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The Independent Online
SEE WHAT you think of West's alibi after his unsuccessful defence against South's slam on this deal. Politely (for I was East) I agreed that he had faced a difficult problem.

North opened 1 no-trumps (12-14 points) and, for once not playing any exotic defence to 1 no-trumps, I overcalled with a natural Two Clubs. South forced with Three Spades, was supported by his partner, and went on to Six Spades after learning of two aces opposite. My partner led 29 and, after winning with dummy's ace, declarer drew trumps in two rounds with 4A and 4Q.

Next he led a low heart from dummy to the seven, jack and king. (He looked disappointed; on my overcall, I was favourite to hold !K.) West could count seven spades, two hearts, 2A; and presumably South held #A too: 11 tricks. If he passively returned a club, South would play off his remaining trumps and dummy's two top hearts. I would have to keep a club and West, discarding before dummy, a heart. Neither of us could retain a diamond guard.

In an attempt to break up the squeeze, West played back a heart but dummy won and declarer still had a heart to play after cashing his trumps. The double squeeze worked; South made #J for his 12th trick.

West should have paid more attention to my !7. This surely showed a doubleton. A diamond return was essential - not a low one, for then West would be squeezed in the red suits, but the king!

"Yes, I saw that," lied West. "But I hoped that declarer held #A Q and might finesse." But why should he finesse when the squeeze was certain to work?