The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part CLVII: Poor Frank’s Ruse
By Ray Adams
Poor Frank needed a good result on the last board of the night. And sitting to his left was none other than his chief rival, Lucky Archie.
North knew Poor Frank needed a good board and was probably persuaded by his three clubs that Poor Frank was short in that suit. This may explain North’s very aggressive bidding.
Lucky Archie led the king of clubs and continued with the queen and jack, Poor Frank ruffing the third round. It certainly looked like East had the ace of clubs for the two club bid, but this player could hardly hold anything else. Thus, Poor Frank reasoned that the Lucky One had all the remaining high cards. However, even knowing where every missing ace, queen, and jack were did not mean that Poor Frank would make this contract. He still looked to lose a spade and a heart in addition to the two clubs already in the bag for the defenders.
At trick four, Poor Frank led the jack of spades, attempting to look like a man who wanted to locate the queen of spades. Lucky Archie fell for it and played low. Poor Frank now wasted no time cashing three diamond tricks. He then led another spade. Lucky Archie took the ace, but had nothing but clubs and hearts in his hand. A club would give a ruff and a sluff. But if the Lucky One led a heart, Poor Frank would insert dummy’s ten and claim when this held. And if Lucky Archie tried a heart honor, Poor Frank would win in hand and finesse the other honor on the way back. Either way, he soon claimed four.
Readers can see that if Lucky Archie had not bought into Poor Frank’s ruse and risen with the ace, he could have exited safely with either a diamond or a trump, then simply waited for his heart trick to set the contract.
Lucky Archie was scratching his head after the hand was over, trying to figure out why no one else in the room had made four spades.
Poor Frank saw this and could not contain himself, “I thought you had the queen of spades, Archie,” he said, “Imagine my surprise when I found it in my own hand.”
Janet later said to Poor Frank when they discussed the hands, “Imagine Archie’s surprise when he finally realized he had snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.”