The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part CLXIV: The Mystery of the Ten of Diamonds
By Ray Adams
Poor Frank was on the verge of winning just the other night at the local duplicate club, when Lucky Archie had a chance to pass him on the last board of the evening.
Lucky Archie opened a weak two heart bid and 2NT asked for an outside feature. Three spades revealed that Archie had the king of spades and this was all Red Dyeman needed to hear. He knew Archie needed a good board to beat Poor Frank and he took a shot at the grand slam.
Poor Frank led the king of diamonds, taken by dummy’s ace. Declarer then drew trumps in four rounds, ending in hand. Meanwhile, Poor Frank sluffed two clubs and two diamonds.
The Lucky One realized he was a trick or two short, so he negotiated the club finesse, playing a low club and inserting dummy’s queen when Poor Frank played low. When the queen held, a smile played around Lucky Archie’s lips. He now knew he had the contract made. He cashed the ace of clubs and ruffed a club. Poor Frank threw the jack of diamonds on this card.
Lucky Archie now led his last trump, hoping to catch his rival in a squeeze. Poor Frank certainly seemed like a man caught in a vise. A look of agony crossed his face as he tossed the queen of diamonds on the table.
“Not discarding any spades, are we, Frankie baby,” the Lucky One said with a sneer. Poor Frank refused to answer or even make eye contact, instead staring silently at his remaining cards. Declarer crossed to dummy with the queen of spades, then returned to the king of spades as East let go the jack on this lead.
Lucky Archie smirked as he led his last spade. Poor Frank played the five in tempo, but Lucky Archie thought he noticed a slight tremor in his rival’s hand as he placed this card on the table. Lucky Archie confidently called for the nine of spades. But then East produced the ten and cashed a club to set this contract two tricks. Poor Frank had won that evening’s laurels and Lucky Archie was too stunned to say anything. Poor Frank stared at the last card in his hand as though it were a holy relic. It was the ten of diamonds.