The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part CLIII: A Foolproof Double

The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part CLIII: A Foolproof Double

By Ray Adams
frankandarchie@yahoo.com

Poor Frank had Lucky Archie right where he wanted him the other night at the local duplicate club. Or did he?

 

Lucky Archie made a grave mistake on the hand when he had the three of clubs in with his spades. This caused him to open 1♠ instead of 1♦. After Lucky Archie responded 2 to North’s 2♣ bid, North was impressed by the diamond fit, but decided 5 might be too high, while 4♠ even with only queen doubleton support, was probably just right.

Poor Frank, looking at the ace/king of clubs doubleton and six spades to the jack, now thought he had a foolproof double. North might have pulled this to 5, but instead decided to shoot it out. When four spades doubled became the final contract, Poor Frank could not have been more pleased. He knew the Lucky One was finally going to be severely penalized for being such a fool. Poor Frank smiled as he fantasized about the high score he was going to receive from this board.

West led a club and Poor Frank wasted no time in cashing his top two clubs. He was extremely happy as he returned the jack of diamonds. Archie won this in dummy and led a small trump, inserting the nine when Poor Frank followed low. This held and it was Lucky Archie’s turn to smile.

When Poor Frank saw West follow to this, he smiled to himself and thought, “Why that oaf only has a four card suit. What a dunce. He’s going to go for at least a toll free number.”

However, declarer then cashed two more diamonds, noticing West’s failure to ruff the third diamond. He then played first the king and then the ace of hearts, followed by a heart ruff in the dummy as Poor Frank was forced to underruff.   The Lucky One counted his tricks: he had seven of them lined up neatly in front of him. When he led a diamond from dummy, Poor Frank was forced to ruff for the defense’s third trick, but now Poor Frank had nothing but trumps left. When he led one, Lucky Archie took the marked finesse of the jack by playing his ten and soon claimed this improbable doubled contract.

Later, when he discussed the hands with Janet, Poor Frank said, “I thought the double was foolproof, but I must be the fool.”

“Don’t talk like that, darling,” Janet said, “You’re no fool and Lucky Archie is a super fool. Next time you need to make a super foolproof double.”

“Super,” Poor Frank said.

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The Adventures of Team Porcupine, Part LXVI: Shades of Sonny

The Adventures of Team Porcupine, Part LXVI: Shades of Sonny

By Ray Adams
frankandarchie@yahoo.com

 

Alphonse (Sonny) Moyse, Jr. was such a strong advocate of 4-3 major suit fits that this type of contract was named a Moysian fit after him. In the modern bridge world, Porczouk Nograwowicz has perhaps become the master of playing in such a fit. This is due not only to his declarer skill, but also for the propensity of his partner, Stanislaus Kowalski, to raise his partner’s major suit response with only three card support, without even making an attempt to discover if Nograwowicz actually had more than four.

 

 

On this hand, Nograwowicz correctly used 5NT, the grand slam force, as opposed to the grand slam farce bid introduced by Kowalski in a previous match. Since Kowalski had two of the top three spade honors,he unhesitatingly bid the grand in spades.   Readers should note that Nograwowicz’s two spade bid most likely only showed four spades. However, Kowalski wasted no time in raising him with three card support, leading to Nograwowicz once again playing in a Moysian fit at a very high level.

West led the three of diamonds, covered by the nine, ten, and won with declarer’s ace. Nograwowicz wondered why West had led a diamond, rather than the standard lead of a trump versus a grand slam. It certainly seemed to him that this lead must be a singleton and he had to be very careful in how he played the hand. If spades behaved in some fashion, he saw he had a chance if only the queen of hearts was tripleton.

He won the opening lead in hand, and played the ace and king of hearts, throwing a club from dummy. Next came a small heart, West following with the queen. Declarer ruffed this with the ace of spades. He then cashed the queen of spades, observing East’s eight. When he played dummy’s ten, East followed with the nine, so he overtook with the jack. The king and seven of spades then drew the last two lurkers. It now only remained for him to play the jack of hearts, dropping East’s ten, then claim with a high heart, the top two diamonds, and the ace of clubs.

Readers can see that if he had not been so observant of the trump suit, that he would have gone down trying to return to hand with a diamond. At the other table, the opponents bid and made 6NT, a very tricky contract that required the declarer to squeeze West and then end play this player to lead a club or heart for the twelfth trick. Still it was a nice 13 imp pickup for Team Porcupine.

Team captain Stari Pas later asked Kowalski why he had raised Nograwowicz with three card support rather than rebidding his six card club suit.

