The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part CXLVII, Poor Frank’s Brilliant Sacrifice
By Ray Adams
Bridge buffs know that taking a sacrifice can frequently be a good strategy in bridge. Those who sacrifice do not expect to make their contract, only to lose fewer points than they would have if the opponents make theirs.
When Lucky Archie’s partner, Jack Leeder, opened the hand one heart, Lucky Archie immediately had visions of a grand slam dancing in his brain. He jumped to Key Card Blackwood, and when he saw the five club bid hit the table, he knew his partner had the three missing aces. He then bid seven hearts. He and Jack were already writing 7♥ S in their private score card, forgetting that the auction was not officially over.
It is difficult to imagine the shock Jack and Archie must have felt when Poor Frank’s 7♠ bidding card softly found its way to the table. They both looked at Poor Frank in horror, It had been months since this pair had bid and made a grand slam. Now this miscreant, this parasite in the side of good bridge players, was taking away their chance to play it.
Lucky Archie slammed a double card on the table, then picked up another one and slammed that one down, too. He even banged a third double card on the table. His face was red and his hands were shaking. The look on his face suggested he had a strong desire to commit homicide on Poor Frank. However, Jack Leeder had a much cooler head than Lucky Archie and pulled the double to 7NT.
If readers study the hand, they will note that 7♥ is a wonderful, laydown contract, but in no trump,
the thirteenth trick depends on the diamond finesse working. Lucky Archie was muttering under his breath, but when he finally realized he had no choice but to take the diamond hook, it worked and he soon had thirteen tricks lined up in front of him.
Poor Frank’s contract of 7♠ doubled would have only gone down 1400 or at most, 1700, most likely a top result when the opponents could make 2210. But no one else bid 7NT, so Lucky Archie and Jack Leeder wound up with the top result and later claimed first place that evening.
Later that evening, when Poor Frank was discussing the hands with Janet, he said, “Well, sweetheart, it was the most brilliant sacrifice of my entire bridge career and all it netted me was a big, fat zero.”
“Don’t worry darling, at least you caused Lucky Archie to lose his cool and make his blood pressure soar into the stratosphere. And don’t forget that even if you didn’t get rewarded at the table, at least I saved a kiss or two for you.”
And the smile was back on Poor Frank’s face.