The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part CLXIX: Once a King

The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part CLXIX: Once a King

By Ray Adams
frankandarchie@yahoo.com

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.”

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The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part CLXVIII: Bad Bid Archie

The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part CLXVIII: Bad Bid Archie

By Ray Adams
frankandarchie@yahoo.com

Poor Frank could hardly believe what he was seeing just the other night at the local duplicate club as he watched Lucky Archie and his novice partner pull bid after bid out of their bidding boxes. Even so, he still had to find a way to set a truly atrocious contract.

 

 

Lucky Archie arrived at the club that evening without a partner and the only one available was a newer player with just 18 master points to his name. That explains some of the bidding. When North bid 2 with his 12 points, he obviously had no idea that he was making a forcing reverse bid. The Lucky One now overbid with a 3♦ call. But when North bid 4♣, Lucky Archie tried to sign off at 4NT. Of course, North had been taught that 4NT was always Blackwood and showed two aces. When Archie made another sign off attempt at 5♠, North bid 6♣, and this horrible auction finally ended at 6NT.

Poor Frank wondered if he should double, then realized there was really no need, as no one else in the room would reach the giddy heights of 6NT on this hand. He merely shook his head, led the queen of hearts, and hoped for the best. Lucky Archie won his ace and immediately tested the clubs, leading a small one to the jack and East’s queen.   Back came a heart, declarer tossing a spade as dummy’s king took the trick.

Declarer led a diamond to East’s jack and his queen, which held. He now repeated the club finesse, dummy’s ten winning. The ace dropped Poor Frank’s king, and the two long clubs were cashed, Archie tossing spades and Poor Frank a couple of hearts. Lucky Archie had a phantom vision of a possible Vienna Coup and now cashed dummy’s stiff ace of spades. His eyes popped when Poor Frank’s king dropped on this trick.

The Lucky One now led a diamond to East’s king and his ace. When he cashed the queen of spades, Poor Frank’s threw a worthless diamond. The Lucky One now cashed his ten of diamonds, then tossed his six of diamonds on the table.

“Down one,” he said sadly. But Poor Frank had to follow with his last heart and Lucky Archie had somehow made this terrible contract.

“Well, Frankie, baby, thanks, but if you hadn’t tossed that diamond, I would have been down,” Archie said.

Poor Frank was beside himself as he discussed that evening’s hands with Janet. “Not only does he not know how to bid, but he thinks a five outranks a six!”

“Well, darling,” Janet said, “I guess the only consolation is that it’s better to be beaten by an idiot than to be one yourself.”

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The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part CLXVII: A Goose and a Duck

The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part CLXVII: A Goose and a Duck

By Ray Adams
frankandarchie@yahoo.com

Another fateful hand decided the fate of Poor Frank and Lucky Archie the other night at the local duplicate club.

 

Poor Frank arrived in the par four spade contract and Archie led the jack of diamonds. Poor Frank won dummy’s ace and drew trumps in two rounds, ending in hand. He then led the five of clubs. Lucky Archie shook his head and sneered at Poor Frank’s feeble attempt to get him to rise with the ace.

So, dummy’s queen took the trick.

But now Poor Frank took advantage of Lucky Archie’s duck and quickly cashed the king and queen of diamonds, then played his king of clubs. The Lucky One was now truly endplayed, having to either give Poor Frank a ruff and a sluff or break the heart suit for declarer. Poor Frank soon claimed his game contract for a nice above average board that allowed him to slide ahead of the Lucky One and into first place.

Red Dyeman, sitting East, was beside himself. “Archie, you dolt,” he said. “All you have to do is win your ace of clubs and exit a club or a diamond and declarer has to go down.”

“I thought Frank wanted me to play the ace and that’s why I didn’t,” Archie said, defending himself.

Janet laughed later when Poor Frank told her this story.

“How delicious,” she said. “Let’s call this story ‘The Goose and the Duck.’ I love it. Sometimes life just doesn’t get any better.”

“Actually sharing stories like this with you does make it just a little better,” Poor Frank smiled.

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The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part CLXVI: Wrong Play Archie

The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part CLXVI: Wrong Play Archie

By Ray Adams
frankandarchie@yahoo.com

Poor Frank and Lucky Archie were at it again just the other night at the local duplicate club.   The two were neck and neck and whoever did better on the last board would win.

Poor Frank took a shot at the nine trick game rather than the eleven tricks needed in 5 when North showed a less than sterling hand. West led the four of hearts and this went to dummy’s five. Lucky Archie must have been in love with his queen of hearts, for – instead of playing this card – he inserted the six of hearts instead. Poor Frank won his ten and knew he had to make something of clubs to come to nine tricks.