“Watching Nograwowicz play a 4-3 fit is one of my life’s greatest pleasures,” he replied.

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No One Tells a Tale Like a Little Deuce

No One Tells a Tale Like a Little Deuce

By Ray Adams
frankandarchie@yahoo.com

The four deuces had the floor the other night at the Sevens and Under Public House.

 

The four little deuces came out with arms linked onto the main floor of the Sevens and Under Public House.

“No one tells a tale like a little deuce,” they all sang.

“That’s right,” the Deuce of Spades said, “we may not take many tricks, but we sure do know how to signal.”

“None better,” the Deuce of Hearts said. “Every bridge player – even a beginner – can read our signals.”

“Yes,” the Deuce of Diamonds said, “Let’s take this four heart hand as an example.”

“West led the Ace of Clubs,” the Deuce of Clubs said, “and East played me. Pretty clear. Please shift.”

“And so, West shifted to the Ace of Diamonds, East’s bid suit,” the Deuce of Diamonds said. “East played me. Once again, very clear.”

“Now poor West knew there was only one suit left outside trumps,” the Deuce of Spades said,” so West led me.”

“And I ruffed North’s Queen of Spades,” the Deuce of Hearts said. “Now East read my brother, the Deuce of Spades as being suit preference for clubs. So East cashed the King of Clubs and led the Queen of Clubs.”

“And West was able to overruff dummy with the Jack of Hearts.,” the Deuce of Clubs said, “Now East ruffed another spade and look what had happened. The defense had taken the first six tricks!”

“And none of this could have been done without our gift for signaling,” all four deuces said.

“Wow, I bet that was a top for this defensive duo,” the Five of Diamonds said.

“It was,” the Deuce of Spades said. “We had done our job well.”

Soon, all the regulars at the public house were joining in on a chorus of “No one tells a tale like a little deuce.”

 

 

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The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part CLII: That Telling Look of Agony

The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part CLII: That Telling Look of Agony

By Ray Adams
frankandarchie@yahoo.com

 

Poor Frank got into a tough contract just the other night at the local bridge club. Would a combination of his superior technique and a little bit of psychology pull him through?

In the auction, 5 showed two aces and the king of spades. It was the last board of the night and Poor Frank wanted to beat Lucky Archie very badly as he had just finished second to the Lucky One three times in a row. This is probably why he bid all the way up to 7NT.

Archie’s partner, Red Dyeman, led the eight of hearts. This looked like top of nothing to Poor Frank so he played dummy’s ace and hoped for things to look up later in the hand. However, he had started with twelve top tricks, so a diamond finesse or possibly a squeeze would bring in trick number thirteen.

Poor Frank now ran all seven spades, eventually throwing all the remaining four hearts in dummy. But as he was doing this, he carefully looked at his opponents to see if their expressions gave anything away. Red was totally stone-faced and acted as though he were in absolutely no trouble whatsoever. But that was Red, a player who was well known for never showing any emotions at the table. Lucky Archie, on the other hand, was beginning to show symptoms of severe agony.

Now Poor Frank cashed his queen of clubs and the top two clubs, throwing a small diamond on the last top club. He sneaked a glance at his right hand opponent. Lucky Archie’s countenance was red, he was sweating heavily, and his face was screwed up as though he had just eaten five lemons. Poor Frank read this to mean that the Lucky One had both red kings and the squeeze had worked.

At this point, the dummy was down to the ace and queen of diamonds, while Poor Frank had the jack of hearts and the eight of diamonds. Putting his opponent reading into action, Poor Frank led a diamond at trick twelve, and when Red played the jack – which readers can see was a deceptive play – Poor Frank called for the ace. Lucky Archie’s king dropped and Poor Frank had jumped past his rival to win that evening’s laurels.

Later, when he and Janet were discussing the hands, Poor Frank said, “Well, sweetheart, you should have seen Lucky Archie’s face just before trick twelve.”

“You bet, darling,” Janet said. “I only wish you had recorded it on a video camera.   But tell me, which did you enjoy more, making 7NT or seeing the expression on Archie’s face?”

“Hmm,” Poor Frank said, “that’s a tough one.”

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The Seven of Hearts Has His Day

The Seven of Hearts Has His Day

By Ray Adams
frankandarchie@yahoo.com

 

The Seven of Hearts may have felt just a little jealous the other day when the Six of Hearts presented his story at the Sevens and Under Public House. But he soon had a tale of his own.

