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MPs v. IMPs - and playing the odds

#1 User is offline   661_Pete 

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Posted 2017-August-12, 09:07

I'm sure this topic has been raised before: but sorry couldn't find a thread to add to.

It's obvious that almost all tables in the Acol Club on BBO (and, I guess, also in the MBC, RBC etc.) are scored IMPs. I presume that's just a universal preference amongst players.

Our local fortnightly pairs contest at the U3A (very informal) is scored MPs, on the other hand, and always has been. I've sometimes wondered whether to drop a hint to the group organiser, whether to try IMPs one day? But I'd better not - he puts enough hard work into the event as it is, and everyone else is used to the current system.

Personally, I'm quite happy to play either system, and don't usually find reason to modify my play according to the system. I'm not that skilful a player!

But sometimes I do. Yesterday I was faced with a hopeless 3NT, vulnerable against not. I could see that, playing off my winners, I was going two down. If I managed to drop an outstanding queen (unlikely), I'd restrict it to one down. If I successfully finessed against that queen, again one down. But if the finesse failed, it would be four down.

I paused for a moment. What's best? At MPs, going -200 would probably be a bottom or near-bottom anyway, so what's to be lost by risking the finesse? If it had been IMPs, I'd have thought, -400 pen. translates into a lot of IMPs, so perhaps better not?

I finessed. It lost. I duly went four down.

So, did I choose wisely or foolishly?

As it transpired, once the results came out, I hadn't landed us a bottom after all! At one table, the EW pair had bagged 530 points somehow. I haven't yet figured out how one gets 530, non-vul - perhaps someone can fill me in?
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#2 User is offline   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2017-August-12, 10:13

530 = 3 of a major doubled making, 90x2 + 50 + 300
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#3 User is offline   661_Pete 

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Posted 2017-August-12, 10:50

 Cyberyeti, on 2017-August-12, 10:13, said:

530 = 3 of a major doubled making, 90x2 + 50 + 300
Thanks. That makes sense - I was wondering whether someone had entered the scoresheet wrong.
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#4 User is online   johnu 

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Posted 2017-August-12, 14:13

I would have to see the your hand and dummy, the auction, and the cards already played to have an opinion.

e.g. you've grossly overbid to 3NT. It looks like most of the field will be in 1NT or 2NT. If the assumed finesse works, your -100 isn't good compared to +120, but if they try to make they will go down 2 or 3 tricks (extrapolating from your -4 assumed result). You can then tie the 1NT contracts and beat the 2NT contracts by playing for down 2.
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#5 User is online   The_Badger 

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Posted 2017-August-12, 15:48

I'm a not a great fan of Match Points and Pairs generally - I prefer teams - for the reason you have stated: You start analysing the potential score before even considering making the contract.

I have played many pairs events where I have played against the odds on hands to maybe secure a few tops that we needed desperately to give ourselves a potential chance of winning.

Is that good bridge I ask? In my retrospective opinion it is not.

I prefer IMPs. It is so annoying to make a contract with a correct safety play then to find that Mr and Mrs Average Bridge Player hasn't even considered that and made the contract with an overtrick :(
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#6 User is offline   steve2005 

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Posted 2017-August-12, 16:22

 The_Badger, on 2017-August-12, 15:48, said:

I have played many pairs events where I have played against the odds on hands to maybe secure a few tops that we needed desperately to give ourselves a potential chance of winning.

Is that good bridge I ask? In my retrospective opinion it is not.

Is good question. I prefer imps cause is more like rubber bridge.
What I don't know is how people make these decisions at board a match, which I have never really played.


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#7 User is offline   Vampyr 

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Posted 2017-August-14, 09:38

View PostThe_Badger, on 2017-August-12, 15:48, said:

I'm a not a great fan of Match Points and Pairs generally - I prefer teams - for the reason you have stated: You start analysing the potential score before even considering making the contract.f


Teams need IMP pairs are very different though. The latter is a hopeless form of scoring.

Here in London the most popular night to play bridge is Friday, and unfortunately the format at the most popular club is IMP Pairs. They even use an arrow-switch for a one-winner movement, which is obviously ludicrous. But it's fun, and IMPs is probably a better format when everyone's drinking. But it is not a valid contest.
I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones -- Albert Einstein
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#8 User is offline   helene_t 

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Posted 2017-August-14, 20:48

View PostVampyr, on 2017-August-14, 09:38, said:

IMPs is probably a better format when everyone's drinking.

That settles it :)
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