The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part CLXIII: A Sneaky 6NT
By Ray Adams
Just the other night at the local duplicate club, Poor Frank got some retribution for all the wrongs he had suffered at the hands of Lucky Archie over the years.
After his partner opened 1♦ and the duo failed to find a major suit fit, Poor Frank, with his 19 points, took a shot at 6NT. Lucky Archie made the opening lead of the jack of hearts and declarer was horrified when he saw the dummy. He was missing the ace and king of clubs! Obviously, Archie didn’t have both of them or he would have thrown three or four double cards on the table and then smirked as he set his rival. But were they divided, with East having one and Archie the other? Poor Frank hoped so or else he had no chance. After winning dummy’s ace of hearts, he led a small club at trick two. East ducked, hoping declarer had something like a king/jack tenace. Poor Frank played his jack and Lucky Archie won the king.
The Lucky One gave his exit little thought, tossing the ten of hearts on the table. A club was thrown from dummy as East followed and Poor Frank won his king. Declarer now ran all dummy’s diamonds, discarding a club and a small heart from hand. He then came to the ace of spades and cashed the queen of hearts, tossing dummy’s last club. East had not shown any distress in discarding up to this point, but now had to make a fatal choice: either a small spade or the ace of clubs had to go. East chose the spade, hoping Archie could stop the suit.
But it was not to be. Poor Frank now cashed the queen of spades, led a spade to dummy’s king, and the six of spades took the twelfth trick. East had to jettison his ace of clubs on this last trick, causing Lucky Archie’s eyes to bug out.
“Why didn’t you play that card when he led a club!” Archie yelled.
“Why didn’t you return a club when you won the king?” East said.
Later, when Poor Frank discussed the evening’s hands with Janet, he said, “Well, sweetheart, it is not the kind of music to which I am accustomed, but I could certainly get used to it.’
“Yes, you could, darling,” she said, “only doesn’t Archie’s whiny voice give it an off note?”
“No,” he said, “that’s the sound that makes it so sweet.”