The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part CXXXIV: The Telltale Smirk
By Ray Adams
Poor Frank found himself in need of a little luck on the last board of the night just the other evening at the local duplicate. Unfortunately, his opponent was the one who normally had all the luck.
In the auction, 2♠ was a control bid, showing an ace and a king anywhere in the hand. Assuming the diamonds would run, Poor Frank could count 12 top tricks and who was to say that North did not hold the ace of hearts and the king of clubs, making 7NT laydown? Poor Frank immediately took a shot at the top matchpoint score for undoubled hands.
Lucky Archie led the two of diamonds, which went to the three, ten, and ace. Poor Frank now knew the diamonds would run, but he only had the twelve top tricks he had counted in the auction. Still, as he studied the dummy, he was very glad the Lucky One had not led a heart or he would still be staring at dummy’s hearts, trying to figure out what to do.
As he began to run diamonds, he looked at his rival out of the corner of his eye. There was a big smirk on Lucky Archie’s face. Hmm. Obviously he thought Poor Frank must be going down. That could only mean that he had both the missing kings and his partner had the wayward queen of hearts. But did that mean Poor Frank was due to be flushed down the drain of chronic overbidders? Not if Poor Frank could help it.
He then decided to play Lucky Archie for both missing kings and cashed the ace of spades and then ran the rest of the diamonds, leaving the dummy left with the ace and king of hearts, the queen of spades, and the ten of clubs. Poor Frank’s left hand rival still looked cocky, but if Poor Frank was right about the distribution, that was going to change very quickly.
He played his lone heart to the heart ace and cashed the heart king, tossing a small club. The Lucky One looked distressed, but finally let go of the club jack. Poor Frank was now certain he had the contract made. He led a club to his ace. Lucky Archie’s king fell on this and the queen of clubs was the thirteenth trick. Poor Frank had done it.
“What happened, Frank?” Archie said. “I thought I had you.”
“Just a little something I learned in Vienna, Archie,” Poor Frank said.
“But I thought you just got back from Norway.”
“Well, they play good bridge there, too, Archie,” Poor Frank said, a big smile lighting up his face.