The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part CLXVI: Wrong Play Archie
By Ray Adams
Poor Frank and Lucky Archie were at it again just the other night at the local duplicate club. The two were neck and neck and whoever did better on the last board would win.
Poor Frank took a shot at the nine trick game rather than the eleven tricks needed in 5♦ when North showed a less than sterling hand. West led the four of hearts and this went to dummy’s five. Lucky Archie must have been in love with his queen of hearts, for – instead of playing this card – he inserted the six of hearts instead. Poor Frank won his ten and knew he had to make something of clubs to come to nine tricks.
Declarer crossed to dummy’s jack of diamonds and led a club, playing the jack when Archie followed low. This lost to West’s king. Due to Archie’s play at trick one, West was certain that Poor Frank had started with the king, queen, and ten of hearts, while East had been dealt the six and two. Therefore, West decided to clear the hearts, relying of the ace of spades as a later entry to the last two good hearts. As readers can see, this ploy would have failed if that had been declarer’s holding, as another club finesse would have produced more than enough tricks for the offense.
So West cashed the ace of hearts, dropping Poor Frank’s king and then continued a heart. West was shocked when Lucky Archie won this trick with the queen, although not as shocked as Poor Frank. The Lucky One then put the jack of spades of the table. West won the ace and cashed two hearts for down two and a top board for Lucky Archie.
It turned out that many Souths were in 3NT with the lead of a small heart. But at every other table, the East player had put in the queen of hearts, undoubtedly the correct book play. But this now gave declarer an extra heart stopper and clubs were soon established, allowing the other declarers to made ten tricks in their NT contracts. Two declarers were down one in 5♦ and one made 4♦. So Poor Frank got a big goose egg on this board and Lucky Archie won that evening’s laurels.
Later, when Frank was discussing the hands with Janet, he said, “Why do I have to sit miserably and listen to everyone calling Archie brilliant when he makes plays like that?”
“You’re right, darling,” Janet said. “If they really believe that nonsense, why don’t they call him Brilliant Archie?”