    The Seven of Hearts called all his comrades at the Sevens and Under Public House to attention as he began a story just a night after the Six of Hearts had entertained the clientele with his own tale.

“My Master got himself into a 21 point game contract,” the Seven of Hearts said, “and that’s what made this hand so exciting.”

“I can see that a diamond lead and club shift will doom the contract,” the feisty Five of Diamonds said.

“True enough,” the Seven of Hearts said, “but this West led a trump, giving my Master time to work out the way to success. He won in hand and led the Jack of Hearts, covered by the queen and ace. He returned to hand with the King of Spades, picking up the last trumps, and led the Four of Hearts.”

“Wonderful, I was involved in this story, too,” the Four of Hearts said.

“Yes you were,” the Seven of Hearts said. “The Four of Hearts was covered by the nine and dummy’s ten, as East took the King of Hearts.”

“I hate to see the King of Hearts win any tricks,” the Three of Hearts said. “When I work over at the Royal Honors Club, he is the worst tipper among a misery group of cheapskates.”

“Well, he does outrank all of us, unfortunately,” the Seven of Hearts said. “West then shifted to the Queen of Clubs, won by West’s ace. West then led the Jack of Clubs to dummy’s king.”

“I think the King of Clubs is much nicer than the King of Hearts,” the Six of Clubs said, “but then he is a fellow club, so maybe I’m prejudiced.”

“Well, the King of Clubs, be he good or bad, was good enough to put Mr. South in the dummy,” the Seven of Hearts said. “And now he could lead me! And look at that dummy. As you can see, I was much more effective since I was backed up by my little buddy, the Six of Hearts.”

“Glad to be of service,” the friendly Six of Hearts said.

“When East followed low, Mr. South played West for the Queen/Nine of Hearts doubleton, and let me ride, tossing his losing diamond. He later lost a club, but claimed his game contract.”

“Good going, brave Seven of Hearts,” someone yelled and soon all of the sevens and unders were cheering that evening’s hero.

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A Very Welcome Promotion for the Six of Hearts

A Very Welcome Promotion for the Six of Hearts

By Ray Adams
frankandarchie@yahoo.com

 

Bridge buffs know the value of their high cards very well, but they sometimes overlook the value of the little spot cards. However, this is never the case at the Sevens and Under Public House.

 

There was a happy buzz of conversation in the Sevens and Under Public House the other night when the little Six of Hearts called for everyone’s attention.

“I have a happy little story from today’s bridge hands,” he said.

“Hear, hear,” the other spot cards yelled.

He diagrammed the above hand on the blackboard the spot cards use for the purpose of telling a bridge story.

“As you can see,” he said, “my Master arrived in 6♣ on optimistic bidding and West led the Five of Spades.”

“Always a good choice,” the Five of Spades said.

“For sure,” the Six of Hearts replied, “and my Master won in hand and advanced the Jack of Diamonds, covered by the king and won by the ace.”

“It looks to me like Mr. South will go down,” the Three of Clubs said. “One diamond loser, one heart loser and no real options.”

“Ah, Mr. Trey,” the Six of Hearts said, “Like many bridge players, you are overlooking the value of your brothers in arms. Let’s see what Mr. South did.”

“He drew trumps in two rounds and ended in dummy. He then led the Jack of Hearts, covered by the queen and taken by the ace. Now he advanced the Eight of Hearts. West covered with the nine, dummy with the ten, and East won the king, then exited with a spade to dummy’s king.”

“This is getting quite exciting,” the excitable little Deuce of Diamonds said.

“It certainly is,” the Six of Hearts said. “Now Mr. South played the Three of Hearts from dummy. East played the four, Mr. South ruffed, and West’s Seven of Hearts dropped.”

“You make it sound like I dropped from exhaustion,” the Seven of Hearts said. “For Heaven’s sake, I had to follow suit.”

“Yes, you did,” the Six of Hearts said, “and now Mr. South returned to dummy with the Queen of Diamonds and played me! And guess what? I beat my friend, the Five of Hearts and saved the day for Mr. South when he tossed his losing diamond on me. Six clubs bid and made.”

The entire public house – even the Seven and Five of Hearts – broke out into cheers for the heroic Six of Hearts.

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The Adventures of Team Porcupine, Part LXI: A Devil of a Coup

The Adventures of Team Porcupine, Part LXI: A Devil of a Coup

By Ray Adams

frankandarchie@yahoo.com

  All bridge buffs are fascinated by the Devil’s Coup, a play in which a “certain” trump loser disappears. When players see this coup executed, it is almost like watching a magic trick. Porczouk Nograwowicz of Team Porcupine was recently called upon to use this technique to make an “impossible” contract.

