The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part LXXVIII: Patience Pays Off
By Ray Adams
Many bridge buffs enjoy what could be called the “instant gratification” aspect of the game. This is the tendency to capture an honor immediately and thereby achieving “instant gratification” instead of waiting for the most opportune time to take the trick. Poor Frank recently showed he had the patience and discipline to avoid going for instant gratification when he defended the following hand:
In the auction, 2♥ was a transfer to spades. The normal contract in the club on this hand was 4♠, and the normal result was ten tricks for declarer. But Lucky Archie was going up against his rival, Poor Frank, and the outcome at this table was slightly different.
West led the four of clubs and this went to East’s queen and declarer’s ace. Lucky Archie now advanced the nine of spades. This was ducked all around. The Lucky One put another spade on the table and played the ten when West followed with the seven. Poor Frank won this with the king and immediately returned another trump. Dummy won this, but as a result of Poor Frank’s play, declarer was now out of trumps. Lucky Archie cashed the ace and king of diamonds and ruffed a diamond, but when he tried to return to hand with a heart, West won the ace and the defenders quickly cashed two club tricks to set the contract.
“Archie, you dolt,” North yelled at his partner. “You didn’t need the second finesse in spades to make the contract. You needed the last trump more. You should have played for a club ruff!”
“I thought I was on to something,” Archie replied. “How was I to know Frank would deceive me like that?”
North simply shook his head.
Poor Frank smiled inwardly, planning his strategy for telling this story to Janet later.
It later turned out that most Easts took the king of spades immediately, thus achieving instant gratification, but in doing so, allowing declarer to make 4♠.
When the winners were announced, it became clear that Poor Frank’s patience had paid off. The good result on this hand had moved him into first place.