The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part CLIX: Three Kings Too Few
By Ray Adams
A bidding misunderstanding put Lucky Archie in what appeared to be a doomed contract that would allow Poor Frank to win that evening’s duplicate.
The 2NT bid was a forcing spade raise by Red Dyeman, Lucky Archie’s partner. Although Red had only three spades, he reasoned that a forcing raise was his best bid. The 5♣ bid showed two aces and the king of spades, the pair playing 3014. When Lucky Archie asked for kings, Red replied 6♣, showing either three or zero, in this case zero, since Red had already shown the king of spades.
Lucky Archie, however, assumed it was three and bid the grand in spades.
When Poor Frank led the king of hearts, Lucky Archie’s eyes nearly popped out of his head. “I thought you had three more kings,” he said to Red.
“Maybe you should have cue bid,” Red replied in a gruff voice.
Lucky Archie had no idea how to play the hand, but he knew he had to take some finesses. He won the opening lead with dummy’s ace of hearts and immediately took the club finesse, which worked. He then drew trumps in two rounds, ending in dummy. He repeated the club finesse and subsequently threw a heart from dummy on the ace of clubs. Next came a low diamond, declarer inserting dummy’s queen when Poor Frank followed with the nine. This also took the trick.
“Now I see why they call you Lucky Archie,” Red was quick to comment.
Poor Frank shook his head. Would his incompetent rival best him once again on sheer luck?
The Lucky One now ran his trumps, causing Poor Frank immense psychological pain that quickly turned into actual physical torture. He saw that since dummy had the ten of hearts and the eight of diamonds that he was being squeezed. Did Archie even know what he was doing?
When Lucky Archie led the last trump, Poor Frank had to choose between the queen of hearts and the jack of diamonds. When he listlessly tossed the jack of diamonds, Lucky Archie’s eyes lit up and he discarded dummy’s ten of hearts. Now a diamond to the ace dropped Poor Frank’s king and dummy’s eight of diamonds took the thirteenth trick.
“Well done, squeeze master,” Red said, laughing out loud.
Lucky Archie turned to Poor Frank. “You can’t just toss jacks away and expect to win,” he said.
“What can I do?” Poor Frank said. “I just never seem to have any luck with knaves.”