Thursday, April 24, 2003 6:55 AM

D.S.I.P. Part Deux




          In IMPS , I am a great believer in D.S.I.P. doubles as opposed to “never pull my penalty doubles” type of doubles . Why , well the IMP scale and our style of overcalling on very good hands dictate this philosophy . Take this hand not vul vrs vul and RHO opens a heart . You have x AK10 K1098 AK109x  and decide to bid 2♣ . LHO bids 2  , partner passes and RHO surprises you by bidding 4. Should you double ? In rubber bridge it is clear cut . +800 gets you $40.00 at a nickel . In Match Points it is clear cut you must double and get your +800 . Even if the field is not in 4 there might be people doubled in 3 , so to go for the best score you should double . In IMPS put the green card on the table . Why ?   Assuming your intelligent partners are in a part score for +110 and you have these people in 4down 3 for +300 you are winning 10 IMPS anyway . If you double and collect +800 you win +13 IMPS !  In effect , in IMPS you are excluding D.S.I.P. double strategy for a 3 IMP gain !!


          In IMPS , if you double a game after overcalling you want partner to do something intelligent which includes pulling your doubles. Take the same scenario but take away the HCP’s in the opponents suit . x xx AKJx AKJ10xx    . Again you double 4 after overcalling 2♣ . In other forms of bridge you probably back in 4NT to say pick a minor. This is very single handed . Partner can have heart values , spade values , shortness in clubs and would love to play it in 4X . Why not pass the decision to partner with a double ? This is not a penalty double or you would have just quietly passed and taken your plus. This is saying I want to bid 5♣ but because we are an established partnership , you can make the decision.


          O.K. back to the theme of our overcalls being so variable in strength . We will overcall at the one level with very good hands . This has the advantage of getting your distribution in first and your strength later on . The down side of this is that good opponents can “smell” game your way and pre-empt you with advance sacrifices and tactical jump to games . The solution is to play D.S.I.P. doubles and double if you want to bid again and pass if you do have a trump stack plus. Everyone of us overcalls a heart with a spade on this hand AKQxxx x AQxx xx . They are vul and we are not . Is this not an excellent opportunity to sacrifice in 4 and on a good day it might even make ? In rubber bridge and Match points , why not gamble it out and single handily bid 4 ?  In IMPS , do not even think about it . You have a partner over there so double . With the agreement that this does not show a trump stack , partner can bid 4 if it is right and passes if it is not . Partner gratefully passes with x QJ109 xxxx xxxx and you get +800 instead of –500 . Quite a reward for allowing partner to be part of the decision !


          Rubber Bridge and Match Points tends to re-enforce single handed decisions . In IMPS , Bridge is truly a partnership game . Penalty doubles in IMPS have a different meaning . Partner must pull them when the situation dictates and that is when you have been in the auction or both partners have been competing . These are the old style co-operate doubles . Just eliminate trump stack doubles from your way of thinking and you will get it right.