The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part XCIX: Lucky Archie’s Unlucky Double
By Ray Adams
Poor Frank had both a good and bad evening the other night at the local duplicate club. This was the hand that caused him so much joy and angst:
After North opened one club, Poor Frank responded 3NT with his balanced 16 point hand. North now tried Blackwood and Poor Frank responded five diamonds to show one ace in their system. Or at least that’s what he thought he did. North got excited and bid seven clubs which Lucky Archie promptly doubled. Poor Frank now noticed that the bidding card on the table in front of him read “five hearts” showing two aces without the queen instead of the “five diamonds” he thought he had bid. He was horrified and realized Lucky Archie must have the missing ace. However, if he bid 7NT, Lucky Archie would not be on opening lead and West might not find the lead of the suit with the missing ace. So Poor Frank took a chance and hoped he could squeeze thirteen tricks out of the hand.
Indeed, West did not find the fatal heart lead, instead putting the jack of diamonds on the table. As Poor Frank studied the hand, he hoped the Lucky One had four spades and the ace of hearts. If so, he just might turn the tables on his rival.
Declarer cashed the top diamonds then ran the clubs. As he played the last one from dummy, Lucky Archie had to make a fateful choice: toss a spade from his four to the jack holding or discard the ace of hearts. The ace was out of the question, but perhaps Poor Frank did not have four spades and after all, the auction suggested that he did not. So the Lucky One tossed a spade, Poor Frank discarded his king of hearts and the six of spades took the thirteenth trick.
Lucky Archie showed his partner the ace of hearts and made a negative comment.
“Oh, really,” West said. “You were on lead against seven clubs. Down one was already a top or certainly close to it. Look where your greed got you.”
This little conversation was music to Poor Frank’s ears as was the congratulations of the other players in the club. But when everyone else had left, Poor Frank simply sat there with his head in his hands. Was it really his fate to beat Lucky Archie only when he made plays as boneheaded as those committed by his rival?