A Bridge Phantasmagoria
A “LIGHTNER” BOOMERANG
Way back in 1959, Theodore Lightner of New York propounded a better use for a double of a slam contract voluntarily bid by capable opponents. The normal penalty double to gain an extra 50 or 100 points is not worth the candle, as occasionally the declarer, warned of mal-distribution, will make the contract which otherwise he would have failed to make and the loss becomes astronomical.
The ”Lightner” double calls for a specific lead. It excludes the lead of a trump or a side suit bid by either defender, or an unbid suit and more often than not, requests a lead of the first side suit bid by dummy as in this example.
Four No-trump was Roman Key-card and Five Spades showed two controls plus the queen of hearts. North recklessly bid the grand without asking for the missing king, and East, who had not previously had had any opportunity to bring it into use, thought that here was the ideal chance.
North however also knew all about the “Lightner Double” and rightfully concluded that it was based on a void of diamonds. It followed that if partner did not have the king of diamonds, then West must have it and the finesse was on. Furthermore partner must have at least one of the black queens.
A switch to 7NT was clearly marked. North easily wrapped up that contract, remarking that he had 15 tricks, much to East’s discomfiture. As this was in Match pointed pairs, the “Lightner Double” had certainly boomeranged.