The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part LVI: A Tale of Two Declarers
By Ray Adams
It was another exciting evening at the local duplicate. As usual, Poor Frank and Lucky Archie were fighting for first place laurels. The only difference was that on this night they were actually playing in the same direction. Thus, it all came down to which one would be the successful declarer on the following hand;
Both Poor Frank and Lucky Archie were seated South on this hand. North’s 2♦ bid showed zero or one control in Poor Frank’s auction, while it was merely waiting on the part of Lucky Archie’s partner. West led the jack of hearts, and Poor Frank won, then drew trumps in two rounds. He tested spades by leading a small spade towards dummy’s queen. West took the king and exited with a spade, won by declarer’s ace. Poor Frank then cashed the king of hearts, tossing a diamond from dummy. He crossed to dummy with the queen of spades and took the diamond finesse. When it failed, he was down one.
Lucky Archie won the heart lead in hand, drew trumps in two rounds, then cashed the king of hearts, sluffing a diamond from dummy. He then played the ace and a small spade. West won the king, but was endplayed. A diamond would go into declarer’s tenace and a heart would give Archie a ruff and a sluff. He soon scored up +920 and won first place that evening.
Poor Frank sought out Ace Banghor after the game to get this outstanding player’s opinion.
“Well, Frank,” Ace said, “your play was clearly inferior to Archie’s. You needed to find West with the king of spades and East with the king of diamonds. Lucky Archie only needed to find West with the king of spades.”
“I understand, Ace,” Poor Frank said, “but I think my play was a higher percentage. Lucky Archie had to find the king of spades doubleton.”
“Of course the king had to be doubleton,” Ace replied in his most sarcastic voice, giving Frank a look that suggested he was speaking to someone with a turnip brain. “Otherwise the endplay wouldn’t have worked.”