The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part LXVII: Lucky Archie’s Surrounding Play
By Ray Adams
Poor Frank and Lucky Archie were at it again just the other night at the local bridge club. This turned out to be the fateful hand:
Poor Frank arrived in a good 4♥ contract and West led the eight of diamonds. Poor Frank won in dummy and saw that, besides the ace of trumps, he had three possible club losers. But the contract still looked promising as he might be able to toss one on a spade or diamond.
He won dummy’s queen of diamonds and started on spades, but when he tried to cash the king, Archie ruffed with the six of hearts, overruffed with the seven. Poor Frank now turned his attention to diamonds, but West trumped the third round with the ten, overtrumped by dummy’s queen.
There was nothing left for Frank to do but lead a trump to the ace and await developments. As can be seen from the hand diagram, Lucky Archie won the ace. As he pondered what to do, he realized that a diamond would give his rival a ruff and a sluff. So it had to be a club. But which club to lead? As Archie saw it, he had two choices: the ace or the nine. As he sat and thought, the jack of clubs fell from his hand.
Poor Frank felt doomed and his heart jumped a beat as he saw this card. He tried covering it, knowing that if he did not, the defenders would easily take three tricks in the suit. West won the king and returned a club, trapping dummy’s ten as Archie sat over it with the ace/nine tenace. This play set Poor Frank and allowed Lucky Archie to win that evening’s laurels.
“That was a great surrounding play, Archie,” Frank said to his rival.
“How did you know I just got a new sound system, Frank?” Archie said. “Well, as long as you’re standing right there, how would you like me to autograph your convention card?”