East's defence on this deal can best be described as "mechanical". If he had asked himself what he needed to find in his partner's hand, he might well have come up with the killing defence.

South opened One No-trump (12-14 points), North raised directly to game and West led the nine of clubs against Three No-trumps. Declarer played low from dummy and East won with the king. The only chance seemed to lie in the heart suit, and East switched to !2. South played low and West won with the jack.

Now declarer could not be prevented from making his contract and in fact came to an overtrick when West, not unreasonably, returned a heart.

East was on the right track when he played back a heart, but he chose the wrong card. If he returns !10 instead of !2, declarer can no longer preserve his best tenace. His best shot is to win with !A and play on diamonds, hoping that West holds the ace, when his hearts will be safe from further attack.

But when it is East who turns up with the #A and plays another heart, it is all over.