The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part CXII: The Frankinator
By Ray Adams
Poor Frank and Lucky Archie were at it again the other night at the local duplicate club. Poor Frank stood to win that evening’s laurels if he could just bring in a very tough hand.
After an auction where North, who was 4-5 in the majors, used Gerber to determine that the pair had all the aces and kings, Poor Frank soon found himself in a heady 7NT contract. West made the neutral lead of the jack of hearts, giving declarer absolutely no help. Poor Frank studied the hand for such a long period of time that Lucky Archie complained, saying, “The rest of the players would like to find out the results and go home, Frank. Let’s get going.”
Since this was the last board of the night and it involved the club’s top two players, kibitzers were already two deep around the table. When the word was spread that Poor Frank was in a difficult 7NT contract, enough additional watchers arrived to make it five deep. The area around Poor Frank was so quiet that the scratching of a pen on a private scorecard ten tables away could be heard at his and Lucky Archie’s table. It was as though everyone were holding their breaths, waiting for Poor Frank’s first move.
After about ten minutes, Poor Frank decided he could never make the hand unless the diamond finesse worked. He called for a low heart from dummy, won the jack with his ace and advanced the queen of hearts, overtaking this card with dummy’s king. He now played a small diamond, inserting the jack when Lucky Archie followed low. When the jack won, the exhalation of Poor Frank’s breath had a similar effect to the blowing of a hurricane level wind, the area around him was otherwise so quiet.
Poor Frank now relaxed slightly as he carefully played to the next few tricks. He cashed the ace and then the king of clubs, arriving once again in dummy. Now he began to cash dummy’s hearts. Poor Frank had no trouble tossing two spades on the long hearts. Lucky Archie discarded a club and a spade. West knew he had to hold onto the queen of clubs and all three spades, so West got rid of two clubs and one diamond.
The following end position had now been reached:
Poor Frank led the six of diamonds, covered by the ten and won by the ace. West played the nine, feeling no pain as of yet. But when Poor Frank cashed the king of diamonds, West had to part with a spade or the queen of clubs. West threw a spade, but now Poor Frank had the rest of the tricks by leading the jack of spades to dummy’s ace and cashing the king of spades. The seven of spades was soon on the table as the thirteenth trick.
A roar of applause filled the room as it became apparent that Poor Frank had actually made this extremely difficult slam.
“How did you do that?” Lucky Archie said
“Frank, you are a squeeze master,” North said.“Let’s start calling Frank the Frankinator,” a newer kibitzer said.
But then the kibitzers started arguing.
“That was a beautiful double squeeze,” the top kibitzer said.
“No, it was a remarkable Vienna Coup,” the leader of the younger kibitzers said.
“You’re both wrong,” a kibitzer who was a member of neither group but who was trying to make a name for himself said. “It was the prettiest progressive squeeze I’ve ever seen.”
Within five minutes, the kibitzers had filled the area around Poor Frank with unabated shouting and shoving. It was so loud that Poor Frank even failed to hear his name when the director announced that he had won that evening.
Even though it should have been his moment of triumph, Poor Frank was so distraught that he sought the comfort of his friend Janet.
“I don’t care what anyone else calls you, Frank,” she said. “You’ll always be my hero.”