Kowalski may have been a little aggressive after an off shape double, but – as usual – he had the utmost confidence in his partner’s play of the hand. West cashed the ace and king of clubs and continued a club, as declarer tossed a diamond on dummy’s jack. Nograwowicz came to hand with the king of hearts and advanced the queen of spades. West played low and this took the trick, East contributing the nine. Next came a spade to the ten as East threw a heart. Things now looked bleak for South, as it appeared as though he had a diamond and a trump loser to go with the two clubs he had already lost.

Nograwowicz had a wild look in his eye, though, and refused to give up. He cashed the ace of hearts and ruffed a heart. Next came the ace and king of diamonds and a small diamond. East won his queen as West discarded his last club. East now had to lead either a club or a heart and it mattered not which suit he chose.

Declarer would ruff either suit with the jack and West was faced with a terrible choice. If West overruffed with the king, this would be overruffed in dummy with the ace. The eight of spades would then take West’s last trump, the four. And if West did not overruff, the jack would win and the ace of spades would take the last trick. Either way, Nograwowicz’s Devil Coup had brought home the contract.

The other declarer was not as skillful as Nograwowicz and was in 3♠, making only three. This was a nice seven imp pickup for Team Porcupine and helped them win a close match.

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The Six of Clubs Wins Free Beer

The Six of Clubs Wins Free Beer

By Ray Adams
frankandarchie@yahoo.com

The Six of Clubs Wins Free Beer

 

Readers of this blog are undoubtedly familiar with the Sevens and Under Public House. This is a gathering spot for the lowly cards in a bridge deck. The only requirement for membership being that the card in question has to be lower than an eight. This is a jolly place where the little spot cards kick back and drink beer while telling tales of their exploits at the table. Once a month, a contest is held for the best bridge story in which that particular spot card played a heroic role. This is the entry for the Six of Clubs:

 

“Well,” the Six of Clubs said, “I was all nested in with my big and little club buddies in Mr. South’s long suit. Now, most Souths felt the fear of God Almighty when they noticed that they were vulnerable and East/West weren’t. So they chickened out and didn’t pre-empt and North/South had an easy run to a heart contract. Almost nobody made more than nine little tricks, but two careless players somehow let one pair make four hearts. But at the table where I was in play, the South player was a very brave soul who immediately pre-empted over East’s opener. When his partner raised him to five, West finally got around to doubling, for sure counting on a big number. But, you see, partners, he hadn’t counted on me.”

The other spot cards laughed at the little six’s “Ah shucks” demeanor.

“West led the singleton spade and my hero won in dummy with the ace. He then played the king of diamonds to West’s ace. West got out with a diamond, the queen snatching this, as my hero kicked out a heart. Next Mr. South ruffed a diamond, and ruffed a heart in dummy.”

The Six of Clubs then told how Mr. South ruffed dummy’s last diamond. “Yessir, he did,” the Six of Clubs said, “and darned if he didn’t up and ruff his next to last heart in dummy. Now ain’t this exciting?”

“It’s so exciting I’m gonna need another beer soon,” the Five of Hearts yelled, causing an outbreak of laughter from the attentive crowd. For after all, it had only been twenty seconds or so since this fine spot card had refreshed his mug.

“Well now,” the Six of Clubs continued, “we see just how smart our brave soul was. He led a spade from dummy and ruffed it with the Ace of Clubs! No matter how much he wanted to, old West couldn’t overruff that baby!”

“Surely he must come from a family of rocket scientists,” the Three of Diamonds said.

“Or maybe his daddy solved three dimensional sudoku puzzles while waiting in a checkout line,” the Deuce of Spades said.

“Let’s drink to smart declarers!” the Four of Diamonds yelled and this caused a rush to the bar and made the Six of Clubs temporarily suspend the spinning of his tale.

“So now, he was all safe and sound back in his own hand and he up and ruffed that last heart of his with dummy’s last trump. So all that was left in dummy was the spade suit.”

“Lead a spade, lead a spade,” the tipsy Seven, Six, Five, Four, Three, and Deuce of Spades chanted.

“Well, he sure had to,” the Six of Clubs said, “and he ruffed it with the jack of clubs. Old West decided not to overruff, throwing away a heart. And now, guess what? Old West had the king, five, and deuce of clubs left and my hero had the eight, seven, and good old yours truly. So can you see that if I had been in the West hand and my good little brother, the Five of Clubs, had been in declarer’s, my hero would have gone down. So I done saved him!”

