The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part XLIX: The Best Fit
By Ray Adams
Poor Frank and Lucky Archie were at it again just the other night at the local duplicate club. This evening saw them playing in the same direction and they just happened to be in a dead tie going into the last board of the evening. Thus, the outcome would depend on how they handled the following cards:
When Poor Frank held the South cards, he had one of his best auctions ever to reach a wonderful 7♦ contract. West led the queen of spades, and declarer claimed thirteen tricks moments later. The auction was not quite as superb at Lucky Archie’s table.
The Lucky One chose to open 1♠ with his two suited hand. After North’s 2♣ response, he jump-shifted to 3♦. Only a funny thing happened to the 3♦ bid. It was hidden behind the 3♥ response that Lucky Archie actually put on the table. North immediately raised this bid to game. Lucky Archie thought the 4♥ bid was a splinter bid in support of diamonds and he now used Blackwood. 6♦ showed one ace and a void, although North would have been better advised not to have shown a void in partner’s first suit. Lucky Archie now bid the diamond grand slam and North corrected to 7♥. South reasoned that North must have a two suited hand in clubs and hearts. With his hearts outnumbering the clubs two to zero, he passed.
West led the queen of spades and Lucky Archie called the director, telling him his opponent had made a lead out of turn. After an argument that lasted a good five minutes, the other players finally convinced Archie that he was, indeed, the declarer. The Lucky One turned a ghostly shade of pale when the dummy was revealed and he saw he was playing in a 2-4 fit at the seven level.
He won the first trick with the ace, then cashed the ace and queen of trumps. He crossed to dummy with the king of diamonds and cashed the king of trumps, smiling happily when the jack dropped. He tossed a spade on this trick and another on the ten of trumps as he picked up the last lurker. Another small spade went on the ace of clubs and he then ran diamonds and the king of spades for all thirteen tricks. Scoring 2210 to Poor Frank’s 2140 meant that Lucky Archie had won that evening’s laurels.
After the game, as players congratulated Lucky Archie on his victory, he asked Poor Frank what his contract had been on this board. When he learned it was 7♦, he said, “Well, Frankie baby, it’s no wonder you don’t win when you can’t even find the best fit.”