The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part XL: Triple Threat Archie
By Ray Adams
To no one’s
surprise, Poor Frank and Lucky Archie were fighting it out for first place just the other night at the local duplicate club. Poor Frank made a mistake on the penultimate board, but he still had a chance to win on the evening’s final hand:
The auction got quite competitive very quickly. North’s spade void led him to compete to the five level. Poor Frank was undoubtedly still smarting from his mistake on the previous board and this – coupled with his partner’s bid – surely influenced him to compete to 6♥ and try for a top. When West led the king of spades and dummy came down, he must have regretted his decision since he was missing two cashable aces.
Since no one had doubled, declarer surmised that the aces must be divided and he went about his business in a workman-like manner, giving nothing away with his expression. He ruffed the spade in dummy, then led a low diamond. Lucky Archie went up with the ace, and hardly suspecting that West had the ace of clubs, returned a diamond. Poor Frank won his king as West’s queen dropped.
Declarer ruffed a spade in dummy and led the nine of hearts. Lucky Archie played low and so did declarer. When this card held the trick, Poor Frank cashed the jack of diamonds, tossing his singleton club. He ruffed a club to hand, drew his rival’s last trump and claimed.
West was red in the face and absolutely furious.
“Archie, you dolt,” he yelled, “You had three chances to beat the contract: duck the first diamond, lead a club when you’re in, or cover the nine of hearts.”
“Well, if you had led the ace of clubs, none of this would have ever happened,” Archie replied, but even he must have been aware of how lame his defense sounded.
Poor Frank tried his best to hide his smile. He loved to see his opponents yelling at each other, especially when one of them was Lucky Archie.