The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part CXC: A Gift for Poor Frank
Poor Frank and Lucky Archie got into a bit of fireworks on the last hand of the evening.
By Ray Adams
East had a tough decision to make at his last turn in this competitive auction. Perhaps it was right to bid 5♣, although readers can see East probably would have lost two hearts and a trump. East eventually decided to double, hoping to salvage something from this hand.
Poor Frank cashed the ace of spades, then shifted to a small heart that went to the queen, ten, and two. East split his diamonds, playing the nine when the two was led from dummy. Declarer won the ace as Poor Frank showed out. Lucky Archie ruffed a club in dummy and led another diamond to the jack and king. South now ruffed a club with dummy’s last trump.
Lucky Archie was always nervous when he played a doubled contract, so he now paused to let his heartbeat return to normal. He saw he could not ruff a spade without allowing East to dink him in clubs and take over control of the trump suit. He returned to hand with a heart to the ace. The eight of diamonds went to East’s queen. East cashed the ace of clubs and played the king of clubs. But the Lucky One was able to ruff this and it now appeared as though he had all good tricks remaining.
Declarer’s last three cards were the king and four of hearts and the seven of diamonds. Poor Frank had the king of spades and the eight and six of hearts. Dummy held the queen and ten of spades, plus the jack of hearts. East had the five of diamonds and the last two clubs.
When Archie led the seven of diamonds to pick up the last trump, Poor Frank had to throw a heart or the king of spades. Clearly the king of spades couldn’t go, so he tossed a heart. Dummy let go the ten of spades on this. Archie knew he had not seen the high spade so he played the king of hearts, smothering dummy’s jack. His last card was the four of hearts and somehow this was good and he had made his doubled contract and won that evening’s laurels.
“You shouldn’t have thrown that heart, Frank,” the Lucky One said. “You could have set me. That was a very bad discard.”
“Maybe you should buy me a book on discards for my next birthday, Archie,” Poor Frank said. “That way you could face a higher level of competition and feel prouder of your victories.”
Later, Janet commented, “Well, you certainly won the battle of the wits, darling. Although you always should when you go against that half wit. He didn’t even realize he had you squeezed. But if I were you, I would have a little talk with your partner. If East hadn’t doubled, it’s highly unlikely that Archie could have ever played the trump suit the way he did.”