Friday, June 17, 2011

Jennbridge: Lightner Double

I had the opportunity to make a Lightner double the other night playing in a team game on BBO.

Lightner Double - A Double of a slam bid, to request partner to make an unusual lead. Typically anticipates the player making the Lightner Double can generate the setting trick by ruffing the lead of a long side suit.

The double excludes the normal lead of the suit bid by the defenders, excludes the lead of a trump and often calls for the lead of Dummy's first bid suit.  The opening leader is expected to work out the correct lead based on the auction and her holding.

       Bridge base:  Lightner Double

East Deals
E-W Vul
♠ A Q J 4
A Q J 8 6
A 4
♣ A 10
♠ 9
K 10 5 4 3
Q 9
♣ K J 6 4 3
♠ 8 7 6

K J 10 8 7 3 2
♣ Q 9 7
♠ K 10 5 3 2
9 7 2
6 5
♣ 8 5 2

3 Pass
PassDblPass3 ♠
Pass4 NTPass5 ♣
Pass6 ♠DblAll pass
After I opened 3 diamonds the opponents bid strongly, and, it seemed to me, confidently to a spade slam.  From my point of view the slam was likely to make, and our best chance to beat it would be for me to get a heart ruff at trick one.  Left to his own devices, partner would probably lead my suit, diamonds, and we wouldn't have another chance to set it.  Accordingly I doubled, asking for an unusual lead.
Partner duly led a heart.  Declarer finessed and I ruffed.  The slam went down a couple of tricks and we got a good score.  As it turns out, it wasn't a good slam and would have gone down anyway, but the benefits outweigh the risks for this action.  Setting a slam which would otherwise make generates a huge payoff, versus a small loss if the doubled contract makes.

Bob pointed out later that he had to choose between his two 5-card suits for the opening lead and he chose correctly.  He reasoned that I was more likely to be short in hearts based on the takeout double and his own heart holding. I further pointed out that it was more likely that I had club length and heart shortness for my opening diamond preempt, rather than heart length and club shortness.

Stay alert for these great opportunities!

See you at the table! 

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