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A DOUBLE of a freely bid slam is usually a Lightner double, suggesting that only an unusual lead may defeat the contract. This does not apply, however, when the slam has been bid as a sacrifice. West's trouble with his lead on this week's deal arose from his inability to decide into which category his partner's double fell.

Game all; dealer East


S. K Q J 9 7

H. 5 3 2

D. 8 5 2

C. Q J


S. 5 4

H. A K Q 10 9 6 4

D. A K J 9

C. none


S. 10 3 2

H. J

D. Q 10 7 6 4 3

C. K 10 3


S. A 8 6

H. 8 7

D. None

C. A 9 8 7 6 5 4 2

East had a problem as dealer. His hand was too rich in controls for a pre-emptive bid; and the texture of his long suit was poor. He solved it by passing, but after South had opened Two Clubs and North had responded Two Spades, he joined in with Four Clubs. South bid Four Hearts, West contested with Five Clubs and after two passes, South bid Five Hearts. Two more passes followed and East, doubtful of defeating Five Hearts, pushed on to Six Clubs. Now South called Six Hearts - a bid he might have made earlier after his partner's positive response - and again West and North passed. East doubled in the hope of attracting a diamond lead, and that ended the auction.

It was now West's problem - was his partner's double lead-directing, or had they simply pushed North-South too high? As the cards lay, a diamond lead was essential, but West hoped to compromise by leading the CK instead of the three. In that way, with luck, he hoped to retain the lead and defer any critical decision until the second trick.

Alas, it was too late. Declarer ruffed the lead with his six of hearts, drew trumps in two rounds, and played on spades. With the five of hearts as an entry to dummy it was all over.