Sunday, October 09, 2005 7:28 PM

Hand Evaluation – Rescuing Opponents




            There is an inherent risk in competing . If you do not compete enough & sell out , you will lose IMPS in double partial swings. If you over compete , you run the risk of the penalty double or in some cases just rescuing the opponents from a bad spot. I detest rescuing bad bidders from disaster by bidding again or in front of my partner when she wanted to double them. One of the main advantages of D.S.I.P. doubles is that you bring partner into the picture when you want to compete again. A joint decision will ensure that the opponents do not get rescued & your side finds the best partial.


            The opponents are vul , you have  Kxx QJ109 Q1098 ♣xx   . The opponents open 1♥ , partner overcalls 1 . RHO bids 2 so do you bid 2 ?  Before D.S.I.P. doubles  , I would pass with this hand because I did not want to encourage partner to compete or make a pseudo sacrifice. With D.S.I.P. doubles,  it is now safe to compete . Why ? because if they bid again with partner wanting to compete with some defense , she will do so with a double. I have no problem with a trump stack in their suit as I convert for penalties. Without D.S.I.P. doubles , time after time partner rescued them from 3 to 3 going down our way. D.S.I.P. doubles prevent rescuing the opponents by over competing. The D.S.I.P. double also prevents pseudo sacrifices as partner would double first to compete again even at the game level .



            A local couple , very vocal critics of D.S.I.P. doubles ,  bid this hand the following way . ♠Kx KJx xx ♣AKJ109x . I opened 1 in 3rd seat& they overcalled 2♣ . This was passed around to me who had a reasonable 6-4 but with a stiff heart so I chose to re-open with 2. They wanted to compete again & not sell out for 2 which is reasonable. He bid 3♣ to compete & BJ doubled . This went for –800 , his partner held J10xx Q10xx KJ10xx ♣void . Playing D.S.I.P. doubles , you show a good overcall with defensive strength via a double. This of course gets converted so its our side that is scrambling to hold 2 to the minimum number down possibly doubled  ! This action is the classic case of partner bidding to rescue the opponents from a bad spot. I have seen this happen more times than I can count . This horrible practice provided one of the main incentive for us to introduce D.S.I.P. doubles.


            A double is just too versatile a bid to waste on trump stack doubles or takeout in competition. By not playing D.S.I.P. doubles in competition,  to me is just straight bad single handed gambling. Partner does not know if you are bidding again on strength or distribution. You must guess so if you guess wrong possibly a disaster. Playing D.S.I.P. doubles,  I can compete again to 3♣ so partner knows that I am doing it on distribution rather than HCP strength as I did not make a D.S.I.P. double. Partner is now better placed if more bidding takes place. In fact , playing D.S.I.P. double allows you to compete more with distribution as partner will not get carried away by  punishing  you for pushing them up. Without D.S.I.P. doubles , by over competing you caused partner to make a bad penalty double because you “bid twice” . They make the doubled contract ,  when all you wanted to do was push them up. With D.S.I.P. theory , you have described your hand as distributional when you competed again just  by bidding as opposed to doubling . If  partner now doubles for penalty , she is basically on her own. 


            Your bidding philosophy ( trapping , avoiding misfit auctions )  should be based on not rescuing the opponents. Rubber Bridge players know that the most lucrative way to make money is to give bad bidders enough rope to hang themselves. Extracting a penalty should be the first thought & not the “thrill” of playing the hand yourself. Tom Gandolfo opened 1NT , the vul opponents play Capelletti so they bid 2♣. I doubled with Kxxx QJx Axx ♣Jxx which Tom alerted as Stayman. Tom’s RHO bid 2 , so should Tom introduce his 4 card major ? Of course not , as they are vul & you are not , so you may be just rescuing the opponents from a disaster. If it is your hand , partner will double again , so you may choose to show your 4 card heart suit at that time. They bid 3♣ which partner doubles so you just pass. They go for 1100 with top defense & you can not make anything !!