Tuesday, May 25, 2004 12:31 PM

Was That a Penalty Double ?




          D.S.I.P. theory simplifies the penalty double . The trump stack double is virtually extinct in competitive situations  so penalty doubles can be classified into two groups. The 1st group is forcing auctions where its obvious from the bidding we own the hand ( redoubles & running from penalty conversions are included in this class). Forcing pass theory takes precedence over D.S.I.P. doubles and penalty doubles are in accordance with forcing pass rules or just  trump stack doubles. Doubles of their 1NT bid or balancing 1NT is punitive and sets up forcing passes thru the two level.


The 2nd group of penalty doubles is all the rest of the auctions where we can not tell from the bidding  that we own  the hand therefore D.S.I.P. doubles apply. We are competing because we do not own the hand. Negative double theory is just a subset of D.S.I.P. doubles in my mind. Takeout doubles & re-opening doubles & balancing doubles are what I call “suit disciplined” D.S.I.P. doubles. You do something intelligent by bidding a suit or converting if you have their suit.


          The above is far too neat and easy on the memory so naturally there are some exceptions in the D.S.I.P. group.  The following trump stack double  exceptions apply


1.    After partner pre-empts ( any form weak jump shift , weak 2 , 3, 4 ,  Michaels , unusual , 2NT , weak jump overcall , jump response to 3 level) . The reason is that partner does not need the pre-empters input into the penalty double decision as he has shown his hand within a narrow range

2.    The 5 level -  The 5 level belongs to the opponents for a reason. At this rarified level we can tell with the number of their trump we hold whether they are going to make a contract or not. D.S.I.P. doubles do not apply.



Balancing & D.S.I.P. doubles  could be a good mix  so lets discuss . The very common auction of 1 of a minor & 1NT response  is a case in point . They balance with a major and you are the top of your range for a 1NT bid but you have nothing in their major ,  a D.S.I.P. double would be nice to show your maximum. e .  1♠-p-2♠-p  p-3♣-x    this to announce a top of the range 2♠ so D.S.I.P. partner . tool.  Balancing doubles bring in redoubles which makes all doubles  of the trump stack variety.  Balancing 1NT bids brings in doubles to show top of range which is essentially punitive. Re-opening doubles should be a common occurrence after the opponents have balanced so partner can convert. Balancing is risky so they must pay the price if they gambled recklessly .


It would be nice to have all penalty doubles be either forcing pass critieria or D.S.I.P. criteria but I see no way around a few for D.S.I.P. doubles. The dinosaur trump stack doubles still have their use in a few situations in the game of Bridge.  I was reading Benito Garozzo’s system and his penalty doubles only include conversions & after partner pre-empts. All other doubles are just showing values in his system . Comments ?