The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part CXXXIX: The Wrong Contract
By Ray Adams
Poor Frank found himself in the wrong contract just the other night at the local duplicate club, and his arch rival, Lucky Archie, looked to be the one who would benefit from this indiscretion.
The bidding on this hand definitely needs explaining. Lucky Archie had lately been experimenting with opening 1NT while holding a five card major as recommended by a bridge book he was reading. Red Dyeman, Poor Frank’s partner, thought he and Frank had agreed that a two diamond bid over an opposing 1NT showed a single major, while Poor Frank thought it showed both. Red was correct, as Frank had forgotten he had agreed to play it Red’s way, rather than how he played it with Janet and other partners. Thus, Poor Frank picked his three card spade suit over the two card heart suit. Red realized Poor Frank had erred, but passed rather than trying to correct and hoped for the best.
Lucky Archie, obviously trying for a ruff, cashed the ace of hearts and exited a heart. This ran to Poor Frank’s queen. Poor Frank feared he might go down two or even three for a cold bottom, but saw some possibilities and gave nothing away in his demeanor. He led a diamond at trick two to dummy’s ace, then ruffed a diamond. Next came the ace of clubs as he threw a heart from dummy. He then led a small club, ruffing it in dummy as Lucky Archie played the king. Poor Frank now ruffed another diamond in hand. He led a sneaky ten of clubs and Archie tossed his king of diamonds. Declarer discarded dummy’s queen of diamonds.
Poor Frank looked at the tricks spread out before him: he had won seven tricks in a row. Could he possibly make one more? He now tried the jack of clubs. Lucky Archie thought about this and ruffed with the seven of spades. Poor Frank overruffed with the eight and suddenly he had made this improbable contract! He now tried ruffing a heart with his nine of spades, but Lucky Archie overruffed and the defense soon took the rest of the tricks.
East’s eyes almost popped out of his head when he saw Lucky Archie’s cards.
“You mean we had all top five spades and the ace of hearts and we couldn’t set this contract? Archie, this is the lowest point of your bridge career.”
“Well, I thought Frank had the king and jack, not you,” Archie said.
“Even so, you could have overruffed the dummy on the last club,” East said in a whiny voice.
Although this hand made a good story to tell to Janet later on, the result was only slightly above average for Poor Frank, as many NS pairs had made a two heart contract. But Frank still had one more board to play against his rival to see who would emerge victorious that evening.