A Squeeze in Vain
Frank Benson knew he was probably the best player in his local club. It’s just that he usually didn’t get the respect he deserved. In fact, things had gotten so bad that Frank had picked up the nickname “Poor Frank” and it was difficult to find a local player who called him anything else. “Poor Frank,” they would say, “he endplayed his right hand opponent three times and only got an average board.” Or, “Poor Frank, he plays the hands and defends so much better than that Ian Archibald, but he just can’t seem to beat him.” The following hand is a good example of how Poor Frank got his name:
North opened 2♣, strong, artificial and forcing. Poor Frank responded 2♦, waiting in their system, and soon found himself in 6♦. West led the ♣9, covered by the queen and king and won with the ace.
Poor Frank now drew trumps, hoping for a 2-2 split, then conceding a trick to the ♦Q when it became apparent that West had a winner. West exited with the ♠10. Poor Frank studied this card carefully and decided that East probably held the ♠Q. If this player also had long hearts, there just might be a squeeze on the hand. Poor Frank won the ♠A and ran diamonds to reach the following end position:
When Poor Frank played dummy’s ♦2, East could not take the pressure. If he threw a spade, Poor Frank’s jack would be the twelfth trick. If he tossed a heart, Poor Frank would discard a spade and run the hearts to make the slam. Poor Frank had won the day on this elegant squeeze! But had he really? At the other tables, North was declarer and East led the ♦8. It was now easy for the declarers to pick up the diamond suit for no losers and concede a spade. Some had even made seven when East tossed two hearts without thinking about the consequences. Thus, this board was actually below average for Poor Frank. It had been a squeeze in vain.
As the players exited the studio, they could be heard saying, “Poor Frank!” to our hero as he spun his tale of woe.