The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part CX: An Unlikely Lead
By Ray Adams
Poor Frank and Lucky Archie were at it again just the other night at the local duplicate club. Lucky Archie’s fortunes rose and Poor Frank’s dropped when the former make an unlikely lead on the following hand:
Lucky Archie pondered his lead against Poor Frank’s spade game for at least 5 seconds, a very long time for him. He finally settled on the queen of diamonds, but just when he was on the verge of leading it, the king of spades fell out on his hand and face up on the table. The look on Archie’s face was priceless and two of the kibitzers had to be escorted away because they were laughing so hard.
Poor Frank won this lead with his ace and advanced the jack of hearts. Lucky Archie took his ace and played the jack of spades. Poor Frank smiled to himself as he played dummy’s queen. He had seldom seen such a soft defense. But suddenly, his world fell apart. East ruffed, cashed the ace and king of clubs and gave Archie a club ruff. Lucky Archie led another spade. East ruffed and Poor Frank was down three before he could catch his breath.
This result proved to be a zero for Poor Frank and allowed Lucky Archie to win that evening’s contest. The remaining kibitzers – much to Poor Frank’s disgust – now pontificated on how brilliant Archie’s lead had been. They pointed out that any card other than the king of spades would have led to Poor Frank making his game, losing only one club, one heart, and one spades. Even the lead of a small spade, they pointed out, would have allowed Poor Frank to come to ten tricks, losing in this case only two trumps and a club with a good spade guess.
“I know he meant to make another lead,” Poor Frank later said to Janet as they sat as far away from Lucky Archie as they could. But even so, the nauseous sound of the Lucky One’s voice reached them as he bragged incessantly about how he was the best player in the club. “I’m 100% positive he just got lucky and the wrong card fell from his hand.”
“Don’t worry, darling,” Janet said. “I know you’re the better player and never forget that you’re also my hero.”
Poor Frank smiled and immediately felt less like beating his head against the wall in frustration. But for the next five weeks, his dreams were haunted by ominous visions of the king of spades.