Thursday, May 05, 2005 3:19 PM

Hand Evaluation  - Quick Tricks & Defense




            It is difficult to quantify expert intuition & judgment.  D.S.I.P. theory is in the domain of Bridge experts because they know how to evaluate a hand for defensive purposes. How much defense is required for D.S.I.P. doubles ? This requirement obviously changes due to the level of bidding , whether it’s the overcaller/opener or responder.  I think to answer the question we should draw on the experience of Marty Bergen & Culbertson/ Lenz.


            First of all we should be like Marty Bergen & borrow his expression “points - schmoints” . HCP’s are a recipe for disaster. In competitive auctions , there is distribution & trump fits that will render HCP’s useless in many cases. D.S.I.P. doubles should go back to the Culbertson/Lenz days where quick defensive tricks were the only requirement for an opening bid.


Quick Tricks:

The requirement for quick tricks for an opening bid or any defensive bids for that matter ,  have been around since the Culbertson times. The reason for quick tricks should be obvious to any Bridge player. Partners make penalty doubles , make competitive decisions , game and slam decisions based on partners opening bid or overcall. If these bids do not have quick defensive tricks , doubled contracts will make & competitive decisions will result in you taking a penalty. Controls are a needed ingredient for slams and games . Eric Kokish calls these controls “transferable values”  as they are useful for both defense & offense. Failing to have those cards will throw partner off in judging Bridge hands so bad decisions will result. Partner builds her judgment based on quick tricks.                                                                                   

Quick tricks are based on probabilities as is the game of Bridge. If there is a 50 % chance that a card like a King or an AQ combination will take a trick than it’s a trick . Bridge was played for 25 years where this was the only requirement for an opening bid. In the 1940’s , HCP’s were added as a requirement along with the basic quick trick criteria.           

            For judging competitive auctions for a D.S.I.P. double , A  D.S.I.P. double by the primary player ( the opener or overcaller) should have the quick tricks required to come within a trick of booking their contract. The responder just needs to be maximum for his bid but measured in quick tricks !  D.S.I.P. doubles are playing with fire. Partner must rely on your controls so with her holding in their trump suit  she is able to confidently convert.


            Do not forget in order to compete again , you do not need to make a D.S.I.P. double,  you can just bid. You have plenty of distribution but lack the quick tricks to make a D.S.I.P. double. D.S.I.P. doubles & quick tricks are a natural marriage. Think in quick tricks for D.S.I.P. doubles. Back to the auction & early contract Bridge days where quick tricks were the main ( only ) way to evaluate a Bridge hand.


            Breaking these rules result in needless losses. D.S.I.P. theory is not at fault , the players are. I held ♠x xxxx 1098 ♣A10987 & they opened 1& responded 1♠ . Tom bid 2vul & they bid 4♠. I was guilty of picturing the ideal hand for partner. No wasted HCP’s in spades with a long heart suit. I decided that 5 would be a nice bid so I invited partner  to do so with a double. Tom held the worst hand possible for me ♠KQx AKJxx xx ♣QJx so he converted for penalty. Unfortunately they make the hand with two voids. I was a quick trick short for my bid but the system was blamed rather than me who was the real culprit.


            Tom was guilty of violating the Quick Trick requirement for a D.S.I.P. double ♠KQxxx x QJx ♣10xxx . They opened 1 vul & Tom overcalled 1♠ . They Q bid 2♠ so I decided to give a lead director with ♠x xxx K109xx ♣AQJx & bid 3♣. They bid 3 , Tom competed to 4♣ & they bid 4. I passed so around to Tom. Tom does not have enough defense to double. He can just bid 5♣ if he wants to make a sacrifice or pass. The double gets you –790 & -5 .IMPS