The Adventures of Poor Frank’s Friends, Part II: Dummy’s Most Important Card
By Ray Adams
Ace Banghor and Jack Leeder, two of Poor Frank’s friends, met at a local coffee house the other day to discuss bridge. Ace diagrammed a bridge hand on a paper napkin, then folded it so that only the North hand could be seen.
“Take a good look at that dummy,” Ace said to Jack, “and tell me what the most important card in it would be.”
Jack carefully studied the hand (readers may look at the same hand in the diagram below) and said, “Well, the ace of hearts is certainly important. But the ace and king of spades look very respectable also.”
Ace then showed Jack the South hand and asked him if he would change his answer. Jack said he would not. “But what if the bidding was 1♥ by South, 3♣ by West, and 4♥ by North. West leads the king of clubs. Is your answer still the same?”
Jack shook his head and said, “Those cards still look the most important to me.” Ace only smiled.
This was the hand:
Dealer: South North South West North East Vulnerable: None ♠ AK3 1♥ 3♣ 4♥ All pass. ♥ A652 ♦ 8542 ♣ 106 West East ♠ J82 ♠ Q10975 ♥ 73 ♥ 108 ♦ J ♦ KQ109 ♣ KQJ8753 ♣ 94 South ♠ 64 ♥ KQJ94 ♦ A763 ♣ A2
Ace asked Jack how he would play the hand.
“I win the ace of clubs and draw trumps. How do they fall?”
“Two, two,” Ace said.
“Then I play the ace and king of spades and ruff a spade. Do both opponents follow?”
Ace said they did.
Jack now saw what Ace was getting at. “Ah, ha,” he said. “West started with three spades, two hearts, and probably seven clubs. That only leaves him one diamond. So I must play the ace of diamonds and then throw West in with dummy’s most important card: the ten of clubs. Because if dummy only had a small club, West could duck and let East win to cash three diamonds. But since West has to win, then West has to give me a ruff and a sluff and now I only lose three tricks. If West ducks the ten of clubs and avoids the ruff and sluff, I still only lose three tricks.”
Ace smiled at his fiend and said, “That’s right, Jack. Anyone can use an ace or a king, but when you start to take advantage of tens and nines, you’re on the way to understanding this game.”