Declarer crossed to dummy’s jack of diamonds and led a club, playing the jack when Archie followed low. This lost to West’s king.   Due to Archie’s play at trick one, West was certain that Poor Frank had started with the king, queen, and ten of hearts, while East had been dealt the six and two. Therefore, West decided to clear the hearts, relying of the ace of spades as a later entry to the last two good hearts. As readers can see, this ploy would have failed if that had been declarer’s holding, as another club finesse would have produced more than enough tricks for the offense.

So West cashed the ace of hearts, dropping Poor Frank’s king and then continued a heart. West was shocked when Lucky Archie won this trick with the queen, although not as shocked as Poor Frank. The Lucky One then put the jack of spades of the table. West won the ace and cashed two hearts for down two and a top board for Lucky Archie.

It turned out that many Souths were in 3NT with the lead of a small heart. But at every other table, the East player had put in the queen of hearts, undoubtedly the correct book play. But this now gave declarer an extra heart stopper and clubs were soon established, allowing the other declarers to made ten tricks in their NT contracts. Two declarers were down one in 5♦ and one made 4♦. So Poor Frank got a big goose egg on this board and Lucky Archie won that evening’s laurels.

Later, when Frank was discussing the hands with Janet, he said, “Why do I have to sit miserably and listen to everyone calling Archie brilliant when he makes plays like that?”

“You’re right, darling,” Janet said. “If they really believe that nonsense, why don’t they call him Brilliant Archie?”

 

 

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The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part CLXV: Poor Frank’s Agony

The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part CLXV: Poor Frank’s Agony

By Ray Adams
frankandarchie@yahoo.com

Readers will recall that Jack Leeder recently went from ecstasy to agony to ecstasy and finally back to agony. Not long after that incident, a similar fate befell Poor Frank.

The bidding requires some explanation. After Poor Frank pre-empted, Lucky Archie chose to take a shot at 3NT, perhaps relying on his legendary luck for a spade stopper. When the 3NT call was passed around to Poor Frank, he could not believe his good fortune. Lucky Archie was going for at least 800 and he, Poor Frank, would once again grace the winner’s circle. So he doubled to make certain his partner led a spade. The double scared Lucky Archie, who made an SOS redouble. However, North thought his partner was only trying for a higher score and passed. Poor Frank was practically drooling. He knew he would soon be writing plus 1600 in his column.

However, there was one slight flaw in Poor Frank’s plan. West had no spade to lead. After some thought, Poor Frank’s partner put the ten of hearts down on the table. This ran to declarer’s queen. Lucky Archie now knocked out the ace of diamonds, thankful that it was not Poor Frank who held this card.

Lucky Archie next ran the three diamond tricks, then cashed the ace and queen of clubs, Poor Frank dropping the ten and jack on these cards. For once in his bridge career, Lucky Archie had been counting. He knew Poor Frank had started with seven spades and he had seen three diamonds, one heart, and two clubs. Therefore, West had to have the remaining clubs. The Lucky One now led the four of clubs and played dummy’s eight when West followed with the seven. This took the trick as Poor Frank tossed his ace of spades. Declarer soon claimed nine tricks with two hearts, three diamonds, and four clubs.

“That’s 3NT, doubled and redoubled, making,” he said with an obnoxious grin to his rival. Poor Frank looked like he wanted to rip his cards in two and said nothing.

“Now I know how Jack Leeder felt,” he said to Janet later as the two discussed the hands.

“Don’t worry, darling,” she said, “he may have caused you agony this time, but there’ll be times when you’ll enjoy the ecstasy of making him look like the idiot he is.”

“You’re right, dearest,” Poor Frank said. “Only an idiot would bid 3NT on three spades to the nine after his right hand opponent pre-empted in spades. But does that mean the Great Shuffler smiles on idiots?”

“I think it only means the Great One has a great sense of humor,” Janet said.

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The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part CLXIV: The Mystery of the Ten of Diamonds

The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part CLXIV: The Mystery of the Ten of Diamonds

By Ray Adams
frankandarchie@yahoo.com

 

Poor Frank was on the verge of winning just the other night at the local duplicate club, when Lucky Archie had a chance to pass him on the last board of the evening.

 

Lucky Archie opened a weak two heart bid and 2NT asked for an outside feature. Three spades revealed that Archie had the king of spades and this was all Red Dyeman needed to hear. He knew Archie needed a good board to beat Poor Frank and he took a shot at the grand slam.

Poor Frank led the king of diamonds, taken by dummy’s ace. Declarer then drew trumps in four rounds, ending in hand. Meanwhile, Poor Frank sluffed two clubs and two diamonds.

The Lucky One realized he was a trick or two short, so he negotiated the club finesse, playing a low club and inserting dummy’s queen when Poor Frank played low. When the queen held, a smile played around Lucky Archie’s lips. He now knew he had the contract made. He cashed the ace of clubs and ruffed a club. Poor Frank threw the jack of diamonds on this card.

