The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part XCI: Poor Frank Gets Even
By Ray Adams
Lucky Archie had been getting the best of Poor Frank recently at the local duplicate club. But then a hand came up that gave Poor Frank a chance at revenge:
In the auction, Lucky Archie’s 2♥ bid showed five spades and five of a minor. North’s 5C bid represented three aces, the king of clubs being counted as one ace. Poor Frank must have decided to go for the jugular, otherwise his 7NT bid makes no sense as it seems 7♣ would have been a much more reasonable contract. Apparently Poor Frank reasoned that Archie’s bid would allow him to count the distribution of the hand and set up a possible squeeze. North surely must have considered pulling the bid to 8♣ or 8♥ when the Lucky One doubled, but was unable to since both those bids are illegal.
Lucky Archie led the king of diamonds. Poor Frank took his ace and cashed two high clubs. Since Lucky Archie had shown a 5-5 hand, Poor Frank knew he had only three cards in clubs and hearts. After he followed to two clubs, declarer played him for a singleton heart and led a small one to the ace. Lucky Archie followed and Poor Frank now led the jack, covered by the queen and won by the king. Poor Frank then returned to dummy with a high club and cashed dummy’s other two clubs, tossing a diamond on the last one.
Declarer next led the seven of hearts, playing the eight when East followed low. The ten dropped East’s nine and Poor Frank was ready to cash his last heart. At this point, Lucky Archie was down to the king and queen of spades and the queen of diamonds. Dummy had one small diamonds and the ace and nine of spades. Poor Frank had the last heart, the jack of spades and the ten of diamonds. Thus, the three of hearts squeezed Lucky Archie. He saw he could not toss a spade so he finally let go of his queen of diamonds.
Poor Frank soon claimed his doubled grand slam when his ten of diamonds took the twelfth trick and the ace of spades, the thirteenth. There was no doubt in any of the kibitzers’ minds that 7NT doubled and making was the top board of the night. And this was plenty to give Poor Frank the win that evening.
“Archie, you dolt,” East yelled across the table. “Had you but led a spade, you would have broken up the squeeze and set him.”
“But doesn’t king/queen/jack seem a better lead than king/queen/ten?” Archie asked in a whiny voice.
Poor Frank loved the sound of the bickering. It was like being at a concert with all his favorite artists represented.
Blogger’s note: Poor East was undoubtedly very upset that he had to write 7NT doubled and making in the negative side of his scorecard. However, his assertion that had Archie led the king of spades the contract would have failed is incorrect. Now Poor Frank would cash his tricks in a different order. After finding out Archie’s distribution in clubs and hearts, he would play hearts correctly and run them, leaving the three clubs in dummy plus the nine of spades and one small diamond. Then he cashes the top clubs. When he plays the last one, Poor Frank easily tosses a diamond. Lucky Archie has to choose between the king of spades and a diamond from king/queen. Once again the result is 7NT making. Lucky Archie, of course, did not see the error in East’s argument, although I am certain that most of my readers will do so. Best wishes, Ray Adams