Tuesday, July 20, 2004 7:24 PM

D.S.I.P. - Balance of Power




            There is an article in the Bridge Bulletin where the author is describing “Balance of Power” penalty doubles. The author stipulates that these do not have a trump stack but show a willingness to compete. In other words , Do Something Intelligent Partner. He advocates that these doubles just indicate that the balance of power is in your direction. Your subsequent doubles tells partner the nature of your HCP’s. They are in quick tricks suitable for defense rather than soft values. Here are some examples he gives :


1    X  P   1♠

 2  P  P     X             Kxxx xx Axx ♣J9xx      (maximum for previous bid )


2    X   P     2♠

P     P   3    X           Axxx xx Kxxx ♣Qxx          ( maximum for previous bid )


1   1   P    1♠

2    P     P    X            AKxxx xx 10xx ♣AJx         D.S.I.P.


1♣   1♠   X     2♠           ♠Kxx AJxx K10xx ♣xx         ( good negative double )

P      P    X


1     1   2♣   3         ♠AKQ Jxx AKxxxx ♣x         ( good hand & no bid )



1     1♠     1NT   2♠      ♠x AKxxx AKxx ♣Axx          ( D.S.I.P. )



            The author insists that the penalty double is a “depending on context bid “ and you should be able to work out auctions that do not promise a trump stack . He says if you are not behind the suit , it is not a trump stack double.  I go one step further . Throw out the trump stack altogether in competition so you will get these auctions right all the time !! Take your plus with trump stacks & hope partner doubles !  I agree that balance of power doubles should be included in the D.S.I.P. double family. The reason we do not make these doubles now is that we are afraid of partner leaving them in with unsuitable hands fixed on the “never pull my penalty double” platitude. In fact , partners who made penalty doubles just based on HCP’s were considered dangerous as the contracts made more often then not . These contracts will not make with D.S.I.P. theory when partner converts for penalty however.


            A Tormentte held A gilt edge 1-4-4-4 with controls & 15 HCP everybody vul. She opened 1 , they overcalled 1♠ & I freely bid 1NT which should show 8-10 HCP’s with at least one minor ( I did not make a negative double showing hearts) . They bid 2♠ so with her 15 HCP & support for one of partner’s minors , she doubles. This says partner we have the balance of power maybe up to 25 HCP near game so do something intelligent. I bid 3♣ which is cold & they make 2♠ for a double partial swing. Another Tormentee held a flat 10 HCP & they opened 1 in 3rd seat nv & partner makes a vul T/O double. They pre-empt to 4as a passed hand nv vrs vul so the Tormentee doubles with her 10 HCP’s  to announce that her side has the balance of power. If she does not , she loses 7 IMPS as they doubled with the same auction at the other table.