By Ray Adams
The struggle between Poor Frank and Lucky Archie was so close the other night that the winner of that evening’s game would depend on Lucky Archie’s opening lead on the following hand:
In the auction, North’s 2D was a Michael’s cuebid showing at least 5-5 in the majors. The rest of the auction was contentious – to say the least – as it usually is when Poor Frank and Lucky Archie are involved.
Lucky Archie’s first choice was the opening lead. He was reluctant to lead from his broken diamond holding, especially knowing his partner had supported him and therefore North might be void in diamonds. This is why he made the “safe” choice of the ace of clubs. However, as readers can see, dummy was void in clubs, not diamonds.
Poor Frank ruffed this and led a spade to his ace as East threw a club. Poor Frank barely paused for thought and advanced a sneaky jack of clubs. Lucky Archie took a long look at this then played low. Poor Frank sluffed dummy’s lone diamond on this and East followed low. Poor Frank now claimed the doubled slam on a crossruff, conceding one trick to his rival’s high trump.
East asked to see Lucky Archie’s cards, and when he did, yelled at his partner.
“Archie, you dolt,” he said. “Can’t you see that you needed to cover that jack of clubs. Then declarer can’t make it. He has to ruff in dummy and can’t get back to his hand. You’ll win the next trick and cash a diamond and set this unmakeable monstrosity.”
“Such a pretty monstrosity as I’ve ever seen,” Poor Frank said later to Janet when they discussed that evening’s hands after the game.
“Yes,” she said. “It was a monstrosity in one way, though, you’ll have to admit. It was the most monstrous top you ever got off Lucky Archie.”
They both had a good laugh over that one.