The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part CLXIX: Once a King
By Ray Adams
Poor Frank had Lucky Archie right where he wanted him the other night. Or did he?
Poor Frank shook his head at Lucky Archie’s auction. The Lucky One was obviously missing an ace as Poor Frank could see it in his own hand. What if North had held but one ace, what would Archie have done then? It was just like Archie to use Blackwood without thinking ahead. Poor Frank shook his head and saw he had no good lead. He finally put a trump on the table.
Declarer drew trumps in two rounds and played a diamond. Poor Frank had already thought ahead, anticipating this play and ducked smoothly. Archie went right up with the king and immediately played another diamond. East won the queen, but was already endplayed at trick four!
East had no diamond to lead and a spade or heart would give Archie a free finesse and allow him to later pitch his losing diamond. He soon claimed twelve tricks and this unlikely 6♣ contract.
Red Dyeman, Poor Frank’s partner, was extremely upset.
“You need to rise with the ace, Frank,” he said. “I would have dropped my queen. Now, he will probably come to hand and take the finesse to go down. Bad play on your part.”
Later, when Poor Frank discussed the hands with Janet he said, “I thought I couldn’t have felt any worse than I did when Lucky Archie made 6♣, but Red’s words stung me like a poisonous jellyfish.”
“It’s just Red’s competitive nature, darling,” Janet said. “He was as upset as you about giving Archie a good board. And I’m certain that if you had risen with the ace and Red dropped the queen, that Archie would have played the king on the next lead. You and I both know Archie knows nothing about restricted choice and would only have been worried that Red was trying to fool him.”
“You’re probably right, sweetheart,” Frank said. “They don’t call him Lucky Archie for nothing.”