The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part XXXVIII: Intermediate Place Rocks Again
By Ray Adams
Intermediate Place, the favorite hangout of the tens, nines, and eights which earn their living as playing cards in the local duplicate club, was rocking again the other night. This time, the hero was the nine of spades who shone on the following hand:
As readers can see, Poor Frank was pitted against Lucky Archie on this hand and the result would go a long way towards determining that evening’s winner. Poor Frank reached a 5♥ contract on the auction shown and East/West chose to defend rather than taking the high level sacrifice at 6♣.
West led the queen of clubs, ruffed by Poor Frank with the jack. Declarer then led the eight of hearts to dummy’s king, picking up the sole outstanding trump. Declarer saw he had three possible losers and was not certain how to reduce this number to two. He stared at the dummy for a long time before proceeding.
It was rather hot in the studio that night, making Poor Frank feel uncomfortable. The nine of spades seemed to twinkle and Frank wondered if the heat was causing him to hallucinate. Nevertheless, he took notice of this card and formed a plan based on it.
He led another club, ruffing with the queen. Next came a diamond to the ace and another diamond, won by Lucky Archie. The Lucky One exited with a high diamond, ruffed by declarer. Poor Frank now crossed to dummy in trumps and advanced the nine of spades. The defense had no answer to this play. If East covered with the ten, Poor Frank would also cover and limit his spade losers to just the jack. If East failed to cover, Poor Frank would duck and West would be endplayed. Either way, the nine of spades had saved the day for Poor Frank!
This is why Intermediate Place was jumping later that night. The Nine of Hearts, who had so recently been the hero of another Poor Frank triumph, was buying drinks for the Nine of Spades and making many speeches complimenting his comrade-in-arms.
“It was nothing,” the Nine of Spades said modestly, “I simply did a little victory dance that made me shimmer and caused my Master to notice me.”
“Hear, hear,” all the tens, nines, and eights shouted.
Meanwhile, the mood was glum in the Royal Honors Club, where all the aces, kings, queens, and jacks wondered why the lowly intermediates were having so much more fun than they were.
Poor Frank and Nine of Spades would like to thank Ralph Jungwirth of Modesto, California, for introducing them to this remarkable hand.