The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part CI: Poor Frank’s Brilliancy
By Ray Adams
Poor Frank played a hand exceptionally well the other night at the local duplicate club. He found himself in what appeared to be an impossible contract on the following cards:
North’s last bid only makes sense if North thought Poor Frank had more than five spades. However, Frank’s spades were definitely good and he felt his prospects were excellent when Lucky Archie led the queen of diamonds. This went to East’s ace and the diamond return was taken by declarer’s king.
Poor Frank led a trump to the ace and a heart back to his queen, which was allowed to win. He now banged down the king of trumps, dropping East’s queen. The jack drew Lucky Archie’s five and the nine forced out the ten. Lucky Archie exited with a club, taken in dummy.
Poor Frank could see the contract was cold if only he could get to his hand and draw West’s last trump. He tried a heart to his jack, but Lucky Archie won his ace and got out with another heart to dummy’s king. Poor Frank was now locked in the dummy and the contract appeared hopeless.
Poor Frank considered everything and finally realized that if Lucky Archie had started with five spades, three hearts, two diamonds, and three clubs, which looked probable, there was a way. Poor Frank simply cashed two more club tricks, then ruffed dummy’s last diamond with his eight. Lucky Archie had to underruff with his seven. Four spades bid and made!
“What a brilliant play, Frank,” his partner said.
“Well, I almost doubled,” Archie said. “Now I’m glad I didn’t.”
And Lucky Archie should have been glad, for if he had doubled, Poor Frank would have gotten a top board and beaten him that evening. But, as it was, all the other North/South pairs had played 3NT, making four or five. Thus, Poor Frank’s brilliancy had only ended up gaining him an absolute zero on this board and allowed Lucky Archie to come in first.
As all the other bridge buffs gathered around Lucky Archie to congratulate him, Poor Frank sat in a corner with his face in his hands. But a smile crossed his face when Janet sat next to him and whispered, “Well, at least I know who’s the best player in the club.”