Lucky Archie now led his last trump, hoping to catch his rival in a squeeze. Poor Frank certainly seemed like a man caught in a vise. A look of agony crossed his face as he tossed the queen of diamonds on the table.

“Not discarding any spades, are we, Frankie baby,” the Lucky One said with a sneer. Poor Frank refused to answer or even make eye contact, instead staring silently at his remaining cards. Declarer crossed to dummy with the queen of spades, then returned to the king of spades as East let go the jack on this lead.

Lucky Archie smirked as he led his last spade. Poor Frank played the five in tempo, but Lucky Archie thought he noticed a slight tremor in his rival’s hand as he placed this card on the table. Lucky Archie confidently called for the nine of spades. But then East produced the ten and cashed a club to set this contract two tricks. Poor Frank had won that evening’s laurels and Lucky Archie was too stunned to say anything. Poor Frank stared at the last card in his hand as though it were a holy relic. It was the ten of diamonds.

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The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part CLXIII: A Sneaky 6NT

The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part CLXIII: A Sneaky 6NT

By Ray Adams
frankandarchie@yahoo.com

Just the other night at the local duplicate club, Poor Frank got some retribution for all the wrongs he had suffered at the hands of Lucky Archie over the years.

After his partner opened 1 and the duo failed to find a major suit fit, Poor Frank, with his 19 points, took a shot at 6NT. Lucky Archie made the opening lead of the jack of hearts and declarer was horrified when he saw the dummy. He was missing the ace and king of clubs!   Obviously, Archie didn’t have both of them or he would have thrown three or four double cards on the table and then smirked as he set his rival. But were they divided, with East having one and Archie the other? Poor Frank hoped so or else he had no chance. After winning dummy’s ace of hearts, he led a small club at trick two. East ducked, hoping declarer had something like a king/jack tenace.   Poor Frank played his jack and Lucky Archie won the king.

The Lucky One gave his exit little thought, tossing the ten of hearts on the table. A club was thrown from dummy as East followed and Poor Frank won his king. Declarer now ran all dummy’s diamonds, discarding a club and a small heart from hand. He then came to the ace of spades and cashed the queen of hearts, tossing dummy’s last club. East had not shown any distress in discarding up to this point, but now had to make a fatal choice: either a small spade or the ace of clubs had to go. East chose the spade, hoping Archie could stop the suit.

But it was not to be. Poor Frank now cashed the queen of spades, led a spade to dummy’s king, and the six of spades took the twelfth trick. East had to jettison his ace of clubs on this last trick, causing Lucky Archie’s eyes to bug out.

“Why didn’t you play that card when he led a club!” Archie yelled.

“Why didn’t you return a club when you won the king?” East said.

Later, when Poor Frank discussed the evening’s hands with Janet, he said, “Well, sweetheart, it is not the kind of music to which I am accustomed, but I could certainly get used to it.’

“Yes, you could, darling,” she said, “only doesn’t Archie’s whiny voice give it an off note?”

“No,” he said, “that’s the sound that makes it so sweet.”

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The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part CLXII: Three Paths to Slam

The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part CLXII: Three Paths to Slam

By Ray Adams
frankandarchie@yahoo.com

  An interesting hand came up just the other night at the local duplicate club. Three of the club’s top declarers had a shot at it.

When Lucky Archie held the South hand, he bid 6♠ at his second turn. This turned out to be an easy contract. West led the queen of hearts, won in dummy. Archie then tested spades, playing the ace and a spade to the queen. When he saw the suit was breaking 4-1, he cashed the king of hearts, ruffed a heart in dummy, drew one more round of trumps and cashed clubs and diamonds. West eventually got the high trump, but it was plus 980 to the Lucky One.

Jack Leeder varied from Lucky Archie and bid 6NT at his second turn, perhaps acting on his hand’s lack of distribution. He also received the opening lead of the queen of hearts, again won by dummy’s ace. Jack now tested spades, for he saw that if this suit broke 3-2, he would have an easy twelve tricks. But it was not to be.

Jack was not discouraged. He now cashed all his clubs, tossing a small diamond on dummy’s last high club. He then cashed the ace and king of diamonds, his last high spade and then threw West in with a spade. West had to lead from his jack/nine of hearts into Jack’s king/ten. Twelve tricks were there for a nifty plus 990 to Mr. Leeder.

