The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part LVIII: An Excellent Lead
By Ray Adams
Just the other night at the local duplicate club, Lucky Archie made an excellent lead that sank Poor Frank’s high percentage slam. It all happened on the following hand:
North took a preference to clubs after Poor Frank showed his beautiful 6-5 hand and our hero landed in a nice 6♣ contract. Lucky Archie thought he should lead a spade, but was uncertain which to pick. He remembered that thirteen years previously he had read a book on opening leads. He scratched his head trying to recall what the book had advised.
“Oh, yeah,” he said to himself, “top of an interior sequence. That would be jack from AJ10.”
The jack of spades was soon on the table. This went to the five, king, and a ruff by declarer.
Poor Frank realized he needed to establish hearts, his second suit, if he intended to make this slam. At trick two, he led the king of hearts to Lucky Archie’s ace. The Lucky One now laid down the ace of spades, causing the demise of Poor Frank’s slam. If Poor Frank declined to ruff he would fail immediately, while if he did ruff, East would have one more trump than he did. Either way, six clubs was going down.
The result on this hand propelled Lucky Archie into that evening’s winner’s circle and most of the players came up to congratulate him on his victory.
“That was an uncanny lead, Archie,” Poor Frank said to his rival. “The ace of spades or the lead of any other suit allows me to make the slam easily.”
“Well, luckily I have a good memory,” Archie said. “A book I read said to always lead the top of an interior sequence. And you can see how well it worked.”
“Yes, I certainly can,” Poor Frank said, as his stomach turned queasy and his blood pressure rose. He had to wonder how he could ever be beaten by an idiot who made a notrump style opening lead against a suit contract. Probably the next time he declared a notrump contract, Lucky Archie would advance the ace from a similar holding and that would be the killing lead. He reached into his shirt pocket, hoping he had not forgotten his antacid pills.