The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part CXLIV: Jack Leeder’s Nice Pass
By Ray Adams
Three of the club’s top players – Poor Frank, Lucky Archie, and Jack Leeder – were tied going into the last board of the evening. Whoever won that board would win the event.
When Poor Frank played this hand, he was South and declared 3NT. West led the king of spades, won by dummy’s ace. Poor Frank now ran his diamonds, squeezing West. Since West had to hold onto four hearts, he threw two spades, and this allowed Poor Frank to lose only two spades and score five diamonds, one club, three hearts, and two spades. Making five on this hand looked to be either a top result or a tie for top so Poor Frank’s prospects of winning were excellent.
However, when Jack Leeder’s partner opened 1♦, Lucky Archie decided to make a “cheap” overcall of 1♠. Jack Leeder passed, hoping partner would re-open with a double, and when he did, Jack converted it to a penalty double.
Jack started with the ace and jack of diamonds, overtaken by South’s queen. South now played the king of diamonds, ruffed with the ten, as Jack tossed the nine of clubs. Next came the king of spades, won by Jack’s ace. Jack exited with his last club, won by South’s ace. South now switched to the king of hearts. Jack won the subsequent lead of a heart with the jack. He led a small heart and Lucky Archie tried ruffing with dummy’s six, but South overruffed with the seven.
Now South exited with the ten of diamonds, ruffed by the jack, as Jack threw a heart. Declarer tried a club, but Jack ruffed low, cashed his ace of hearts and exited with the nine of spades. Declarer won his queen, but had to concede the last trick to North’s eight.
Lucky Archie had won only three tricks and was down 800. This result put Lucky Archie completely out of the money and allowed Jack to slip by Poor Frank by a point and a half.
Later that evening, as Poor Frank was discussing the evening’s hands with Janet, he said, “Well, it felt great to beat Lucky Archie, but somehow he still managed to cause me to lose. He did so badly on the last board that Jack Leeder got a top and pulled just ahead of me. I don’t know what I need to do to win. The other players just won’t make those cheap overcalls against me.”
“Don’t worry, Frank,” Janet said fondly. “It’s because they fear your defense. Even if you don’t finish first, everyone knows you’re the top player in the club.”
“Well, I guess I don’t care about everyone else as long as you think so,” Poor Frank said. He reached over and squeezed Janet’s hand.