The Importance of a Nine
Things got exciting just the other night when Poor Frank met Lucky Archie on the last round. The winner of that evening’s festivities depended on the outcome of the following crucial hand;
After East opened an eccentric 3♣, Poor Frank arrived in a 5♦ contract on the bidding shown. One of the kibitzers actually asked another if North had recently been reading a bad bridge book on cue-bidding. It did not take Lucky Archie long to make a thunder clap of a double.
The Lucky One surmised from the bidding that North was relatively short in diamonds so he led the ♦Q. Poor Frank took dummy’s ace, shaking his head gloomily as East showed out. He cashed dummy’s two top spades and ruffed a spade. Next came dummy’s high hearts and the ace of clubs. Lucky Archie followed to all these tricks. Poor Frank ruffed yet another spade and cashed the queen of hearts, sluffing a club from dummy. Declarer had actually won the first nine tricks, but he was not yet quite home.
He exited with a club, ruffed by Lucky Archie. The Lucky One now had led his jack of diamonds, won by declarer’s king. Poor Frank advanced his last heart and the dummy could not be prevented from scoring the eight of diamonds in a brilliant coupe en passant on the part of Poor Frank. It was a +750 for Poor Frank and the top spot in that evening’s competition.
“I had to double,” Lucky Archie said to his partner afterwards. “I had five diamonds to the queen, jack, and ten.”
“Next time, make sure you also have the nine,” was East’s heated reply.