The Adventures of Poor Frank: Criss-Cross Archie

Poor Frank and Lucky Archie were neck and neck just the other night at the local duplicate club. They were playing each other when the following hand came up on the last board of the evening:

By Ray Adams.

bridge hand start bidding 11th June

In the auction, 2NT was a forcing raise in hearts, 4♥ was a sign off, and North, with his great hand, made one more slam try with the 5♦ bid. When Poor Frank showed diamond values, North bid 7♥, knowing how badly Poor Frank wanted to beat his rival. In actual fact, not everyone bid 6♥ on this hand, so if North had merely settled for the small slam, Poor Frank surely would have won that evening. But now the stakes were higher. Lucky Archie considered a double, but realized that setting the grand one trick would be good enough for an overall victory.

Archie tossed the king of clubs on the table, smiling to himself when he saw the dummy. There was no way Poor Frank was going to make this hand. Enough was enough and he would be king of the studio one more time. Poor Frank won the ace of clubs, having really no choice, and drew trumps in four rounds, tossing a spade from dummy on the last one. He then ran the diamonds, reaching the following end position:

end game cards

When Poor Frank led dummy’s nine of diamonds, he had no trouble tossing a small spade. Lucky Archie, on the other hand, had a much larger problem. If he tossed a spade, Poor Frank would cash dummy’s ace of spades, ruff a club and claim the thirteenth trick with the queen of spades. Lucky Archie could see this coming, so he decided to let go of a club. Poor Frank now ruffed a club, dropping Lucky Archie’s queen and returned to the good dummy via the ace of spades. Making seven hearts.

“What happened?’ Lucky Archie said. “How did you make it?   I feel like I was double crossed.”

“Actually you were criss-crossed, Archie,” Poor Frank said smiling. It was clear from the look on Archie’s face that he had no idea what had happened to him.

“You should have seen Archie,” Poor Frank later said to Janet. “He looked like he had fallen into a rabbit hole.”

“Off with his head,” Janet said, laughing. “Off with his head.”

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