Friday, November 08, 2002 1:10 AM

Penalty Doubles of Games




          On a crusade now to re-enforce penalty doubles of games at IMPS . Penalty doubles of games in Match Points making is a near zero , penalty doubles of games in rubber bridge making hurt financially but in IMPS the scale encourages penalty doubles ! I repeat - the IMP scale encourages penalty doubles of games. If they go down doubled you are making a bushel of IMPS . If they make the contract doubled you are losing 4 IMPS . If partners are not in the game making then the double will not matter anyway as wrong end of the IMP scale. So double games more frequently. This is a hard habit for match point players to learn I am finding . Get rid of the reluctance to make penalty doubles of games in IMPS.


           There are “lead directing/penalty doubles” when you have not been competing. You have been listening to the bidding and they have invited or otherwise have shown nothing extra.  In competition , doubles of games are still D.S.I.P. The double of a game in IMPS is more than just extracting a penalty it is giving information to partner . Your non double is also giving a message . You have a minimum or duplication in their suit.  I had a hand tonight that encourages the penalty double of games concept .


x Q1098x AJ10xx Kx     Partner opens 1♣ and Mr. Fowlie overcalls 1 . I make a negative double and LHO Mr. Willard leaps to 4 and around to me . Both vul – what now ?  Should you bid 4NT to force partner to pick one of your suits. No , you are playing into the hand of the 4 pre-empter. The 2nd double is not penalty but shows a willingness to play the hand somewhere but you have defense. You are just deferring the decision to partner and giving him an option..


If your negative double was based on distribution and very little defense now you can back in 4NT . x Q1098x KQ10xx xx is a vulnerability dependent 4NT. What if the opener has a good hand and wants to bid something ? These auctions bring out D.S.I.P. theory  even if you do not play these concepts formally. With a good hand and defense why guess at the 5 level ? Double to say you want to bid but will leave the option of a penalty conversion open. What if the opponents are insane and you have a huge trump stack ?  Grit your teeth and pass ! Partner will re-open with a double if he can. If he can not , just take your plus.


When the opponents leap to game the definition of penalty doubles change. The double shows a good hand and says partner I am fixed. Forget about trump stack penalty doubles in these auctions . They simply do not exist.