Sunday, January 25, 2004 12:26 AM

Penalty Doubles - D.S.I.P.




                  Playing D.S.I.P. penalty doubles does not mean “trump stack” doubles are extinct. If we have opened a NT or they have bid a NT and the doubling starts that is the “killing fields “ of Bridge. Doubles are trump stack and there is no thought required – just pass the double. If we own the auction and do not have a fit established , a double is of the trump stack variety. If one partner has chosen to stay out of a competitive auction and then doubles a final contract it is of the trump stack variety.


                  When the opponents overcall or pre-empt , negative doubles rule up to the 4 level anyway. Higher doubles are D.S.I.P. instead of a trump stack . Why ? Ambiguity is bad in any language and the Bridge language is no exception. Doubling a 4 bid with 13 HCP and a stiff spade is a far cry from doubling 4 with KQJ10 of spades. Yet we make the same bid with both hands after partner opens. This is just playing into the pre-empters strategy of destroying  your auction. One of the ambiguous doubles has to be thrown out.  Since partner may yet save the day with a re-opening double we have chosen to eliminate the trump stack double. Our partners will not bid 4S with such a filthy spade suit anyway so no great loss. The IMP scale saves you on those hands . if partner was too weak to double then you beat 4  for 3 down vul  plus 300 and no game your way . At the other table your partners make a club partial for 110 . So you win 10 IMPS anyway and a double for +800 is only worth a couple of more IMPS !!!


                  What does the double mean at high levels ? It is asking partners permission to bid with the appropriate hand and otherwise pass. You have AKxxxx x Axxx Kx and you open 1 and LHO bid 4 and around to you again. They are vul and you are not . Lets bid 4 as it might be a cheap sacrifice or might even make. No way as that is single handed . Ask partners permission to bid 4S by doubling . If the sacrifice is right she will bid it ! Another example , x xx AKxx AK109xxx  They open 1 and you overcall 2♣ and LHO bids 4 around to you again. They are vul and you are not so lets bid 5♣ or 4NT to sacrifice ? Too single handed again. Tell partner you want to bid 5♣ by doubling. If you had x KQJ10 xx AK10xxx you would quietly put the green card on the table and take your small plus. You can not have it both ways.


                  Even with voids in the opponents suit, do not be enticed into a “cheap sacrifice”. In Pentiction I had xxx xxxx AKxx Kx and in 4th chair LHO opened 1 everybody vul . Tom overcalled 1 & RHO bid 2 and I bid 2 . LHO jumped to 4 and around to me again . The opponents have mapped out a void in hearts in partners hand so a 4♠ bid looks awfully good. Why make such a singlehanded bid ? Double as your partner might have AKxx of spades and wants no part of  a vul sacrifice. Tom actually held an offensive 5-5 with a void in hearts and 4 goes one down with 620 cold their way.


                  D.S.I.P. doubles and the sandwich position are a perfect match . Partner opens a major and you respond 1NT . The opponent makes a bad overcall and you want to double out of turn but rats partner rescues him by bidding !!  D.S.I.P. doubles to the rescue . Partner doubles with a good hand even one with 4 hearts and passes with thier suit . if you can not re-open with a double they play it there for a small plus your way. Doubles can get converted often if they lack discretion with their overcalls.


                  D.S.I.P. doubles are also “depending on context” penalty doubles. If the opponents advertise to the table that they have a suit wrapped up , the double becomes a D.S.I.P. double . Say you double an unusual 2NT and they leap to 5 of a minor anyway . Such total disregard for your first double changes your second double into a D.S.I.P. double showing points and the other minor. It does not mean do not trust them partner as they have lost their minds.


                  Penalty doubles have been around since the beginning of Bridge . They say do not bid partner as we have their suit . With D.S.I.P. doubles we convey just the opposite meaning. The double means I want to bid but I am asking your permission to do so . Works way better …