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Common Game 2015-07-09 Board 1
West
Q643
AKJ9
QJ1075
North
875
J10876532
92
East
AK109
65
KQ4
AK63
South
J2
Q1087432
A9
84
D
1
West
North
East
South
3
3NT
P
4
P
4
P
5
P
6
P
6
P
7
P
P
X
P
P
P

Analysis by Stephen Cooper

Lightner Double

The Lightner Double is a lead-directing double of a slam contract, developed by the bridge pioneer Theodore Lightner of New York. The underlying hypothesis is that there is little point in doubling a slam bid by sane players; they are unlikely to go down more than one, and you are looking to gain only 50 or 100 points. Moreover, the double might tip them off how to save a trick. That trick may be the second undertrick. Worse, it may be the one that lets them make the slam.

If you study the literature, you will find hands where the contract is (say) 6, doubled for no apparent reason. The trump suit is something like AK98xx facing xxx. Declarer realizes that the double must indicate a 4/0 trump break. He thus trumps twice in his hand, cashes all his side winners, and endplays the doubler to make a slam he was never going to make.

On the other hand, there may be just one lead necessary to defeat a slam. Even if they might make the odd time, it is worth it to double to gain something like 1500 or 2200 points! There is sone controversy as to what the double shows. To start with, it suggests "an unusual lead". Often, this will be read as dummy's first bid suit. However, Doubler may simply want Leader to use his discretion. If Doubler has bid a suit, he definitely does not want that suit led!

Here, the bidding might go as shown; there are many other possibilities. North's double suggests he has a void somewhere, and South should have no problem figuring out where it is. Two final points: South might find the lead anyways; and North might worry they will run to 7NT. He does not know about partner's A. So the double has some risk.

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