The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part LXXXVIII: Lucky Archie’s Great Switch
By Ray Adams
The cards were running hot the other night at the local duplicate club. As usual, Poor Frank and Lucky Archie were leading the field. The evening’s laurels would go to the one who came out ahead on the following board:
Poor Frank felt he needed a good result on this board to win. This explains why he opened the South hand 4NT to ask for North’s aces. According to partnership agreement, 5♦ showed one ace and Poor Frank promptly bid the small slam in spades.
Lucky Archie led the ace of diamonds. East played the queen on this, indicating possession of the jack. However, since East had not entered the auction, Lucky Archie could not believe that his partner had seven diamonds in his hand. He also knew from looking at his own hand that clubs would never set up for declarer. And his king of hearts was in the right position to take the setting trick.
Archie’s brilliant reasoning made him decide to lead a trump to take away dummy’s ruffing power. He put a black card in his hand and held it poised over the table.
He looked at Poor Frank and laughed. “This should fix you, Frankie baby,” he said. The card fell out of his hand and onto the table.
Lucky Archie’s laugh suddenly turned into a choke when he saw that the exposed card was not the ten of spades, but rather the ten of clubs. He slowly began to turn green. Poor Frank smiled and won the ace of clubs. But when he tried to cash the king of clubs, East ruffed. Poor Frank overruffed and ran the remaining trumps, but Lucky Archie was under no pressure to hold onto his king of diamonds since East had shown the jack. And so, Poor Frank eventually had to lose the king of hearts for down one.
“I’m sorry, partner,” Lucky Archie said. “I meant to switch to the ten of spades. We could have set him one more.”
Poor Frank cursed to himself as he heard these words. If Lucky Archie had led the card he intended, Poor Frank would have shimmied home with his 6♠ contract and finished first. Why did fate always have to intervene when he had Archie bested? He sat alone and shaking at the table until Janet came over and tried to comfort him.