The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part XC: Working Hard for No Gain
By Ray Adams
Poor Frank and Lucky Archie were neck and neck in another fight for first place the other night at the local duplicate club. But the Lucky One was clinging onto a small lead going into the last board of the evening:
Poor Frank rapidly reached a 4♠ contract and Lucky Archie started with a small trump that ran to Poor Frank’s ten. Poor Frank shook his head. Somehow, his lucky rival had hit on the only lead to trouble him. Now it would be impossible to give up two hearts and ruff one in dummy. He decided he needed another plan.
At trick two he cashed the ace of clubs and led a low one, East winning the queen. East was quick to put his last spade on the table. Poor Frank followed with the two and Lucky Archie, without giving it much thought, played the seven, allowing dummy’s eight to win the trick.
Poor Frank ruffed a club high as East followed. He drew the last trump, leading his nine to dummy’s queen. He then ruffed dummy’s penultimate club with his last trump, establishing the jack on the board.
It was now easy to go to dummy’s queen of diamonds, cash the jack of clubs, then the ace and king of diamonds for ten tricks. Poor Frank had only lost two hearts and a club.
East was extremely upset with his partner.
“Archie you dolt,” he yelled across the table after the hand was over. “If you had been thinking, you would have played the jack of trumps when I led one. That would have creamed one of his dummy entries and he would have gone down.”
“I don’t get it,” Archie replied. “He was going to win the trick in dummy anyway.”
East mumbled something to himself as Archie only shook his head. If he said anything, it was lost in the congratulations of the other bridge buffs as they crowded around him praising him for his victory over Poor Frank.
Janet later told Poor Frank that every other East had overcalled the 2♠ bid with 3♥. This had led to all the other Wests starting with a heart. This turn of events had allowed the declarers to ruff a heart in dummy and easily make 4S.
“So you see, Frank,” she said. “you worked harder than anyone else for absolutely no gain.”
“The story of my bridge life,” he said, “it’s as though I’m caught in a hamster wheel, running and running my heart out and getting nowhere fast.”