Tuesday, January 10, 2006 5:15 AM

Hand Evaluation - D.S.I.P. Theory




            What is D.S.I.P. theory ? We have written over one hundred articles on the subject www.pitbulls.shawbiz.ca/Coaches%20Corner/D.S.I.P/  but what it is it exactly ?    What these competitive doubles entail is a brand new way of competing in the game of Bridge with all competitive auctions up to but not including the 5 level. We divide the Bridge playing field into two camps. Auctions that we “own” due to the strength of our bidding & auctions that we do not or may not. In the auctions we own , forcing pass theory is the law of the land. In all other competitive auctions , D.S.I.P. theory takes over.


            D.S.I.P. theory is based on the re-definition of the penalty double. With the old way of competing , the penalty double meant I have their suit so lets not compete anymore. The double was designed to discourage further bidding.  The D.S.I.P. double is just the opposite. The D.S.I.P. double says I have defense measured in quick tricks so I am transferring the decision to partner who may be in a better position to make the final determination whether to compete again. This D.S.I.P. double is a competitive double so only applies as the “initial action” in a competitive situation.


            How do penalty doubles occur in these competitive auctions ? These occur in two ways . Either partner must double in order to “check back” with partner to compete again. Partner can deny permission holding their trump so convert for penalty. This is similar to negative double theory. The other way for a penalty double is that there is only one D.S.I.P. double allowed per customer. Once your side has taken an “initial action” either by making a D.S.I.P. double or bidding , all subsequent doubles are for penalty.


            D.S.I.P. doubles are all inclusive as long as your side does not “own the auction” . This means after overcalls, T/O doubles , balancing , 1NT bids & in rare cases even after pre-empts ( action doubles ) . In order to compete successfully with D.S.I.P. doubles , you must be very familiar with the cues that turn on forcing passes. 2/1 , limit raise or better , strong conventional bids etc. If you are not 100 % sure that forcing pass theory applies & you are below the 5 level, D.S.I.P. Theory is the default. The IMP scale encourages this style of competitive doubles as the scale robs you when you get huge sets anyway. Also a doubled game contract in IMPS , is a small loss & not a disaster.


            D.S.I.P. theory is for Bridge experts only. The reason we say that is that it necessitates judgment in hand evaluation to convert auctions for penalty , to know if forcing passes apply instead . You also require discipline with your opening bids, T/O doubles and overcalls. If you are a random bidder with respect to your opening bids , overcalls and T/O doubles , D.S.I.P. theory will not work. Partner assumes you are disciplined & have your bid as the basis for her competitive doubles. Partner also assumes you know how to defend.


            What are the advantages of competing with D.S.I.P. theory over the traditional way ? The main reason is that Bridge is a partnership game so it allows both partners input into competitive decisions. Since Bridge is played in a clockwise direction, . quite often in competitive auctions  partner would compete once more when you wanted to double them for penalty . This action was doing yourself in by “rescuing them” . With D.S.I.P. theory , partner must transfer the decision to you with a double so now the partnership makes the decision. The old way of competing was rampant with “impatient solo artists” who made single handed decisions for the partnership. We may as well go down rather than them was the norm in competitive auctions. I like playing the hand  vrs defending anyway L.


            Another advantage of D.S.I.P. theory is identifying duplication of value in their suit. The D.S.I.P. double says we do not have values in their suit. This is like playing “splinters” so you can make more informed competitive decisions. D.S.I.P. doubles prevent pseudo sacrifices as we are more informed about the status of their suit. There are many competitive auctions where the opponents are trying to “steal” your auction. You do not want to double them for penalty as it nowhere compensates for what you can make but you do not have a clear cut action. You now can make a D.S.I.P. double which just shows “cards” rather than their suit. The partnership now makes the competitive decision. The double is the most flexible bid in Bridge. Reserving it for a trump stack , is a blatant waste of a good bid in competitive auctions.


            Another advantage of D.S.I.P. theory  is when partner competes by just bidding we have the negative inference she did not make a D.S.I.P. double. This allows more bidding/competing without the partnership punishing each other because “you took another bid” . This is a Tom Gandolfo favourite with D.S.I.P. theory as it allows him to bid even more J.


       In so called “modern bidding” people bid more & pre-empt more. D.S.I.P. theory adds much needed structure to combat this invasion. Doubles of pre-empts above the negative double level are never trump stack they just show cards. This understanding allows partner to make more informed decisions when they pre-empt. Re-opening doubles with defensive tricks allow the trump stack situations to be converted for penalty. D.S.I.P. doubles are still another weapon in combating pre-empts.


            The last advantage is that competitive doubles rids you of single handed trump stack penalty doubles from your competitive repertoire . Partner doubling without your input not knowing whether you have an offensive hand , defensive hand , maximum , minimum or whatever. This gave you the headache whether to pull the double so get into trouble yourself. Doubling them into game really hurts when they make it. D.S.I.P. doubles are an insurance policy as penalty doubles get converted only after knowing that partner has defense. Penalty doubles were also ambiguous. Sometimes they were made with a trump stack or sometimes just “cards” . Ambiguity in any language is a breeding ground for confusion.


            As your skill in Bridge improves , D.S.I.P. doubles are the obvious next step to making good & winning competitive decisions.