The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part CXLIII: An Unlucky Double
By Ray Adams
Poor Frank felt like crying the other night after a hard session at the local duplicate club – even though he had won the event!
After Poor Frank responded 3NT to North’s 1♣ opener, North got excited and jumped to Blackwood. The pair was playing 3014 and Poor Frank thought he had bid 5♦, showing one ace or the king of clubs. But to North, 5♥ showed two aces without the queen of clubs. So it was easy to understand why North bid 7♣. Lucky Archie promptly doubled this.
Poor Frank had noticed his mistake and was horrified. He would give the Lucky One an undeserved top board due to his own carelessness and finish behind his rival one more time. He ground his teeth together, then came up with a plan. If he bid 7NT, West would be on lead and might not find the killing lead of the suit with the ace that Lucky Archie surely held. Poor Frank held his breath and put the 7NT card on the table. Naturally, Lucky Archie also doubled this and Poor Frank anxiously awaited West’s opening sally, with his heart beating much faster than normal.
Luckily for Poor Frank, West had a natural lead of the jack of diamonds. When this hit the table and Poor Frank saw the dummy, he realized he still had a chance. Surely Lucky Archie had the ace of hearts in his possession. If he also had four spades, there might be a squeeze on the hand. Poor Frank cashed the top three diamonds and began running the clubs. When dummy’s last club was about to be played, Lucky Archie had four spades to the jack and the ace of hearts left. Poor Frank, sitting behind him, had the king of hearts and four spades to the ace and king.
Sweat broke out on Lucky Archie’s face as he began to realize what was about to befall him. Finally, he let go a spade and Poor Frank tossed his heart king. Now the contract was made, Poor Frank’s six of spades taking the last, thirteenth trick.
“If only you had led a heart,” Lucky Archie said to his partner, showing him the ace of hearts,
“If only you hadn’t doubled 7♣,” West said. “Plus 100 would have been just as good as plus 200 and a lot better than minus 2490.”
Poor Frank smiled at his opponents’ comments, but he could barely hold back the tears when he discussed the evening’s hands later with Janet.
“Is is my fate to only beat Lucky Archie when I bid as badly as he does?” he said to his sweetheart.
“Wipe away your tears, darling,” she said. “You deserve to beat him and he surely deserves to lose to you. Just take it anyway you can get it. Oh, and give me a victory kiss.”