The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part CXXI: Concentration is the Key to Victory
By Ray Adams
Just the other night at the local duplicate club, Poor Frank suffered due to a lapse in concentration. But the lapse was not his, but rather Lucky Archie’s It all happened on this board:
When this board was played, Lucky Archie was so busy talking about the previous hand – which he had bid to an unlikely slam and made – that he failed to notice the ace of diamonds among the rest of his cards. This is why he passed in opening chair. When the bidding got back to him, he had discovered the errant ace, but the auction was too high for his comfort zone. Thus, Poor Frank wound up at four spades with no opposition bidding. West, having nothing to go on, chose the ten of hearts as the opening sally.
The ten went to dummy’s king and Lucky Archie’s ace. The Lucky One saw no future in continuing hearts and switched to the jack of clubs. This went to declarer’s king and West’s ace. West returned a club, forcing Poor Frank’s queen. Poor Frank now drew trumps in two rounds, ending in dummy. He led the jack of diamonds, Lucky Archie pouncing on this like a cat on a mouse. The Lucky One now cashed a club, defeating Poor Frank’s game contract.
It later turned out that every other declarer made four spades on this hand because East had opened one diamond. This led to a diamond lead on the part of West, establishing declarer’s king. This had allowed the other players to sluff one of dummy’s clubs on the king of diamonds and lose only three tricks altogether. Thus, as fate would have it, Lucky Archie won that evenings laurels, edging out Poor Frank by only a couple of points.
Later, when Poor Frank was discussing that day’s hands with Janet, he said, “Well, this game is impossible some times. Normally, you get a better result if you can distract your opponent. But in Lucky Archie’s case, you have to somehow manage to wake him up and get him to concentrate. Because if he knows what he’s doing, he’s the easiest player in the room to beat.”
“Your may be right, darling,” Janet said, “but there’s one thing about which you can always be certain: I will always be concentrating on you.”