The most pro­lific isn’t slow­ing down

Cecil Whig - - & & - By Phillip Alder

The most pro­lific bridge-book au­thor is David Bird from Eng­land, with well over 100 ti­tles. The monks of St. Ti­tus, led by the ego­cen­tric Ab­bot, are his most fa­mous char­ac­ters.

In “The Ab­bot, the Par­rot and the Ber­muda Bowl” (Mas­ter Point Press), the Bozwambi tribe from the Up­per Bhumpopo has qual­i­fied for the 2015 Ber­muda Bowl in In­dia. The play­ers had learned bridge from mis­sion­ar­ies sent there by the Ab­bot many years ago. When the Ab­bot vis­its the tribe and learns of their suc­cess, he in­sists on be­ing added to the team. His teammates are Miss Na­booba, Mrs. Okoku, Mbozi and the Witch­doc­tor; his part­ner is the Par­rot, the tribe’s best player. The Par­rot made this four-spade con­tract look easy. What did he do af­ter West led the heart queen?

De­clarer needed to find trumps split­ting 2-1, but he still might have lost one spade and three di­a­monds if East got on lead and shifted to a high di­a­mond, West hav­ing the ace hov­er­ing over South’s king. To max­i­mize his chances, the Par­rot won the first trick, ruffed his re­main­ing heart on the board and led a trump. When East played the 10, the Par­rot flicked a low spade onto the ta­ble. West won with his queen, but had no win­ning de­fense. If he had played a club, de­clarer would have drawn the miss­ing trump and claimed 10 tricks: four spades, one heart, four clubs and the heart ruff. When West, in des­per­a­tion, shifted to a di­a­mond, hop­ing South had only queen-third, the con­tract made with an over­trick. The deals are in­struc­tive and the prose en­ter­tain­ing -- as usual from this au­thor.

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