February 10, 2007 11:06 AM
D.S.I.P. - Limited Hands
Basic Bridge dictates that in competitive auctions if you have limited your hand , you can not bid again. This is because partner has heard you , so she is captain of the ship. We find this rule too restrictive in competitive auctions so we have amended the rule to allow you to double to ask partner’s permission to bid. The double is not penalty but shows you are maximum for your previous bid measured in quick tricks. Competing this way still allows the partnership aspect of the game to operate & preserves captaincy to some degree.
What are limited hands ? A simple major suit raise is a limited hand. A pre-empt is a limited hand , a 1NT opener is a limited hand. A limited hand is one that you have announced to partner already & what she can reasonably expect on the auction. You do not violate captaincy by bidding your same values again if you ask partner’s permission first with a double. Coming with the territory of a limited hand is describing your hand correctly the first time. You do not “St Albert” and misdescribe your hand the first time and bid 3 more times to make up for it. If you have a 4th trump, show it immediately by jumping to put partner in the picture. Once you have done your duty , you do not have to bid again.
The worst thing about bidding your hand again is that you are changing a plus into a minus. By bidding you are rescuing the opponents from a bad spot. A double does not rescue the opponents from a bad spot nor is it totally single handed . Partner is not left out of the decision making process.
This philosophy means of course a limited hand can not make a penalty double. Yes , this is true. When you do not own the auction and you are not aware how strong partner is defensively this is a recipe for disaster anyway. Partner opened light and you are now “playing enforcer” which is the last thing she wants to here. Penalty doubles should be a result of conversion where both partners had input not just from one side as in a single handed penalty double. A single handed penalty double in competition is a leap into to the unknown with a lot riding on the outcome. Leave those bids to the gamblers who like single handed action but not Bridge players.