Bridge Deal of the Week (September 26 2018)

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West North East South
    1 Pass
1♠ 1NT! 3♠ 4
4♠ 5 6♠ Pass
Pass Dbl Pass Pass


East opened with 1. South passed. West responded 1♠ and North bid 1NT – the Sandwitch 1NT, meaning North held 4+ hearts and 4 + clubs. East jumped to 3♠, showing strength. South bid 4, West 4♠. North went to 5 and East declared 6♠.

South and West passed. North doubled.

North led the ♣6 to South`s Ace (trick 1). What card should South play after winning the first trick to defeat the contract?

Dealer: East

Vul: Both

Contract: 6♠ by West


The Lightner double is a lead directing penalty double of a slam contract asking the partner for an unusual lead. Usually the double means that the doubler has either a void or two top honors in a side suit.

So – armed with such knowledge – what suit should South choose? South knows that North has at least four hearts and four clubs and judging by the bidding East does not have a 5-card suit of spades, as East opened with 1. So it might be that East/West found a 4-4 fit in spades. South holds two spades and if East does not have five spades, then North should have three spades.

Of course North`s Sandwitch 1NT and later the bid of 5 were meant as sacrifices, but North might have three spades, five hearts and five clubs and a diamond void, so the double describes North`s hand spot on.

After all the Lightner double excludes the trump lead, but also usually excludes any suit bid by the defenders, guiding the partner to lead the side suit bid by the opponents.

That leaves only diamonds. South led back a diamond, West played the Q and North ruffed (trick 2).  North exited with a heart, the declarer won the trick with the K and took the next two with the ♠K and ♠Q (trick 3, 4, 5). After the trumps were pulled, West cashed in dummy`s A (trick 6) and four diamonds, ruffing the last one in hand (tricks 7, 8, 9, 10).

Then West led a club and ruffed (trick 11), led a heart from dummy’s hand and ruffed (trick 12) and led the ♣K to dummy’s last spade (trick 13).

  ♠ 432  
  ♣ J8764  
♠ AJ98 Deal ♠ KQ65
 K  A73
 Q963 ♦ AKJ82
♣ K952 ♣ T
  ♠ T7  
  ♣ AQ3  

This time the Lightner double hit the nail on the head, and E/W were helpless despite a great trump fit and 30 HCP. Had East repeated diamonds, E/W could have found another great trump suit and the contract of 6 would have been cold.  

But what`s the best course of action in case the opponents make a  Lightner double? If it strongly indicated that one of the opponents has a void, and the declarer´s side has sufficient strength, then a notrump slam could be a solution.  Definitely this is the case with with this hand, N/S could have won 12 tricks playing 6NT.

Par Contract Analysis

The par contract on this deal is 6NT by South.

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