Monday, November 29, 2004 3:16 PM

 D.S.I.P. Doubles For Dummies




          I have written a great deal on this subject. To break the subject down to its “bare bones” means there are only a few key concepts to remember. D.S.I.P. doubles are competitive doubles. I repeat D.S.I.P. doubles are competitive doubles. This means we are competing but do not own the hand as in forcing pass theory. This means that both sides must be actively competing for partials , games or slams. The D.S.I.P. double is an “insurance bid” saying I have defense and am requesting partner’s permission to compete again. If you have an unsuitable hand with duplication of value in their suit , convert for penalty instead.  If we drop out of the auction then subsequently double , it is for penalty.


          The rules for competitive doubles are strict. Trump stack penalty doubles do not exist during the competitive auction as an initial double. The D.S.I.P. double has a different meaning . The double says I want to compete further but I have defense so I am deferring the decision to you in case you want to convert for penalty. If we “own the hand’ forcing pass theory takes precedence over D.S.I.P. competitive doubles. The pass in D.S.I.P. theory might represent a trump stack in their suit and hoping for a double from partner.  Bidding again in competition means I have distribution and a distinct lack of defense.


          D.S.I.P. doubles apply to initial action only. If partner has already made a D.S.I.P. double or non pass , penalty ( trump stack ) doubles apply later in the auction. This is a fundamental of penalty doubles. Once partner has reasonably described her hand , the other partner is captain of the ship for penalty doubles. You can not compete again after partner’s pass with a defensive hand without doubling first . However,  after other bids by partner including an earlier D.S.I.P. double or a bid , the green light is on for penalty doubles.


          When the opponents balance , we play the “over/under’ rule. If we are in front of their suit , the double is D.S.I.P.   If we are behind the suit , the double is a trump stack penalty double. If our side pre-empts  or makes a systemic pre-emptive bid or leaps to game , penalty doubles apply and not D.S.I.P. doubles. If the opponents pre-empt , the doubles are negative thru 4 and higher levels they are D.S.I.P.


          If partner overcalls or doubles and then doubles again ,  the doubles are D.S.I.P. showing a good hand defensively. They are not single handed “enforcer doubles” with a trump stack in their suit. D.S.I.P. doubles are not designed to combat horrifically bad bidders. If the opponents leap to game after finding their fit all of our doubles are D.S.I.P. & not penalty trump stack doubles.


          D.S.I.P. doubles are quite often “balance of power” doubles indicating that your side has most of the HCP’s. They indicate a maximum for your previous bid whether it was a negative double , responsive double , overcall or takeout double , opening bid or response . It is never a “trump stack” double in direct competition. Trump stack doubles are only made by converting partners double or after partner has described her hand with a D.S.I.P. double or bid.


          A thorough understanding of forcing pass theory is needed to play D.S.I.P. doubles. You must know the cues that turn on forcing passes as D.S.I.P. theory kicks in otherwise.  Good judgment is required to know when to pull doubles or to convert. Lebensohl is used when pulling doubles at a high level. D.S.I.P. doubles ( like splinters) show a lack of duplication of value in the opponents suit. Accordingly D.S.I.P. doubles prevent pseudo sacrifices as you double in front of partner rather than bidding in front of partner who may have a trump stack in their suit.


          What is defense for the purpose of D.S.I.P. doubles ? These are “quick tricks” as  opposed to HCP’s. If our defensive tricks by the overcaller or T/O doubler is within trick of booking the contract , we have a D.S.I.P. double. If responder who has limited her hand , doubles  a minimum of 1 defensive tricks are required.


            D.S.I.P. doubles can apply right up and including 4 if we do not own the hand. At the 5 level with us competing , doubles are trump stack  penalty.  If the opponents voluntarily bid a slam and we were competing , a double by the opening leader says we do not have any defensive tricks. This is similar to the double /undouble convention.


          Perry gave me this hand and asked if his double was D.S.I.P. / Co-operative  or for penalty. He held Kxx xx Kxxxx ♣xxx  and BJ opened 1♣ and they overcalled 1. Perry passed and they bid 2. BJ bid 3♣ and they bid 3 which Perry passed and they bid 4 around to Perry again. Perry doubled so what does that mean ? As usual with “depending on context” bids , you must read the bidding to get your answer. Perry had a chance over 3 to compete to 4♣ and did not. Therefore the needed competition to define a double as D.S.I.P. was not there. Perry’s double should look like Kxx QJ109 xxxxx ♣x  or the like. If Perry did bid 4♣ with his real hand of Kxx xx Kxxxx ♣xxx then his double is clearly D.S.I.P.  You give partner an option of bidding 5♣ and since you competed this round , the double can not be penalty. You must have dropped out of the auction , for a subsequent double to be penalty.