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Bridge 11/21
If you need it, try to grab it
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    Author Maya Angelou said in an interview, "I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels."
    At the bridge table, most of the time the defenders sit back and let declarer do what he wants, and they hope that he will misstep or misguess and go down. Occasionally, though, they have to grab the deal by the lapels and take a positive step to defeat the contract.
    That applies to this deal. In three no-trump, what is the best play by South and what is the correct counter by the defense? And what do you think of the bidding?
    The auction has a modern taste. In the old days, South would have responded two no-trump. But that sometimes left the responder awkwardly placed with game-invitational strength and no four-card major. Now, two no-trump invites game (10-plus to 12 points) and three no-trump promises 13 to 15 points.
    South, with three soft suits (queens and jacks — "quacks") and 4-3-3-3 distribution, is correct to grab no-trump and not show his diamond support.
    Declarer must establish his diamond suit. And since he will lose the lead twice, there is a risk that the defenders will establish and run the heart suit — but only if East wins the first diamond trick. South should play a spade to dummy's king and call for a low diamond. If East ducks, the contract succeeds. West wins with his diamond ace but cannot safely lead another heart.
    East should put up his diamond king, trying to grab the trick. He gives quiet thanks when his royal wins. He returns a heart, and the defenders get three hearts and two diamonds for down one.
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