October 31, 2006 3:54 PM
Action doubles are a subset of D.S.I.P. doubles. These doubles like the name suggests , creates action by forcing partner to “do something intelligent”. The reason they are called “action doubles” as opposed to “normal” D.S.I.P. doubles is that it is usually pretty obvious that the opponents own the auction. The action double is asking partner to sacrifice or convert. The action double can even be made by a “pre-empter”. As usual with D.S.I.P. theory , it prevents decisions made by one partner only.
Many hands come up where action doubles are applicable. I held two suitable hands last nite playing with a Tormentee. I held ♠Kxxx ♥xxxxx ♦109x ♣x both sides nv. The opponents opened 1♣ , partner overcalled 1♥ & RHO bid 1♠. I bid 3♥ pre-emptively , LHO bid 3♠ followed by 4♥ by partner. They bid 4♠ so now what ? Normal Bridge dictates that the pre-empter is thru for the auction. Not so with action doubles. The opponents have mapped out a stiff spade in partners hand , you hold a stiff in their club suit so 5♥ could be the magical sacrifice. Bidding it single handedly is silly though as you are making a lot of assumptions. You double 4♠ saying you would like partner to take some action. Partner does by converting 4♠ with her stiff spade Ace & KQ10 of clubs ! +500 your way as the opponents were way out of line.
A few hands later I held ♠xx ♥xxx ♦xx ♣1098xxx , nv partner opened 1♣ & RHO vul doubled. I bid 1♠ , partner rebid 1NT. RHO bid 2♠ , I passed & LHO bid 4♠ . Partner has ♠x ♥AKJx ♦Jxxx ♣AQ10x . She rightly concluded that I was operating with my spade bid, unless the opponents are insane. However , she was dealt 3 ½ defensive tricks with a real club suit. She now makes an action double. If I bid 5♣ , it should be a decent sacrifice against 4♠ for –620. If I leave it in with a legitimate spade response , they will be going for a telephone #. As it happens , 5♣ goes for –100 against their cold +620.
What if partner had defense , but did not want to encourage action in clubs ? ♠xx ♥AKJx ♦Axx ♣Jxxx or the like. This hand has too much defense & not enough HCP’s in clubs to encourage a sacrifice. A pass would be in order so lets try to get a plus by defending. The action double is another bid to let partner in on the decision making process. In a partnership game like Bridge , this can not be bad J .
Action doubles (like D.S.I.P. theory) should be in the domain of experts only. Why ? because these doubles require hand evaluation & judgment. You must evaluate your hand by quick ( defensive) tricks as opposed to “soft values” in queen & jacks. You must judge the auction correctly by taking into account vulnerability , table position , partner and/or opponents bidding style. I would try D.S.I.P. theory by taking small steps. You can start of by calling these doubles quasi “competitive” & go on from there.