The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part CLXXX: A Sweet Overtrick
By Ray Adams
Poor Frank and Lucky Archie were locked in a virtual draw for first place just the other night at the local duplicate club. The final board would seal their fate:
Poor Frank took a shot at four hearts when it was his turn to bid and that ended the auction. Lucky Archie led the queen of spades, which was allowed to hold. The jack of spades continuation was also allowed to hold. Even Archie could see that one more spade would fell East’s presumed ace. He decided to switch to a diamond. Most players would lead low from three to a ten, accepting the fact that the ten was usually considered to be an honor. But Archie made the bold and fateful lead of the ten itself. This went to the four, nine, and Poor Frank’s queen.
Poor Frank now drew trumps in four rounds and continued the suit. When he led the last trump, Lucky Archie’s last four cards were insignificant: two clubs to the jack, and two small diamonds as he had pitched both his remaining spades. Dummy had three clubs to the ace and king plus the king of diamonds. East had held onto three clubs to the queen, plus the ace of diamonds, having tossed the ace of spades after declarer had discarded dummy’s king of spades.
The Lucky One threw a small diamond on this last trump and Poor Frank called for dummy’s king of diamonds. East could see he had to hold onto three clubs to the queen, so he let go of the ace of diamonds. Poor Frank now produced the seven of diamonds and the ace and king of clubs allowed him to make a sweet overtrick. Since everyone else had only made ten tricks on this hand, the result was enough to allow Poor Frank to beat Lucky Archie for that evening’s laurels.
“Archie, you dolt,” East yelled after the hand was over. “Leading that ten cost you first place. Now Poor Frank was able to squeeze me.”
“I would have won if you’d simply taken your ace,” Archie said. “And you threw away that ace later. What kind of player are you, then?”
“I don’t know how anyone can play with someone as dense as Archie,” Poor Frank said to Janet later that evening, “and yet players line up to partner him.”
“Well, it’s their misfortune and none of your own, darling,” Janet said. “But I feel sorry for tens. No one know whether to treat them as an honor or a spotcard. I think Archie thought he was leading top of nothing.”
“Tens are valuable cards if you use them correctly,” Poor Frank said. “But in the hands of idiots like Archie, they lose most of their importance.”