The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part LXIV: Lucky Archie and the Amazing Forcing Bid
By Ray Adams
Local bridge buffs were abuzz with talk of Lucky Archie’s amazing forcing bid. It all came about on the following hand:
The bidding began normally as South opened his five-card major and rebid the four-card major after Archie’s 2♣ response. Lucky Archie then pondered what to do next. He had no diamond stopper so a 3NT bid would be out of place. He lacked support for either major and rebidding clubs would not be forcing, yet he felt the pair must have a game.
Then he remembered a passage from the book he had just read, Be a Forceful Partner: 101 Ways to Keep Partner from Passing. He tried the fourth suit, diamonds, and waited to see what South would do. South also had no diamond stopper, and thus was reluctant to bid notrump. When this player chose to rebid his chunky heart suit, Archie promptly raised to game.
The defense took the first two diamond tricks and forced dummy to ruff with a third diamond. Unfortunately for Poor Frank and his partner, it was all over. Declarer cashed the ace of trumps, came to hand with the club queen, drew the rest of the trumps and ran the clubs for a total of 11 tricks. Poor Frank gritted his teeth and reached for the antacid. He was certain that this result was a complete bottom and he had lost that evening’s laurels.
There was still one hand to play, but it was a major game cold for exactly ten tricks that everyone would surely bid. Afterward, Frank gathered up his things, put his head down and headed for the door. He was so upset, he didn’t even bother to say goodnight to Janet. Nevertheless, she intercepted him in the parking lot.
“Frank, you idiot,” she said. “Don’t you know you won?”
“How could I?” he said. “Didn’t you see how Lucky Archie got me on board 14?”
“That’s just it, Frank,” she said. “Everyone else was in 3NT. Most Wests led a small diamond and South then claimed 12 tricks. Or some Wests led a spade. East took the ace, returned a spade and declarer also made plus 490. You got a top and buried Archie!”
Poor Frank wanted to kick himself for even thinking about leaving the studio without saying anything to Janet. She had made such a difference in his life.