Almost every issue of International Popular Bridge includes an article by David Bird featuring some bridge in darkest Africa. The players are mostly Africans with the witch doctor as the strongest player, analyst and general killer.

Dealer: North. Neither Vul

7 2
6 5
A 10 8 6 4
A K Q 4
J 9 3
A Q 10 2
J 5
J 10 9 7
Q 5
J 8 7 3
K Q 7 2
6 5 2
A K 10 8 6 4
K 9 4
9 3
8 3
West North East South
1 Pass 1
Pass 2 Pass 3
Pass 4 End

The witch doctor sat East in todays hand. North and South reached a reasonable spade game. West opened the Jack of clubs which was won in dummy.

At trick two, South led a heart from dummy to his king and West’s ace. West made the brilliant lead of a trump to East’s queen and South’s ace. A club by South put the lead back in dummy and declarer led a second heart. The witch doctor rose with his jack to gain the lead.

David Bird
David Bird

Then he led a second trump to leave declarer with three sure heart losers and one trump loser fordown one.

‘Tough luck,” said North.

“Yes, it was.” said the witch doctor. South had an unusual safety play to bring home the contract. When he led the heart from dummy at trick two he should have stuck in the nine and not the king,”

“What difference would that have made?  asked South.

“The contract trick.” replied the witch doctor. “West would win with the 10 and lead the same spade he did lead, but when you led the second heart from dummy, West would be forced to win the trick and could not lead a second trump without losing his trump trick.”