Sunday, October 02, 2005 3:52 AM

D.S.I.P. Half Measures




          D.S.I.P. doubles were originally defined as competitive doubles where your side does not own the auction. There was a further stipulation that the ceiling for a D.S.I.P. double was up to and including 4. There must be an element of competition or the double could be interpreted as penalty. This double is further restricted that the penalty doubler must be behind the suit. Re-opening doubles should never be penalty doubles competition or no competition. Out of the blue trump stack doubles just do not exist with the D.S.I.P. mentality. Take your plus.


          Take this hand AQxxx x Kxx Kxxx    both sides vul . Partner opens 1 and RHO overcalls 1and you bid a spade. LHO bids 2 which partner passes and RHO bids 3 so you make a D.S.I.P. double showing cards. What did partner not do on this auction ? Partner did not make a support double or bid the good bad 2NT or bid freely. Sounds like a minimum over there xx xxx AQxxx AQx or the like. With no duplication of value in the heart suit we are getting to a tight 5 game which is a victory for D.S.I.P. doubles. If partner had duplication of value in hearts she would have passed and again a victory as they are too high with our 25 HCP’s including values in their suit.


          Change the responders hand a bit AQxxx Kxx x Kxxx and we have the fix hand for D.S.I.P. doubles. Given the same auction , the best bid in my opinion is pass and take your plus. They can not make 3 with this hand but partner gets in your way. The chance of the double being left in is zero. Partner can not have the hearts required to do so. Do we have game ? Not very likely as the heart king is wasted and we do not have a diamond or spade fit required to make game. So discounting the heart king we have 9 HCP’s opposite a dead minimum over there. Pass and take our plus 100 or 200 . At the other table they are probably going minus with our cards and we are looking at a sizeable pickup. In fact , with the IMP scale,  a penalty double does not enhance our pickup that much. We are earning 7 IMPs +100 +200 as opposed to 5 more for doubling. We must take half measures sometimes.


          BJ Trelford contends that in auctions below game if you do not own the hand there is never a reason for a trump stack penalty double. I think this view is a bit too restrictive . Doubles in Bridge , D.S.I.P. or not still must be interpreted depending on context. If partner drops out of a competitive auction early and waits until they reach game , how can the double be anything else but penalty ?  AKxxx QJ109 Ax xx  You open 1 and LHO bids 2 and partner bids 2 with RHO bidding 3 you pass and they bid 4. You had a chance to compete with a double or by bidding 3and you did not. You can not make up for lost time. This double must be penalty.


          If you have opened , overcalled , bid a systemic toy or made a takeout double and there was no competitive auction therefore partner’s double  is not a “making up for lost time” D.S.I.P. double . It is penalty. The lack of initial action and no element of competition defines the double as penalty. I think with a number of auctions playing the D.S.I.P. mentality , you can have it both ways J