The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part CLXV: Poor Frank’s Agony
By Ray Adams
Readers will recall that Jack Leeder recently went from ecstasy to agony to ecstasy and finally back to agony. Not long after that incident, a similar fate befell Poor Frank.
The bidding requires some explanation. After Poor Frank pre-empted, Lucky Archie chose to take a shot at 3NT, perhaps relying on his legendary luck for a spade stopper. When the 3NT call was passed around to Poor Frank, he could not believe his good fortune. Lucky Archie was going for at least 800 and he, Poor Frank, would once again grace the winner’s circle. So he doubled to make certain his partner led a spade. The double scared Lucky Archie, who made an SOS redouble. However, North thought his partner was only trying for a higher score and passed. Poor Frank was practically drooling. He knew he would soon be writing plus 1600 in his column.
However, there was one slight flaw in Poor Frank’s plan. West had no spade to lead. After some thought, Poor Frank’s partner put the ten of hearts down on the table. This ran to declarer’s queen. Lucky Archie now knocked out the ace of diamonds, thankful that it was not Poor Frank who held this card.
Lucky Archie next ran the three diamond tricks, then cashed the ace and queen of clubs, Poor Frank dropping the ten and jack on these cards. For once in his bridge career, Lucky Archie had been counting. He knew Poor Frank had started with seven spades and he had seen three diamonds, one heart, and two clubs. Therefore, West had to have the remaining clubs. The Lucky One now led the four of clubs and played dummy’s eight when West followed with the seven. This took the trick as Poor Frank tossed his ace of spades. Declarer soon claimed nine tricks with two hearts, three diamonds, and four clubs.
“That’s 3NT, doubled and redoubled, making,” he said with an obnoxious grin to his rival. Poor Frank looked like he wanted to rip his cards in two and said nothing.
“Now I know how Jack Leeder felt,” he said to Janet later as the two discussed the hands.
“Don’t worry, darling,” she said, “he may have caused you agony this time, but there’ll be times when you’ll enjoy the ecstasy of making him look like the idiot he is.”
“You’re right, dearest,” Poor Frank said. “Only an idiot would bid 3NT on three spades to the nine after his right hand opponent pre-empted in spades. But does that mean the Great Shuffler smiles on idiots?”
“I think it only means the Great One has a great sense of humor,” Janet said.