The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part CLXI: The Agony and the Ecstasy
By Ray Adams
Readers will recall that in Poor Frank CLX, our hero bid and made six diamonds against Lucky Archie. His result looked to be the best that evening, but Jack Leeder found himself in a higher scoring contract.
Readers should note that this hand has not been rotated to make South declarer, but has been diagrammed the same way it was played, with North declarer this time.
Jack Leeder’s hand was so good, it would have been very difficult for him to stay out of slam once his partner gave him a limit raise. However, once East led the seven of diamonds, he went into throes of agony. He was missing the ace and king of trumps in a slam! How could he ever make it?
But Jack was not one to give up and he thought of a possible swindle. He won the opening lead with dummy’s king and immediately led dummy’s jack of spades. West covered with the king, Jack ducked, and East threw down the ace with a deep scowl on his face. Yes, yes, yes! Jack was in complete ecstasy. All he would have to do was ruff a heart in dummy and finesse West’s marked ten of spades. He would be the only one to make six spades in the entire room. And he would win that evening’s duplicate.
It would be about time. Jack was plenty tired of hearing about how Lucky Archie and Poor Frank were always fighting it out for first place. No one ever talked about Jack Leeder. No one ever gave Jack Leeder his due. Now he would show them he was the club’s best player.
“You need to play a card from the dummy, Jack,” his partner said.
Jack came out of his revery long enough to see that East’s three of diamonds lay on the table.
“Oh, play low,” he said.
Dummy followed his instructions and West ruffed to set the contract.
Suddenly, Jack was once again overcome by agony, knowing that he would not finish in the top two and maybe not even in the top three. As usual, the spotlight would fall on either Poor Frank or Lucky Archie and everyone would be talking about them when they exited the studio. And he would leave unnoticed, with no one even saying something like “Poor Jack” or “Lucky Jack.” No, he was just Jack Leeder, the invisible man at the table.