Poor Frank duplicated Jack Leeder’s bidding, probably for the same reason, and undoubtedly also because 990 scores more than 980. But West led the five of diamonds against Poor Frank’s 6NT, and this was taken by declarer’s ace. This lead was a much tougher one than Jack had received and Poor Frank had his work cut out for him. He also saw twelve easy tricks if spades behaved, but the king and queen of spades revealed the bad news. Poor Frank now realized he was in trouble unless West also had the queen and jack of hearts. He immediately rectified the count by giving up a diamond to East.

Back came a diamond and Poor Frank won in dummy and went after the clubs, tossing a small spade on dummy’s last high club. He noticed that West threw the queen of hearts on this card and Poor Frank allowed a small smile to play on his face. Was the situation the way he visualized it? He cashed dummy’s ace of spades. West let go of the jack, but declarer knew he still had the ten. Now came a heart to the king, declarer not taking the finesse West had encouraged. Yes, the jack dropped on this and Poor Frank soon scored up 990, a tie for top.

When he later described the hand to Janet, she said, “You should have gotten a cold top just for the way you played it. But that doesn’t happen in matchpoints. However, darling, I’ll give you some extra points.” They both smiled as she squeezed his hand.

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The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part CLXI: The Agony and the Ecstasy

The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part CLXI: The Agony and the Ecstasy

By Ray Adams
frankandarchie@yahoo.com

 

Readers will recall that in Poor Frank CLX, our hero bid and made six diamonds against Lucky Archie. His result looked to be the best that evening, but Jack Leeder found himself in a higher scoring contract.

 

Readers should note that this hand has not been rotated to make South declarer, but has been diagrammed the same way it was played, with North declarer this time.

Jack Leeder’s hand was so good, it would have been very difficult for him to stay out of slam once his partner gave him a limit raise. However, once East led the seven of diamonds, he went into throes of agony. He was missing the ace and king of trumps in a slam! How could he ever make it?

But Jack was not one to give up and he thought of a possible swindle. He won the opening lead with dummy’s king and immediately led dummy’s jack of spades. West covered with the king, Jack ducked, and East threw down the ace with a deep scowl on his face. Yes, yes, yes! Jack was in complete ecstasy. All he would have to do was ruff a heart in dummy and finesse West’s marked ten of spades. He would be the only one to make six spades in the entire room. And he would win that evening’s duplicate.

It would be about time. Jack was plenty tired of hearing about how Lucky Archie and Poor Frank were always fighting it out for first place. No one ever talked about Jack Leeder. No one ever gave Jack Leeder his due. Now he would show them he was the club’s best player.

“You need to play a card from the dummy, Jack,” his partner said.

Jack came out of his revery long enough to see that East’s three of diamonds lay on the table.

“Oh, play low,” he said.

Dummy followed his instructions and West ruffed to set the contract.

Suddenly, Jack was once again overcome by agony, knowing that he would not finish in the top two and maybe not even in the top three. As usual, the spotlight would fall on either Poor Frank or Lucky Archie and everyone would be talking about them when they exited the studio. And he would leave unnoticed, with no one even saying something like “Poor Jack” or “Lucky Jack.” No, he was just Jack Leeder, the invisible man at the table.

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The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part CLX: Bad Karma

The Adventures of Poor Frank, Part CLX: Bad Karma

By Ray Adams
frankandarchie@yahoo.com

Poor Frank needed a good board against his rival on the last hand of the night and they drew the following cards:

 

Lucky Archie led the queen of hearts against Poor Frank’s small slam. Poor Frank could not help but notice when the dummy came down that there was a slight flaw in this contract. He was missing the ace and king of spades!   But ever the trooper, Poor Frank gave away nothing with his expression and labored on.

He won the lead in dummy and drew trumps in two rounds, ending in dummy. Next came the ace and king of clubs and two spade sluffs. He then played the king of hearts and ruffed a heart. Now all suits but trumps and spades had been eliminated. He led a low spade from hand, and Lucky Archie made the fine play of ducking. However, when Red Dyeman won his ace, he had to give declarer a ruff and a sluff. Poor Frank soon claimed his bold slam.

The normally phlegmatic Red suddenly became angry and yelled at Archie, “You dolt, why didn’t you lead a spade? Now he has no chance. No chance at all!”

“But, Red,” Archie said, “how would I ever know to choose a spade when I have the queen, jack, and ten of hearts?”

“They argued for about ten minutes,” Frank told Janet later as they discussed the evening’s boards. “I have seldom seen Red so mad. And you know what, I agree with Archie. He made a good lead and a good play when he ducked the spade.”

“Yes, darling,” Janet said, “but think of all the bad karma Archie’s accumulated over the years. Think of all the times he’s been congratulated for being an idiot. It was about time he got criticized for doing the right thing.”

“You’re right, sweetheart,” Frank said. “Maybe that’s why Archie looks so stoop-shouldered lately. It’s the weight from the invisible backpack he’s using to carry all that bad karma.”

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