 North                            South     West     North     East
Vulnerable:  EW                                              ♠ K953                          1♥           Pass       4♦          Pass
                                                                            KQ96                        4NT        Pass       5♠          Pass
                                                                            9                                5NT        Pass       6         Pass
                                                                           ♣ AK43                         7          All pass.
                                                            West (Archie)    East
                                                            ♠ Q72                ♠ 106
                                                            void               53
                                                            KQJ76            1085432
                                                            ♣ J9872             ♣ Q65
                                                                        South (Poor Frank)
                                                                        AJ84
                                                                        AJ108742
                                                                        A
                                                                        ♣ 10

 

In the auction, 4 was a Splinter bid, showing four card heart support, an opening hand or better, and a singleton diamond. 5♠ showed the ace of clubs, the king of hearts, and the queen of hearts.  The 6 bid showed two other kings.  Poor Frank assumed his partner held the king of clubs and the king of spades as he would not have splintered with the singleton king of diamonds.

Lucky Archie led the king of diamonds to declarer’s ace.  Poor Frank drew trumps in two rounds.  He then cashed the ace and king of clubs, tossing a spade on this trick.  He then ruffed a club as East played the queen and Lucky Archie threw a sneaky jack.  The look on Archie’s face might have been on a marble sculpture and gave absolutely nothing away.

Poor Frank then ran the trumps, hoping for a squeeze while keeping a close eye on Archie’s expression.  But his rival was following Ace’s advice and, for once in his bridge career, had looked ahead and foreseen the impending squeeze.  Thus, he threw a spade early, without agonizing or even twitching.

In the end game, dummy had two spades to the king and the four of clubs.  Poor Frank had saved the ♠ AJ8, while Lucky Archie remained with the ♠ Q7 and the nine of clubs.  Poor Frank led a spade to the king and returned a spade.  But instead of finessing, he played the ace to drop Lucky Archie’s bare queen.  The jack of spades was declarer’s thirteenth trick.

“How did you know, Frank?”  Lucky Archie wailed when the hand was over.  “I was certain I fooled you when I tossed a spade early with no show of emotion.”

“Your sneaky play of the jack of clubs gave you away.  I knew then you were guarding both suits and the squeeze was working.  The only thing you accomplished was keeping me from enjoying your agony.”

After hearing these words, Lucky Archie agonized in earnest.

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