Monday, April 26, 2004 5:03 PM
D.S.I.P. Double Overview




          O.K. Lets examine the structure of our D.S.I.P. doubles that we play . Negative doubles up to 4 & responsive doubles up to 4are a disciplined form of D.S.I.P. doubles . Disciplined in the sense that they have an unbid suit requirement as well as the necessary  HCP’s for the level of the auction  . D.S.I.P. doubles do not have a suit requirement just a HCP requirement . Penalty doubles based solely on trump do not exist and are not part of D.S.I.P. theory.


          With overcalls and opening bids , D.S.I.P. theory is in effect unless you own the auction and forcing pass theory applies. Tom Gandolfo had a hand the other day that shows D.S.I.P. theory in action .


 2-3-4-?       xx A10x 109x AKJxx            There are 3 D.S.I.P. bids Tom can make . A direct 5♣ means he has distribution and no interest in defending. A pass shows an interest in defending .  A double says he has a 5♣ bid with defense . Tom showed me the defensive hand by passing . With my hand I have the same 3 options . If I want to bid 5♣ to make with defensive values  I double . This is in case Tom has some spade duplication of value and wants to convert for penalties. A direct 5♣ bid by me is a straight sacrifice especially in light of Tom’s decision that he wants to defend. A pass by me is lets just defend an undoubled game.


          The old fashioned way of doubling from either side with spade duplication of value screws up this auction. This means with a good hand and defense Tom must bid 5♣ which can be a horrible bid if I held spade values and wanted to convert 4 spades doubled . he has just rescued the opponents to tell me he had a good hand !!  The beauty of D.S.I.P. doubles is that if either Tom and I had a spade stack they play the contract doubled. Doubled by the partner that does not have spades and converted by the partner who does . Winning in both cases where the old fashioned trump stack double works only in one case.


          When the opponents pre-empt past our negative double level is where D.S.I.P. understandings are very useful . You always know the double is based on HCP’s rather then their suit . Taking the ambiguity out of  these auctions is worth a heap of IMPS.   x AKxx AJ10x Axxx        1-4-p-p    dbl       you have xxx Qxxxxx Qxx x and bail to 5. You may make 6 on a hook !!    What if partner had an ambiguous double AKx x AKxxx Axxx   .  If you bid 5 you get murdered . If you pass and they have a diamond stiff , 4 doubled goes one down. In D.S.I.P. theory you have to pass this hand or take a gamble & bid 5♣ .


          You have xx Ax AKQxx AJxx   and open 1 and partner bids a  1 . RHO leaps to 3 so you make a THRUMP double . A THRUMP ( 3NT ) double is a special form of a D.S.I.P. double which is used over pre-empts in the sandwich position or direct position . It asks partner to bid 3NT with a stopper in their suit . If no stopper , make a natural bid or convert for penalty. When the opponents use raises of weak 2’s and pre-empts to jam you , doubles are D.S.I.P. rather than takeout doubles. D.S.I.P. understandings are used in competition after your takeout doubles. Forcing passes are used only vul against not when bidding game after a takeout double.


          Now a days , people at every level of skill seem to like coming into your strong NT auctions . Other then special understandings when they make artificial bids , I like a direct double of their natural bid to be D.S.I.P.  . This means if I have a trump stack double of their bid I would pass or if the vulnerability was wrong I would leap to 3NT. This puts some pressure on the strong NT hand to re-open with a double once in a while with the appropriate hand .


          A natural 2NT in competitive auctions is very rarely used. 2NT is Lebensohl or scrambling or showing two suits. The D.S.I.P. double has replaced the natural 2NT bid if possible. A support double is a specialized D.S.I.P. double showing 3 card trump support for partners major . You make trump stack doubles with D.S.I.P. theory by converting partners doubles . If they run , doubles are trump stack doubles. If partner has a clear narrowly defined hand like a weak two or a pre-empt , trump stack doubles still apply.


          Over strong twos up to the 3 level a direct double is systemic saying I have no controls . A pass says I have a control or better so do something intelligent. D.S.I.P. doubles are used over their toys like Michaels or Unusual 2NT if we do not own the hand . If we own the hand then forcing pass theory takes precedence. When the auction suggests that a trump stack double is not possible then the double is D.S.I.P.  1-1-4-Dbl     is the most obvious D.S.I.P. double in Bridge.


          When you have an established fit but you do not own the auction , a double is D.S.I.P.  When you have a big fit , your points are wasted for defense . If you have a minor suit fit established  and the opponents have competed up to 3 level in spades a double should be a 3NT try , bail to 4 of a minor or in rare occasions convert.


          Another special case of the D.S.I.P. double is the sandwich position after a forcing 1NT bid . A direct double is D.S.I.P.  Trump stack doubles must be shown with a  pass. This way we can convert for penalty from both sides of the table and show strong hands immediately with a double.


Eons ago when I first started playing bridge there was this concept of “free bids” . This meant that if you had a chance to pass or bid , bidding showed a better hand. This resulted in a lot of distributional minimums being passed and partner had to make a series of guesses. Over the years this free bid concept led to partnerships getting jammed out of the auction and bad competitive decisions were made. Today Bridge is a bidders game and “free bids” were one of the casualties that went by the wayside.


          O.K. what replaced “free bids” in expert circles . You guessed it , the  D.S.I.P. double and the good-bad 2NT. You open 1♣ on xx Axx Ax AKxxxx  and LHO overcalls 1 and partner doubles. RHO bids 2 and you are not quite strong enough to Q bid so you bid 3♣ . The opponents bid 3 and around to you again again. Of course you make a D.S.I.P. double and this does not show a trump stack but a maximum for your previous action. O.K. same auction but change you hand to a 10 count that you opened xx Axx xx KQJ109x . The bidding goes exactly the same way. You make a “free bid” of 3♣ to describe your hand but this time you put the green card on the table when they compete to 3.


          There is a place in Bridge for not playing  D.S.I.P. doubles and that is in Balancing Theory . Balancing by its very nature is a gamble . Sometimes you lose by balancing and trump stack penalty doubles are a more effective weapon in these situations.  1♠-p-2-p p-3♣-Dbl is penalty .  There is still a place in Bridge for trump stack doubles and balancing is one of them. You play the over/under rule though. If you are behind the suit,  it is penalty otherwise D.S.I.P.  If the opponents balance in NT , all doubles are penalty . If the auction is confusing then err on the side of caution that the double is D.S.I.P. rather then penalty. –730 does not translate into IMPS well.