Monday, July 12, 2004 3:30 PM

Hand Evaluation - Slam Level Decisions




            When your side is bidding a slam with the opponents are in the auction obviously forcing pass theory applies. The reverse process when you are interfering with the opponents slam auction brings in D.S.I.P. theory though. You obviously do not “own the hand”.


D.S.I.P. theory takes a cue from Doubles/Undoubles at the slam level only .  This is an excellent tool to prevent pseudo sacrifices when the opponents voluntary bid a slam after partner has bid a suit or you both have. The principle of D.S.I.P.  dictates that trump stack penalty doubles do not exist especially at the slam level. Penalty doubles only come about by being converted from a D.S.I.P. double . With slams ,  it is folly to make a trump stack penalty double of a voluntary bid slam by the opponents. This assumption allows you to use D.S.I.P. theory similar to the double/undouble convention. Partner makes a bid of spades on the auction so you have ♠xxxxx void xxxx ♣xxxx ,  the opponents bid 6 . You make a D.S.I.P. double with no defensive tricks asking partners permission to sacrifice. Partner holds KQJ of hearts so says thanks but no thanks. It is here the D.S.I.P. & Double/Undouble theory merge.


There was a hand in Salt Lake City where the Canadian pair took a pseudo sacrifice in 6doubled opposite a vul minor slam. The result was duplicated at the other table as the Italian pair took out insurance also.  One hand was ♠xxxx Axxxxx xx ♣x  , the other ♠AKQxx xx xxx ♣xxx . The Canadians found their spade fit early so when 6♣ was reached ,  one partner made a single handed decision to sacrifice. D.S.I.P. theory was invented to avoid single handed decisions. In these kind of “obvious sacrificing” auctions there is an obligation to double the slam to tell partner to not count on him for any defensive tricks. Hence , a pass must show a defensive trick or better. Around to the AKQxx hand in the balancing spot so warned that partner may have a defensive trick he simply passes. There is no obligation to double unless he has no defensive tricks himself.


Maurice & I had an auction where you must forego the lead directing double in a competitive auction. The opponents were vul , we were not . The auction went





 P-?  . The 3 spade bid by partner shows a long solid suit probably with an outside card & asks me to bid 3NT with a spade stopper. I held ♠x J1098 xxxx ♣xxxx so felt a non vul  vrs vul sacrifice was in order. Even if their slam went down ,  the penalty might be less then their game ! I do not want to do this single handed so I double to tell partner I have no defensive tricks so over to you for the final decision. Maurice bids 7♣ & he goes for –300 !!  6 is cold for –1430 so you calculate the savings. I do not think in these competitive auctions you can have the luxury of a lead directing double. The double/undouble comes up more frequently when you are on the auction so should over-ride lead directing doubles in these auctions.


Of course , you could be wrong as voids could wipe out both Aces but the huge gain when both defensive tricks cash is worth it . The information gained by doubling at the 6 level makes a decision easier if the opponents take the push to 7 . Partner will not sacrifice opposite your Ace in their trump suit as he has doubled already to show his nothing so you make the decision to pass their grand. Double/undoubles have no merit other than at the slam level in my opinion, as it is too hard to judge defensive tricks. Judgment is necessary as lead directing doubles take precedence when you are not being a nuisance . The doubler is usually on lead for the undoubles. You have to “know” that it’s an obvious attempt to sacrifice from the vulnerability & bidding...