The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part LXVI: Bridge Maxim Archie
By Ray Adams
The two rivals were at it again just the other night. This time Archie came to the table armed with a book of bridge maxims. The showdown came when Frank and Archie declared the following hand:
The auction was the same at both tables, with 3♥ being a limit raise in hearts. Lucky Archie had recently been studying a book called 1001 Bridge Maxims and that surely affected his play on this hand. At his table, West cashed the ace and king of clubs and exited with a club. Archie now looked to his book for inspiration and recalled the bridge rhyme “eight ever, nine never” as he banged down his king and ace of trumps. This left him with a trump loser when East failed to follow on the ace.
He once again turned to a bridge maxim as he recalled that “the queen always lies over the jack.” He therefore took the spade finesse into the East hand, thinking from the maxim that West must hold the queen. This failed and Archie was down one. The kibitzers left Archie’s table for the last round where Poor Frank would play this same board.
Against Frank, West also led the ace and king of clubs and continued with a club, ruffed by declarer. Frank then cashed the ace and king of diamonds, subsequently ruffing a diamond. He then laid down the king of trumps followed by a small one, inserting dummy’s jack when West played low. Frank knew that if this finesse lost, he would still make the contract as East would have to give him a ruff and a sluff or else pick up the spade suit for him. When the finesse actually worked, Frank was playing for an overtrick, which he made when he hooked East for the spade queen.
Lucky Archie was among the bridge buffs who came up to Poor Frank after the game to congratulate him on his sterling victory.
“If I were you, Archie,” Frank said. “I would burn that bridge book.”
“But, Frank,” Archie said. “it has such beautiful pictures in it.”