The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part CIV: A Lucky Archie Lead
By Ray Adams
When a bridge buff holds the king and two small cards in partner’s suit, it is normal to lead the smallest card. But Lucky Archie does not always do the normal thing.
Without giving the matter much thought, Lucky Archie spun the king of spades on the table to start the defense against Poor Frank’s heart game. Poor Frank greeted this card with much enthusiasm, even smiling broadly, as he won dummy’s ace.
Declarer led a low club from the table, but East stepped up with the ace and shot back a diamond, taken by Lucky Archie’s ace. The Lucky One then gave East a diamond ruff. East chose to exit with a trump. Poor Frank drew the rest of the trumps and looked sadly at North’s beautiful dummy. It was loaded with winners but there was absolutely no way to get there to toss the losing spade that still remained in Poor Frank’s hand.
Poor Frank ran his trumps for a while, hoping the opponents might toss all their spades, but it was a futile gesture and eventually he had to concede down one as East won a spade at the end.
“You know, you could have made it if you had just ruffed a spade in the dummy, Frank,” his partner said after the hand was over.
Poor Frank shook his head sadly. He realized his partner’s analysis was correct in a way, but he knew in his heart that it had not been his declarer play that was at fault. Rather, it had been Lucky Archie’s unusual lead. Poor Frank certainly did not consider Lucky Archie to be an outstanding player by any means, but sometimes he seemed to make plays that would make a world champion envious.