The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part CLXVIII: Bad Bid Archie
By Ray Adams
Poor Frank could hardly believe what he was seeing just the other night at the local duplicate club as he watched Lucky Archie and his novice partner pull bid after bid out of their bidding boxes. Even so, he still had to find a way to set a truly atrocious contract.
Lucky Archie arrived at the club that evening without a partner and the only one available was a newer player with just 18 master points to his name. That explains some of the bidding. When North bid 2♥ with his 12 points, he obviously had no idea that he was making a forcing reverse bid. The Lucky One now overbid with a 3♦ call. But when North bid 4♣, Lucky Archie tried to sign off at 4NT. Of course, North had been taught that 4NT was always Blackwood and showed two aces. When Archie made another sign off attempt at 5♠, North bid 6♣, and this horrible auction finally ended at 6NT.
Poor Frank wondered if he should double, then realized there was really no need, as no one else in the room would reach the giddy heights of 6NT on this hand. He merely shook his head, led the queen of hearts, and hoped for the best. Lucky Archie won his ace and immediately tested the clubs, leading a small one to the jack and East’s queen. Back came a heart, declarer tossing a spade as dummy’s king took the trick.
Declarer led a diamond to East’s jack and his queen, which held. He now repeated the club finesse, dummy’s ten winning. The ace dropped Poor Frank’s king, and the two long clubs were cashed, Archie tossing spades and Poor Frank a couple of hearts. Lucky Archie had a phantom vision of a possible Vienna Coup and now cashed dummy’s stiff ace of spades. His eyes popped when Poor Frank’s king dropped on this trick.
The Lucky One now led a diamond to East’s king and his ace. When he cashed the queen of spades, Poor Frank’s threw a worthless diamond. The Lucky One now cashed his ten of diamonds, then tossed his six of diamonds on the table.
“Down one,” he said sadly. But Poor Frank had to follow with his last heart and Lucky Archie had somehow made this terrible contract.
“Well, Frankie, baby, thanks, but if you hadn’t tossed that diamond, I would have been down,” Archie said.
Poor Frank was beside himself as he discussed that evening’s hands with Janet. “Not only does he not know how to bid, but he thinks a five outranks a six!”
“Well, darling,” Janet said, “I guess the only consolation is that it’s better to be beaten by an idiot than to be one yourself.”