Wednesday, April 28, 2004 11:42 PM

Hand Evaluation – Leeway




            There are many auctions where the opponents put the partnership under pressure . This pressure occurs when the opponents are deliberately trying to jam you out of the auction. Examples are when they overcall 4 of a major , raise their partners pre-empt or make tactical psyches over their pre-empts. One of the most common auctions is “spades over hearts” that you need to give partner lots lo leeway.


            The was a hand in the Alberta Solvers Club where the idea was to give partner maximum leeway when he was under pressure. ♠Ax void AJ109xxx ♣Kxxx , you open 1LHO bids 4 & partner bids 4♠ . What do you do ?  Spades over hearts is the most common pressure bid in Bridge .  This is an auction where I give partner lots of leeway . I pass so if 6 makes I apologize to partner & congratulate my opponents for applying the pressure.


            2♠-P-4♠-?              Void x QJ10x ♣KQJ1098xx      Do you bid 5♣ ? Of course you do . Partner realizes that you are under pressure so will not blast you into slam unless he is very Ace rich . Maurice says his rule of thumb in these kind of auctions is holding two Aces . I agree with him . Aces should be the criteria for movement in these jammed auctions rather then HCP’s with an unrealistic expectation of lots of values in partners hand. Bids in the sandwich position are quite often done under pressure . Partner decides to put in a lead director or bid a long suit as a sacrifice attempt. A double in the sandwich position may also be light if it has the perfect distribution. Give partner leeway in these auctions.


            OK. What does this all mean ?  D.S.I.P. doubles are based on partner being disciplined &  having the values for their bids. Give partner some leeway & reluctantly pass in these auctions instead of trying to force the issue with a D.S.I.P. double. One of the premises of D.S.I.P. doubles is that you have a safe resting spot . If partner made a bid caused by the opponents pressure tactics , he may not have what you expect. Double cards get replaced by green cards in these auctions. Taking your perceived fix is a prudent strategy.


            At a certain level with certain auctions takeout doubles become co-operative/penalty doubles . 3♣-p-5♣-? Is a horrible auction to do anything intelligent . Take your fix quite often by passing  as partner had a chance to double 3♣ but did not . The double of 5♣ is co-operative  but the best course of action is usually  passing the double. This is an example of getting the best possible result rather then the best result possible. Being fixed is not a pleasant feeling but your partners should be applying the same pressure at the other table.


            Overusing D.S.I.P. doubles is bad strategy especially at the lower levels . Doubling partials into games is still very much a disaster in IMPS. In IMPS , it is not a crime to sell out to the opponents partial & defend it undoubled. A good rule of thumb for a D.S.I.P. double is use it  If there is chance for a two trick set or more by partner converting your double . As with all bidding tools , D.S.I.P. doubles should be used with moderation as you are putting a lot of pressure on partner to “do the right thing” .  Tom Gandolfo originally labeled these doubles as Do Something Stupid Partner doubles if you use this tool too often without the appropriate hand. No number of systems or treatments will replace common sense or judgment in Bridge . D.S.I.P. doubles are no different . Quite often the Do Something Intelligent Partner starts before the double is made !