Poor Frank, Part LXXVI: Poor Frank Strikes Back
By Ray Adams
Poor Frank used his knowledge of Lucky Archie to strike back at his rival just the other night at the local duplicate club when he made a brilliant deduction while playing the following difficult hand;
North cheated by a point on his 2♦ opening which supposedly showed a three-suited hand with 11-15 HCP. 2NT was forcing to game, while 3♠ showed a club singleton. The 5♦ response was straight Blackwood, showing one ace, since no suit had been agreed on. West led the king of spades and Poor Frank ducked this, hoping to induce West to continue the suit and make life easier for him. But West had seen Lucky Archie’s four and switched to the queen of clubs, won by declarer’s ace. Poor Frank now ruffed a club in dummy.
When he led the queen of diamonds, Lucky Archie immediately covered and this surprised Poor Frank as the Lucky One almost always hesitated before making a play. Poor Frank thought this was especially suspicious as good technique would require a defender to not cover touching honors until the last one had been played. Therefore, Poor Frank deduced that Lucky Archie either had a singleton king of diamonds or possibly a doubleton. But the speed with which he played convinced Frank that the king must be stiff.
Declarer ruffed another club in dummy with the ace of hearts. He then cashed the king of trumps and led dummy’s last trump to his queen. He drew all the rest of Archie’s trumps and then made the key play of the hand. He led his last diamond and inserted dummy’s eight when West played low. This held the trick as Archie tossed a club. Poor Frank soon claimed this vulnerable slam with four high trumps, two ruffs, four diamonds and the two black aces.
Lucky Archie shook his head. “You were very lucky, Frank,” he said. “If I had held the nine of diamonds you would have gone down a bunch.”
Poor Frank only smiled. There was no luck at all involved here, only a knowledge of bridge and his rival’s habits.