Sunday, April 18, 2004 7:24 AM

D.S.I.P. & Sacrificing




          Traditional penalty doubles to avoid  “pseudo” sacrifices have it all wrong . You double with a trump stack to tell partner not  to sacrifice. This does not work because Bridge is played in a clockwise direction and you would have to double out of turn quite often to prevent a pseudo sacrifice . In competitive auctions it depends on the timing of the bidding whether you can double with a trump stack or a strong defensive hand  to tell partner not to sacrifice.. Ex you are not vul against vul with the following auction;



 4-?                                     You  have void AQJ10xx AJxx xxx  and with a void in the opponents suit would it not be an opportune time to bid which might make or might be a sacrifice . You have to make the decision  now as the pass says you would prefer to defend . You bid 5 and get doubled for –300 . However it’s a pseudo sacrifice as partner had KQ10 xxxx xx QJ10x for the 3bid . 4 X goes for +500 . What a swing !! This happens over and over again not playing D.S.I.P.  doubles. In D.S.I.P. theory the double and pass are reversed from traditional  thinking . The pass says I want to defend and the double says I want to play the hand  ( sacrifice possibly ) but I have enough defense that I can pass the decision over to partner .If partner held xx xxxx KQx QJxx the double would be pulled to 5. This contract has a chance to make & 4 has a chance to make.


Tom Gandolfo and I had an auction that shows D.S.I.P.  theory in action. Tom non vul  in first seat held  x Qxxx J109 AK10xx   & passed and I opened 1 in third seat and LHO overcalled 1 . Tom bid 2♣ and RHO bid 2 . I bid 3♣ and LHO bid 4 . Tom now really liked his hand for offensive purposes. He had a stiff in the opponents suit a probable diamond fit with me and a good passed hand . However he had defense . He now made a D.S.I.P. double saying he wants to bid 5♣ but he also has defense so he is deferring the decision to me. I held AQX of spades so I said no thanks to bidding 5♣ and we beat 4 doubled for +500 . If I had no wastage in spades I would have bid 5♣. If Tom had AQx and wanted to make a penalty double to prevent me from bidding he would have passed. If I wanted to bid 5♣ with defense I would have doubled and pass the decision back to Tom.He of course converts.


          In the Alberta Solvers Club we had a lead problem hand that confounded a lot of panelists. Your hand is KQJxx  Jxx xxx Qx and you are NV against vul opponents. The auction went  1-2-3-3       4-4-P-P   5-X-all pass       A good number of the panel was not sure if the double was penalty or lead directing. This is a classic case for a D.S.I.P. double  There should be no “penalty” double as such when the opponents freely bid a vul game in a competitive auction. Your hand is xx A1098x x  AJ10x and a 5  bid  might be a sacrifice against a vul 5 . However you have too much defense to take such unilateral action. You double to tell partner of your intentions and that you have their contract booked. Partner likes his defense in the spade suit and passes.  The other hands are   x  Qx AJ109xx Kxxx  opposite  A1098x Kx KQx xxx or something similar . Anyway with a trump lead 5 doubled does not fare to well and of course 5 x is a bad pseudo with a spade ruff for their side.


          “Do not pull my penalty doubles” is the worst platitude in Bridge. D.S.I.P. doubles are designed to be pulled unless you have values in their trump suit or their secondary suit completely covered. When partner doubles he only wants to defend if you convert with the appropriate hand. Playing the “standard” penalty double way for so many years it takes some getting used to . In my opinion , from day one in Bridge “enforcer doubles” when the opponents freely bid their games make no sense. These penalty doubles should have always been  D.S.I.P.  and you only convert with the appropriate hand. Just good bidding to pass the decision to partner.


          The does not mean you always have to double if you want to sacrifice. D.S.I.P. is not the double/undouble convention. The double just says you want to play the hand with your intentions unclear but most of the time to make. If you have the distributional hand you go ahead and sacrifice and damn the consequences. Its just if you have defense , put partner in the picture with a double. The decision passing aspect of a double should not be ignored.


          I got the following from the Hammon/Soloway  convention card ( also found in many of the other top players cards ) . Pass/Double inversion in many high-level situations”  They call them pass/double inversions – I call it part of D.S.I.P. theory but the meaning is the same . Double when you want to bid and pass for a possible penalty double from partner when you do not. You reverse or invert the traditional meaning of the two bids . Garozzo says the same thing when discussing penalty doubles in one of his books.