The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part CV: Lucky Archie and the Immovable Object
By Ray Adams
Poor Frank and Lucky Archie were at it again the other night at the local duplicate club. That evening’s winner would be determined by whether the irresistible force of Poor Frank’s declarer play would be bested by the immovable object of Lucky Archie’s defense. This was the key hand:
West led the four of diamonds against Poor Frank’s 6NT contract. Poor Frank was saddened to see that duplication in the diamond suit gave him a mere two tricks there, although the auction had suggested this might be the case. When he thought the hand over, Poor Frank decided he could avoid the spade finesse if he could get three tricks out of the club suit. All he would need was for West to hold the king of clubs or the suit to split evenly.
Declarer put his plan into effect immediately after winning the opening lead with the king of diamonds. He then led a small club at trick two. This went to West’s nine and dummy’s jack. Lucky Archie desperately wanted to win this trick with the king so he could return partner’s opening diamond lead. Unfortunately for him, the five of clubs fell out of his hand and hit the table instead. Lucky Archie’s face turned as white as vanilla ice cream when he saw what he had done. Poor Frank was concentrating so hard, he failed to notice his rival’s anguish.
Declarer now returned to hand with the ace of clubs and led the four towards dummy, expecting West to play the king. Instead, West threw a diamond and Poor Frank’s spirits sank like a doomed ship as Lucky Archie took two club tricks to set a contract that could have made with two club tricks and the working spade finesse.
“Great play,” West said to his lucky partner.
Lucky Archie modestly accepted the praise by saying, “It was an obvious play for any bridge expert.”
Poor Frank gritted his teeth, wondering once again how he had let a player of limited ability beat him. But he immediately felt better when he reminded himself how lucky he now was to have Janet to
console him after the game.
Poor Frank and Lucky Archie would like to thank Ralph Jungwirth of Modesto, California, for finding this special hand for them to play.