The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part CII: Archie’s Unbearable Difficulty with Math


The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part CII:  Archie’s Unbearable Difficulty with Math

By Ray Adams

Lucky Archie knew he needed a good board on the last round to beat Poor Frank for that evening’s laurels.  He could hardly believe his luck when an opportunity came his way.  Unfortunately, his math was not exactly perfect.  This was the board in question:


In the auction, Poor Frank was playing 15-16 point notrump openers with this particular partner and therefore opened 1♣.  When Lucky Archie heard the 5♣ bid, he could not get his double card down on the table fast enough.  He knew he had Poor Frank and a broad smile played on his face as he awaited his partner’s opening lead.

The ten of spades went to Poor Frank’s ace.  Poor Frank realized Lucky Archie must have a trump stack or else his double made little sense and he played the hand accordingly.  He cashed the king of spades at trick two and led a club, inserting dummy’s eight when West played low.  Lucky Archie won his ten and shot back the jack of diamonds.  Poor Frank won in dummy and cashed the queen of spades, tossing a heart.  When he played the jack of spades, Lucky Archie had to follow and Poor Frank pitched another heart.

Declarer then led a heart to his ace, cashed the king of diamonds and ruffed a diamond in dummy.  When Poor Frank now led a heart, Lucky Archie won his king but was trapped.  The club spots were such that he could not get another trick in the suit no matter which one he led.  Five clubs doubled and made allowed Poor Frank to get a top board and win that evening’s honors.

“Archie you dolt!”  West said to his partner after the hand was over.  “Just play the king of hearts when he leads the first heart and he always goes down.”

“But I had three tricks, partner,” Archie said in a whiny voice.

“No, you only had two. But if you had let me take one, you would have had two plus my one.”

This mathematical reasoning was way too advanced for a perplexed Archie, but Poor Frank seemed to understand it.  At least his broad grin suggested that he did.

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