The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part CXLV: A Knave in Passing
By Ray Adams
Poor Frank and Lucky Archie were neck and neck the other night at the local duplicate club as they fought it out for first place laurels. The final result would depend on the last board of the evening, a hand which turned rather contentious very quickly.
After West opened 1♣ and Lucky Archie responded 1NT, the auction looked like it would die right there, but North decided to reopen with a double holding 3-4 in the majors. Of course, Poor Frank responded in his only long suit – diamonds – which unfortunately was North’s short suit. When the 2♦ call came around to Lucky Archie, he could not get the double card down on the table fast enough. In fact, his action was so violent, Poor Frank briefly considered calling the director. However, he realized that he could probably use this unauthorized information even more than West could.
West led a spade to dummy’s ace. Poor Frank ducked a diamond to West’s king and won the spade continuation in hand. He ducked another diamond, West winning the ace. Poor Frank now had an excellent idea of how the diamonds were sitting. West persisted with a spade, won by declarer with the queen. A heart went to the eight and Lucky Archie’s king. The Lucky One got out with a club, taken by West’s ace. West now played the thirteenth spade, dummy and East throwing clubs as Poor Frank ruffed.
Declarer now repeated the heart finesse, leading his last heart to the nine. This held the trick and Poor Frank cashed the ace of hearts and the king of clubs. Poor Frank had taken seven tricks and the lead was in the dummy and Poor Frank held the jack and five of diamonds behind Lucky Archie’s queen and ten. Thus, he scored his eighth trick en passant and claimed this doubled contract. The result catapulted Poor Frank into first place, comfortably ahead of his rival.
So on this fine evening, it was not Poor Frank who was complaining of his bad luck, but rather Lucky Archie who muttered to himself.
As he left the studio, Poor Frank patted his rival on the back and kindly said, “C’est la vie, Archie.”