The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part XXXIX: Poor Frank’s Choice
By Ray Adams
The cards were hot just the other day at the local duplicate club. Poor Frank and Lucky Archie were well in the lead when Poor Frank had to make a terrible choice on the following board:
Lucky Archie arrived in 4♥ on the auction shown and Poor Frank’s partner, Red Dyeman, led the ♣8. This went to dummy’s nine. Poor Frank’s ten, and declarer’s queen. Declarer then cashed his ace of clubs and crossed to dummy’s jack of hearts, revealing the horrible trump split. Next came a small diamond, Poor Frank rising with his ace and quickly exiting with his remaining diamond, declarer playing the queen. Red won the king, but paid no attention to his partner’s nine. Instead, he made the “safe” exit of a club, ruffed by Archie.
Declarer now cashed the ace, king, and queen of hearts, tossing dummy’s low spade on the queen. He advanced a diamond to dummy’s ten, forcing Poor Frank to make a fateful decision. He could ruff this diamond or the next one, but with only spades left, he would then have to lead into dummy’s tenace to allow declarer to come to ten tricks. If he failed to ruff and instead threw two spades, declarer would come to ten tricks consisting of five hearts, two clubs, two diamonds, and the ace of spades. Either way, Lucky Archie would make his ambitious game and win the laurels for that session.
“Did you think of leading a diamond or a spade when you won the king of diamonds?” Poor Frank asked his partner. “Either one would have led to Archie’s defeat.”
“No, I never did,” Red answered. This little tidbit of information undoubtedly influenced Poor Frank’s next important choice: Who would be his new partner for the next game?