The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part LXXXIV: Lucky Archie’s Lone King
By Ray Adams
Lucky Archie played the wrong card just the other night at the local duplicate club, but it seemed to be the right card to send Poor Frank down the road to defeat. This was the exciting hand:
When Poor Frank saw the dummy, he realized six diamonds would have been a better contract, but he still saw some hope if he could bring in the trump suit for no losers. West’s lead of the jack of spades put immediate pressure on declarer as it established a potential spade winner for the defenders.
Poor Frank won dummy’s ace and pondered his strategy. If Lucky Archie had the king of trumps and no more than two others with the ten or possibly king/ten doubleton, then he could make the contract and collect all the matchpoints.
At trick two, Frank led the eight of hearts from dummy, Lucky Archie playing the king. Poor Frank won his ace and thought about this play. He knew his rival was incapable of false carding, so the king had to be a singleton. At trick three, he led a small heart, inserting the nine, when West followed low. Lucky Archie tossed a club on the table, then looked at his hand.
“Wait a minute,” he said. “I just found a heart.”
He tossed the ten on the table. Poor Frank’s smile froze and he felt his heart jump as he saw this card. Lucky Archie then picked up the club and tried to cash the king of spades. But Poor Frank recovered from his shock and called the director.
Lucky Archie was told that his club was an exposed card and he had to lead it. This allowed Poor Frank to win in dummy, draw the last trump and toss his losing spades on the two top clubs and the long diamond. However, his triumph was short-lived. Making six hearts proved to be a below average board as many players had bid six and made seven on this hand. A few pairs had even bid and made seven diamonds.
Thus, Lucky Archie held on to win that evening’s laurels. As the other bridge buffs lined up to congratulate the Lucky One, Poor Frank heard his rival say, “At first I thought the king of hearts was a singleton, but then I realized what a good play it would be if I found the ten. And so I did. The rest, ladies and gentlemen, is history.”