Wednesday, April 28, 2004 12:50 AM

Hand Evaluation - Decision Making




            Bridge is a partnership game . When you can use that fact to your advantage you are way better off. The beauty of forcing pass theory is with a pass you giving your partner information to make a joint decision for the partnership . Your pass says you want to take offensive action in a high level auction but if partner’s hand is more defensive oriented or weak then lets double the opponents. Your partner’s opinion was taken into consideration when you decided to double the opponents. Much better then making a single handed decision for the partnership. Results when the partnership has made a decision as opposed to one partner taking matters into his own hand are far far better.


            D.S.I.P. theory is an attempt to re-enforce that Bridge is a partnership game by getting both partners input into the decision making process. D.S.I.P. borrows from forcing pass theory but it uses the double rather than the pass to encourage bidding. Lets use & modify the Tom/Bob 2♣ auction against Maurice & Susan as an example.





                 Say Tom has this collection ♠x AKx 1098 ♣AKxxxx . With the opponents bidding his singleton & partner raising his 6 card suit is not a 5♣ bid reasonable ?  Not playing D.S.I.P. doubles ,  he only bids 5♣ with a hand that does contain defensive values as well as offensive values. Partners 3♣ bid was based on the wrong values for your side ♠Kxxx ♥xx ♦KJxx ♣J10x or a similar defensive hand.  Ace of spades lead , partner plays a low spade . Switch to the diamond Ace so RHO ruffs . Turns out opener had Qxx of clubs so you go for –500. Now playing D.S.I.P. doubles ,  you want to bid 5♣ so you ask partners permission to do so by doubling 4. Partner happily passes  so you collect 1 club ,  2 hearts , a heart ruff & your spade King.  This is +500 your way for a 1000 difference !!


            What if the 2♣ bidder had ♠Kxx Axx xx ♣AKxxx with the same auction ? This time he passes 4 as he wants to defend so partner wants to bid 5♣ . Partner has a singleton spade , well located diamonds with 4 trump. ♠x xxxx KJ10x ♣QJ109 so 5♣ looks nice from his perspective. You double saying you want to bid 5♣ but partner says no thanks lets defend. You score both diamonds, the clubs are 2-2 , you get a heart & a spade trick.  Down 3 for the opponents +800 & 5♣ goes for -500 !


            Lets look at the positive offensive hands . Partner doubles with the first hand saying he wants to bid 5♣ . You hold ♠Qxx QJxxx x ♣QJxx & bid 5♣ . This is a double game swing as both sides make their contract ! Say partner bid 2♣ just for a lead with ♠x xxxx xx ♣AKQJ10x   ( I would pre-empt to 3♣) so of course he passes 4 as not enough defense to double. You want to bid 5♣ from your side with ♠xx KQxx Kx ♣xxxx so you double . Partner bids 5♣ so you have a one down sacrifice against a cold 620 in spades . If the vulnerability for a sac was not right , you simply pass.


            The difference in these auctions from standard bidding is that there was no single handed decision making. The double as “asking permission to bid” brought the other partner into the process. Of course , you should not over do that . Do not leave up to partner what you can do yourself if you had the hand for it . You hold ♠x AKx xx ♣AKxxxxx you simply bid 5♣ over 4 as long as partner raised clubs we are playing this hand.


            This treatment of course is not a 100% magic bullet. You still need to exercise judgment like duplication of value in the trump suit , shortness in their known suit , extra length in partners suit , controls vrs queens & jacks etc , vulnerability considerations , state of the match etc . In other words , Bridge experience is very necessary.


            Standard bidding has the penalty double as an either or bid . Partner can have a strong defensive hand for doubling 4 which combined with your distributional hand will make a 5♣ game . However , what if partner had spade values for his penalty double  of 4♠ ?? You can not pull the double for fear that it might be that hand . This ambiguity screws up the decision making process . The double should not be ambiguous in these auctions. The advocates of this type of bidding just make a rule “ do not pull my penalty doubles” . –790 occurs when your distribution obliterates partners defense so if you do bid 5♣ with his points in spades an awful pseudo sac happens . The trouble with this bidding is the decision is made from only one side of the table & only looking at one hand. D.S.I.P. theory “looks at two hands “ .


            There should be no room for ambiguous penalty doubles in high level or low level competitive auctions. D.S.I.P. to the rescue. Everybody should be convinced by now .