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Defensive Bidding Scheme: "Cooperative Slam Lightner"

 

In the 1960s, Dorothy Hayden Truscott put forth the following scheme for what she termed, "Cooperative Slam Double" (which I mentioned also in a comment to the Bridge Winners article "Is this a cardinal sin?"), to help a pair determine whether to sacrifice against a slam. For clarity, assume that North has bid the slam.

1. East would

1A. Pass with 0 or 1 defensive tricks (This and subsequent defensive-trick counts refer to the player's own hand.)

1B. Double with 2+ defensive tricks (which West would nearly always leave in)

2. Assuming case 1A, West would

2A. Sacrifice with 0 defensive tricks

2B. Double with 1 defensive trick

2C. Pass with 2 defensive tricks

3. Assuming case 2B, East would

3A. Sacrifice with 0 defensive tricks

3B. Pass with 1 defensive trick

I don't recall whether Truscott defined "defensive trick," but in another comment to "Is this a cardinal sin?", I proposed that a qualifying holding be a natural trump trick, KQ or better in a side suit where opponents have shown length, or A in a side suit where they haven't shown a secondary fit but we don't have reason to think that one of the opponents is void.

Below is my attempt to adapt Truscott's scheme to incorporate Lightner lead-direction, which I've termed, "Cooperative Slam Lightner." In this discussion, the terms "Declarer" and "Dummy" are prospective labels for the pair that has just bid the slam, "Partner 1" refers to the player in direct seat over the slam bidder, and "Partner 2" refers to the slam bidder's RHO. Slam bidder as Declarer is treated separately from slam bidder as Dummy because this distinction affects which Partner must be provided the option to lead-direct.

Case I: Declarer Is Slam Bidder

1. Partner 1 would

1A. Pass with 0 or 1 defensive tricks

1B. Double with 2+ defensive tricks

2. Assuming case 1A, Partner 2 would

2A. Pass to convey the meaning equivalent to a Lightner Double (which could be used also with a 2-defensive-trick hand that can stand a lead in the probable Lightner suit)

2B. Sacrifice with 0 defensive tricks and no interest in using Lightner

2C. Double with at least 1 defensive trick and no interest in using Lightner

3. Assuming case 2C, Partner 1 would

3A. Pass with 1 defensive trick

3B. Consider sacrificing with 0 defensive tricks

Case II: Dummy Is Slam Bidder

1. Partner 1 would

1A. Double for a Lightner lead

1B. Pass (which would say nothing about number of defensive tricks)

2. Assuming case 1B, Partner 2 would

2A. Pass with 2+ defensive tricks

2B. Double with 0 or 1 defensive trick(s)

3. Assuming case 2B, Partner 1 would

3A. Pass with 2+ defensive tricks

3B. Sacrifice with 0 defensive tricks

3C. Consider sacrificing with 1 defensive trick

If the auction implies that one Partner is highly unlikely to hold more than 1 defensive trick (for example, because that Partner has made a 3-level preempt), then this scheme could be advantageously extended to differentiate Partner 1 as preemptor from Partner 1 as advancer. For example, in Case II, if Partner 1 were considered the preemptor, then step 2B could be replaced by "Sacrifice with 0 defensive tricks" and "Double with 1 defensive trick" and step 3 could be modified accordingly. However, where preemptor would be the prospective opening leader, the distinction between preemptor and advancer does not seem capable of providing added information about the number of defensive tricks.

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