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WHEN A defender holds, for example, Q108x and can see 9xx on his right, it is usually correct to lead the ten instead of a low card in case declarer has AJx. This deal illustrated a similar situation which, perhaps because the critical spot cards were lower, was missed by East at the table.

South opened One No-Trump (13-15 points), North raised to 2NT, and East could hardly intervene at the Three level. Not surprisingly, South refused the invitation to game and West led ]6 against 2NT. East took his ace and, with no future in his partner's suit (for West clearly held an entryless hand), switched to the six of hearts.

Declarer took a good view when he played low from hand. West won with his ten and returned a heart, but, with three stoppers in the suit and plenty of time, South could easily drive out both of the minor suit aces and he ended with nine tricks.

A heart return by East at trick 2 was clearly indicated but it might have made a big difference if he had returned _8 instead of his fourth highest. Suppose South covers with his nine - as before, West wins with the ten and returns _3. Now South has only two guards left in hearts and East can establish the suit to defeat the contract.

South can get home against this defence if he reads the situation correctly. He wins the first heart lead with the ace or queen and ducks any subsequent heart lead from East. West, on lead with his ten, will have no more hearts to play and the suit is shut out.