The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part LXXII: Poor Frank’s Turn to Smile
By Ray Adams
Lucky Archie was leading Poor Frank just the other night at the local duplicate club. But Poor Frank was close enough so that he might catch his rival if he bested him on the last board of the evening. These were the fateful cards:
Poor Frank reached 7NT on the bidding shown and Lucky Archie led the jack of spades. Poor Frank immediately saw that the mirrored distribution could cause him trouble. Only twelve top tricks were available and the club suit was the only possibility for a thirteenth. If this suit broke 3-2, there would be no problem, but any other split might lead to dusty defeat.
As Poor Frank contemplated this problem, he realized that even if he played all the other suits to count out the hand and found out that West had the long clubs, he still might go down. The problem would be that he would then lack the entries to come to hand and finesse West out of the high clubs He decided his best chance was to play for Lucky Archie – who just happened to be West – to make a mistake.
At trick two, Poor Frank led the ten of clubs. This was promptly covered by the jack and the queen as East showed out. Next came a diamond to the ten and the eight of clubs was advanced. Lucky Archie covered with the nine and dummy’s king won. Poor Frank then returned to his hand with the king of diamonds and led the three of clubs to the six after Archie played small. He soon scored up his grand slam for a top board and surged ahead of his rival to earn that evening’s laurels.
Ace Banghor practically jumped across the table after the hand was over.
“Archie, you dolt,” he yelled. “How could you cover that ten of clubs? He was never going to finesse you.”
“You can’t tell me you wouldn’t have covered the ten when you held the jack and the nine,” Archie said, defending himself.
“Only if I wanted to finish second instead of first,” was Ace’s reply.
So it was Poor Frank’s turn to smile that evening as the other bridge buffs congratulated him on his sterling victory.