By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Bridge 6/6
Imagination can reap big rewards
Placeholder Image
    Havelock Ellis, an English psychologist who died in 1939, said, "Imagination is a poor substitute for experience."
    But experience aids imagination. It is hard to be imaginative without having first gained experience.
    One of the most imaginative bridge players ever was John Lowenthal, who died in 1999. He held the West cards in this deal. Look only at his hand.
    North and South were vulnerable. Lowenthal's left-hand opponent, North, opened three clubs; his partner overcalled three hearts; and his right-hand opponent jumped to seven clubs. What would you have done in his position?
    A few bridge players have a great sense for what their opponents are about to do. They make "crazy" bids, just knowing that their opponent will fall into their trap. In this deal, some players would pass over seven clubs. The rest would sacrifice in seven hearts, but they would be nervous that South had pushed them into a phantom, seven clubs going down all along.
    Lowenthal did much better. He wondered who held the spades. The only logical explanation was that South had them. So Lowenthal doubled seven clubs! This was a Lightner Slam Double, telling East that he, West, had a void in spades or diamonds (the unbid suits), and asking East to find it with his opening lead.
    Exactly as Lowenthal expected, South ran to seven spades, thinking West had a spade void. Lowenthal doubled more confidently, sure that his partner was void in clubs. And that grand slam was down one at trick one!
Sign up for the Herald's free e-newsletter