The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part CXXV: Poor Frank Gets Even
By Ray Adams
Lucky Archie had been consistently beating Poor Frank recently and Frank was getting very tired of it. He was still smarting from a Lucky Archie victory when the following hand came up:
North chose to support Poor Frank’s spade bid with three card support rather than rebid 1NT and this made Poor Frank think he had a shot at a slam in spades. In the subsequent auction, 5♠ showed two aces and the queen of spades, while 6♦ showed one king. Poor Frank now bid the grand slam, hoping to put one over on his rival.
Lucky Archie led a trump, won by Poor Frank in hand. Declarer now cashed the ace and king of diamonds, then ruffed a diamond in dummy with the queen as East tossed a club. Poor Frank then drew trumps in four rounds, as his rival sluffed a diamond and a club.
Poor Frank saw that his only chance to make this slam was to find his left hand opponent with the queen of hearts. Even so, he would also need a squeeze to bring this one home. He cashed the ace and king of clubs, establishing a club winner for the defense, but also forcing Lucky Archie to make a discard. The Lucky one could not throw his queen of diamonds without establishing Frank’s jack, so he tossed a heart. Poor Frank now took the heart finesse, and when it worked, dummy’s eight of hearts became his thirteenth trick.
Somehow, Poor Frank had done it. He had made an impossible slam and gotten the better of his rival. Or had he? As it turned out, this board was a total zero for Lucky Archie, but his lead had been so big that he still finished first that evening to Poor Frank’s second.
Later, as he discussed the boards with Janet, Poor Frank said, “What do I have to do to beat that cretin?”
“Bridge is a funny game,” Janet said. “Sometimes you can play your heart out and still not win. But even when Archie wins, Frank, you always outplay him, so don’t worry about results.”
“Perhaps you’re right,” he said, “but when you’re the only one in the room to make a grand slam and everyone is congratulating someone who can barely follow suit, it really hurts.”
Janet raised Poor Frank’s hand to her lips and said, “Perhaps if I kiss your hand, it will make it better.” Poor Frank had to smile at that.