The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part CXL: Lucky Archie’s Great Lead
By Ray Adams
Readers will recall that in his last outing against Lucky Archie, Poor Frank managedtosalvage an average board when he made 2S in his 3-3 fit rather than playing in the superior 6-2 heart fit. This result still left that evening’s winner in doubt, but that would soon be decided when the players picked up the last hand of the night.
Lucky Archie was poised to lead the ace of spades, but as he spread his hand, a card fell out and hit the table face up. It was the four of diamonds. Lucky Archie tried to grab this card, but he was too late, and the entire table could hear him say a mild curse word. Poor Frank smiled at his rival’s antics and began to play the hand.
The lead went to dummy’s three, East’s jack, and Poor Frank’s king. Declarer drew trumps in two rounds and started the clubs, cashing the king and ace, then conceding a club to the queen. East exited with a spade to Lucky Archie’s ace. With nothing better to do, Lucky Archie led the ten of diamonds. This pickled dummy’s queen and Poor Frank was quickly down one. This was a disastrous result for Poor Frank as every other declarer had made the game contract.
As the results were announced, a crowd gathered around Lucky Archie who quickly began pontificating on his opening lead.
“I knew drastic action was called for,” he said. “Everyone would lead a spade, but the question is: how would that lead to setting the contract? We needed tricks somewhere else. I looked to the diamond suit. Now, I concede that most players would not have thought of leading from three to the ten, but I know from my vast experience that the best players will always find the right leads – even if they’re highly unusual – when they need them.”
“And that’s when I had to leave the room and throw up,” Poor Frank said to Janet as he told her this story after the game was over. “I mean I saw that card accidentally fall from his hand.”
“Don’t worry about it, darling,” Janet said. “When you make a brilliant play or lead, it’s because you meant to play that particular card.”
Poor Frank sighed and shook his head.