You are South:

S 6 5 4
H Q 7
D Q 6 4 3
C K 10 9 3

Dealer East, N-S vul.

Camberos Mayer Scanavino Wright
1H pass
4H 5D 6H pass
pass dble all pass

Partner's double is probably of the Lightner type, i.e. asking for an "abnormal" lead. Partner could have a void and an outside ace; he could even have two quick tricks, since opponents didn't have the leisure to bid "scientifically". Anyway, it seems you'll have to choose between the blacks. Or is it just a plain penalty double? Anyway, what do you lead?

         (Scroll down for the solution.)

This is board 9 of Argentina v New Zealand for the 4th qualifying round of the 1985 World Championships, a deal that may already have found its way into bridge books, since it shows an example of being able to have your cake and eat it!

Assuming partner has a void and an outside Ace, he will have a black ace and a void in the other black suit. If this is the case, the king of clubs is a good lead indeed. If the void is in clubs, your mission is accomplished. If the void is in spades and partner has the ace of clubs, he'll let you keep the lead to give him his ruff! In fact, the king of clubs lead lets you beat the slam and score +100. The same is true if you lead a spade, but in this case you'll have to thank your luck rather than your judgment. A small club, or any red lead, lets declarer make his doubled slam for -1210.

The complete deal was:

                       S ---		
                       H 10
                       D A K J 10 9 7 5 2
                       C A 8 5 2

  West                                           East
S K J 10 8 7 2	                            S A Q 9 3
H J 8 5 4 2                                  H A K 9 6 3
D 8                                          D ---
C 4                                          C Q J 7 6

                       S 6 5 4
                       H Q 7
                       D Q 6 4 3
                       C K 10 9 3

As you see, another slam, at 6S, is cold as cards lie, but this is no reason to let them score their heart slam! Wright did not read the situation, though, and he led a diamond. Declarer scored 1210 and Argentina gained 12 IMPs because in the other room E-W bid just 5H. The killing lead would have won 11 IMPs instead.

The deal was duplicated in several tables. How did the Lightner double fare globally? Well, not at all as intended by the great Theodore. Playing against Venezuela, Lev of Israel also doubled 6H, but this only prompted his opponents to bid the cold 6S. Lev had to sacrifice in 7D, which was the par of the deal.

At two other tables, where 6H doubled was played, the respective Souths, Danese of Venezuela and Cl.Sampaio of Brazil, failed to find the killing lead: they both led a diamond, just like Wright! So, if you led a diamond you have good company.

Special thanks to Al "BiigAl" Lochli, District 16 ACBL Internet Coordinator for assistance with the HTML presentation.

Nikos Sarantakos,
Luxembourg, June 1998