The crowd cheered wildly and when the patrons later voted, the Six of Clubs won the big prize, which was three evenings of free beer. Everyone cheered the valiant six, and to show he was a good sport, he gave his first free beer to the Five of Clubs. After that, it was a memorable and merry night at the Sevens and Under Public House.

 

 

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The Adventures of Team Porcupine, Part LX: A Crucial Discard

The Adventures of Team Porcupine, Part LX: A Crucial Discard

By Ray Adams
frankandarchie@yahoo.com

 

Discarding is truly one of the hardest parts of the game and many times a player must make a discard before that player is fully prepared for it. This would suggest that a bridge buff should always try to anticipate how the hand will develop and how one seemingly innocent discard might play a role in the triumph or defeat of a contract.

 

The auction was the same at both tables. Readers can see that with normal defense (two diamonds. a ruff, ace of clubs and a ruff), a four spade contract would most likely go down two. At any rate, both Easts decided to shoot it out and try to set declarer.

Against Nograwowicz, West cashed the ace and king of spades and continued with the queen. East now had to find a discard and at this table, threw a club, East’s long suit. Nograwowicz ruffed the spade lead, led a club to dummy’s ace and followed this up with the jack of diamonds. East declined to cover and Nograwicz inserted his queen which held. Declarer next led a small diamond, trumped in dummy. East rose with the ace on the subsequent trump lead and returned a club. Nograwowicz ruffed this, then ruffed another diamond in dummy, as East’s king dropped.

Declarer next cashed the king and queen of hearts, drawing the last two trumps. He then played the ace of diamonds dropping West’s ten, and his seven of diamonds was the tenth and game-going trick. This was a nifty plus 590 for Team Porcupine.

When Pas/Konejwicz were defending the same contract, Pas also cashed the ace and king of spades and continued with the queen. But on this trick, Konejwicz tossed a small diamond. This soon proved to be a winning discard. Declarer ruffed the spade and led a club to dummy’s ace. Konejwicz covered the lead of the jack of diamonds with his king as South won the ace. Next came a diamond ruff in dummy. Konejwicz captured the subsequent trump lead with his ace and declarer ruffed his club exit.

But now, when declarer tried to ruff another diamond in dummy, Konejwicz overruffed with the jack of trumps to set the contract. This was plus 100 for Team Porcupine and the combined scores represented a nice 12 imp pickup. This was an excellent reward for having the foresight to make a simple, but crucial discard.

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The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part CLI: A Difference in Discards

By Ray Adams
frankandarchie@yahoo.com

The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part CLI:  A Difference in Discards

  Poor Frank and Lucky Archie made different discards at a key moment in a hand just the other night at the local duplicate club. As it turned out, the card they threw away made a difference of 1530 points.

In the auction, 3NT was the so called “dinosaur” bid dating to the time of Charles Goren and showed a balanced hand with two spades and 16-18 HCP. When Lucky Archie played this hand, West led the queen of diamonds, ducked in dummy as East played the three. Having won this trick, West now shifted to the queen of clubs, won by declarer in hand.

Lucky Archie led a trump to the ten and ruffed a diamond. He then led another spade to dummy’s ace and ruffed another diamond, East’s ace dropping. This brought a big smile to the Lucky One’s face.

Declarer now drew the last enemy trump and led a club to the ace. Next came the king of diamonds and Lucky Archie laughed as he threw his losing club on this card. He then ruffed a club and led the king of hearts. Next came a small heart. When West played low, he inserted the ten. East won the queen and this was a quick down one.

When Poor Frank had his chance at the same contract, play started the same way, but after his diamond ruff dropped East’s ace and declarer then drew the last trump, play differed. Poor Frank now led the king of hearts and a heart to the ace. He tossed his last heart on the king of diamonds and led a heart. East’s queen popped up, declarer ruffed, and he later returned to dummy to toss his losing club on a heart. He soon claimed +1430. The difference in match points on this board allowed Poor Frank to slip past Lucky Archie for that evening’s laurels.

Later, when Poor Frank was discussing that evening’s hands with Janet, he said, “My favorite hand of the night was this 6♠ hand.” He then explained to her what both he and Lucky Archie had done.

“I thought Archie had a thing with the queen of hearts,” Janet said.

“So we thought,” Frank said, “but he must have upset her as she certainly deserted him on this hand.”

“Serves him right,” Janet said, “Now you, darling, certainly know how to keep a lady happy.”

 

 

 

 

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