A Lightner double is a lead-directing double of an enemy slam contract. It frequently implies a void, and asks partner for a ruff. Generally speaking, partner is asked to:

  1. Lead dummy's side suit, if one has been bid
  2. Lead declarer's side suit, if one has been bid
  3. Make any other unusual lead - usually partner's longest suit to get a ruff

Additionally, the double asks partner to NOT lead any suit that your side has bid.


Examples

5432
H653
DAT9876
Cvoid
  
Opponent 1
1
3
Partner
Pass
Pass
Opponent 2
2
6
You
Pass
Double (1)


(1) A Lightner double. This requests a club lead because your right-hand opponent bid clubs.


762
Hvoid
DAT987
CK9842
  
Opponent 1
1
6
Partner
3C
Pass
Opponent 2
3
Pass
You
5
Double (1)


(1) A Lightner double. This asks your partner to NOT lead a club (your side's suit) and to find an unusual lead (in this case, a heart).


A762
Hvoid
D76
CT876532
  
Opponent 1
1
4NT
6
Partner
Pass
Pass
Pass
Opponent 2
3
5
Pass
You
Pass
Pass
Double (1)


(1) A Lightner double. Hopefully partner can find a heart lead.


Other Considerations

  • The Lightner double is not in effect if the opponents are sacrificing at the 6- or 7-level. In those situations, it's more practical to use regular penalty doubles.

  • Playing Lightner doubles, the opening leader can also infer what to lead if his partner did NOT double. For example, if the opponents bid a side suit en route to a slam contract and partner does not double, the inference is that partner does NOT want a lead of the enemy side suit.


Origins

The Lightner double is named for its creator, American player Theodore Lightner.

See also

  • Negative Double
    A conventional double used by responder after opener starts the bidding with one-of-a-suit and the next player makes a suit overcall.

  • Optional Double
    A conventional double made after an opponent has opened the bidding with a preempt.

  • Responsive Double
    A conventional double used when partner makes a takeout double and the next player raises his partner's suit.

  • Snapdragon Double
    A conventional double by fourth seat after the first three players bid three different suits.

  • SOS Redouble
    A conventional redouble that asks partner to bid a new suit.

  • Stripe-Tailed Ape Double
    A double of an enemy game contract, in hopes of stopping the opponents from continuing on to slam.

  • Support Double
    A conventional double used by opener after partner makes a suit response and the next player overcalls.

  • Takeout Double
    A conventional double that asks partner to bid one of the unbid suits.

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