Wednesday, May 18, 2005 10:39 PM

D.S.I.P. - 5 level




          Forcing passes are applicable at the 5 level and above if you own the hand obviously . What if you do not own the hand or are not sure at this rarified level ? D.S.I.P. theory is only applicable in competitive auctions up to and including the 4 level. In a fit showing auction or not where you and partner are competing up to the 5 level , old fashioned penalty doubles should apply. In other words , a pass means you can not beat their contract & suggests another bid. A double means that you have their trump & expect to beat it. Why the switch from traditional D.S.I.P. thinking at these levels ? At this rarified level , the number of their trump you hold can single handedly beat their contract. The penalty double can not be ambiguous at the 5 level..


Quite often you are sacrificing in these auctions . It is better to use the double as a warning that even though you have nothing defensively over there , I have their trump so keep quiet. A pass gives you the “sacrificing” green light as in standard bidding. If we trust the opponents,  we do not have defense in quick tricks at these rarified levels but we may have their suit. It is at these high levels only that trump stack penalty doubles makes sense. A double really can not mean anything else so it can not be ambiguous. If you trust the opponents , how do you know your HCP’s are working for defensive purposes ? A penalty double is a trump stack double period . Case closed. Do not double with tricks , pass or bid instead. Of course , if you own the hand , forcing pass theory is another matter.


          Another reason for the switch from standard D.S.I.P. thinking is “taking out insurance” at the 5 level & above. It is always better to bid once more if you are not sure. Why take the chance for the quest for the holy grail – the plus. The only thing that should deter you is a trump stack in their suit so partner will warn you with a double at these very high levels. Tom Gandolfo held K10xxx AQ10xxx x ♣x and opened 1 . They bid 2NT vul & I bid 3which brought about 5♣ by them , Tom bid 5 which induced 6♣ by them. I passed so around to Tom. Here is why D.S.I.P. theory does not work at this level. Tom does not have the defensive tricks to double 6♣. At lower levels, he is forced to pass in D.S.I.P. theory as I may have a trump stack. This prevents us from sacrificing at this level. Tom bid 6 which went for –300 against their +1370 . The sacrifice even beats their game. A trump stack penalty double should be the only bid to prevent partner from sacrificing. A pass should be a green light to bid or double. Traditional penalty double thinking is wrong at every level except these high levels. The reason is obvious . You know that you can beat a high level contract on their trump alone. You do not have such a luxury at lower levels.


          Mike Gamble suggests one exception to the 5 level rule & this is the so called 3rd case of D.S.I.P. theory. There are only 3 possibilities with hand ownership in the game of Bridge. 1st case , we own the auction so forcing pass theory applies. 2nd case nobody does , so D.S.I.P. competitive doubles apply. The 3rd case is when they obviously own the auction. D.S.I.P. theory applies right up to & including the 5 level on this one vulnerability ( terrorist vul ) only. The classic confrontation between spades & hearts with them owning the auction   vul vrs us not, You bid 4 nv so they decide to take the push vul to 5 . A double should be a permission to sacrifice with some defense. This means you can show your intentions immediately & not bid in front of partners pending trump stack double. A pass should be a message to partner that you are happy to defend but not strong enough for a penalty double.