The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part CLXXVIII: Ducky Archie
By Ray Adams
Lucky Archie earned himself a new nickname just the other night at the local duplicate club.
Poor Frank arrived in six diamonds on the auction given above and West led the ten of spades, taken in dummy by the ace. Poor Frank must have been horrified as he studied the dummy. He had a sure loser in the ace of hearts and there was no way he could bring in clubs without losing at least one trick. It was not a very good slam to say the least. But then, his right hand opponent was Lucky Archie and perhaps he could take advantage of that fact.
As it turns out, Lucky Archie had been playing a great deal with Red Dyeman as of late. Red was more or less happy with the results this pair kept getting – they usually beat Poor Frank by a point or two for first place – but was not satisfied with the Lucky One’s defense. “You need to remember, second hand low, Archie,” was Red’s favorite admonishment to his partner. Lucky Archie did have a tendency to play honor cards on nothing in the second seat. Usually, Archie paid no attention to Red’s advice, but he had recently lost to Poor Frank simply because he had had banged down an ace in second position. Thus, Archie was still smarting from Red’s harsh words.
Poor Frank tried a ruse at trick two, knowing what had passed between Red and Archie. He led a small heart from dummy. The Lucky One ducked, playing second hand low and not thinking of the entire hand. Had he done so, he would have realized the ace of hearts and his sure club trick would have set the hand. Poor Frank played the queen. When this held, Poor Frank wasted no time cashing the king of spades to sluff dummy’s king of hearts. He now drew trumps and advanced the jack of clubs. The Lucky One covered with the queen and Poor Frank was soon chalking up plus 1370 for a top board and a good enough result to propel him into that evening’s top spot.
“Can you believe he actually ducked?” Poor Frank said to Janet later as he showed her the crucial hand.
“It’s beyond belief, darling. How can anyone make a play like that and call themselves a good bridge player?”
“Well, I’m telling everyone I can about it,” Poor Frank said. “Maybe they’ll change their view of him. Finally!”
“Well, we can only hope so,” Janet said. “Perhaps, they’ll start calling him Ducky Archie. Now that would be a nickname we could live with.”