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Teams-Of-Four Strategy and Tips

#1 User is offline   32519 

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Posted 2013-April-18, 03:54

Both the inter-club team-of-four as well as the inter-provincial team-of-four tournaments are scheduled for later this year. Our local club will be playing in the inter-club tournament.

Any strategy, tips and tricks etc will be appreciated e.g. If you know the players from the opposing team, do you pit your strongest players against their strongest players or do you do it the other way round?

Thanks in advance.
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#2 User is offline   PhilKing 

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Posted 2013-April-18, 05:43

View Post32519, on 2013-April-18, 03:54, said:

If you know the players from the opposing team, do you pit your strongest players against their strongest players or do you do it the other way round?



It depends. If you are the stronger team, you should tend to put your strong pair in the same seats as there strong pair. The reason is to reduce variance. Imagine all the tough slams and play problems etc are in a particular direction and you will see the effect.

However, it depends more on the personalities. In one team I play on the weakest player plays much better against good pairs, and on another, the best pair is at their best against weak pairs, so that tends to override other considerations, although they would hopefully tend to coincide.
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#3 User is offline   gnasher 

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Posted 2013-April-18, 06:31

View PostPhilKing, on 2013-April-18, 05:43, said:

It depends. If you are the stronger team, you should tend to put your strong pair in the same seats as there strong pair. The reason is to reduce variance. Imagine all the tough slams and play problems etc are in a particular direction and you will see the effect.

However, it depends more on the personalities. In one team I play on the weakest player plays much better against good pairs, and on another, the best pair is at their best against weak pairs, so that tends to override other considerations, although they would hopefully tend to coincide.

I'm just going to go and pore over the lineups from some old matches and try to work out which side of the good/bad line you put me on.
... that would still not be conclusive proof, before someone wants to explain that to me as well as if I was a 5 year-old. - gwnn
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#4 User is offline   PhilKing 

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Posted 2013-April-18, 06:44

View Postgnasher, on 2013-April-18, 06:31, said:

I'm just going to go and pore over the lineups from some old matches and try to work out which side of the good/bad line you put me on.


Sometimes you have to put your fastest pair in to avoid slow play fines. :P
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#5 User is offline   FrancesHinden 

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Posted 2013-April-18, 15:29

View Post32519, on 2013-April-18, 03:54, said:

Both the inter-club team-of-four as well as the inter-provincial team-of-four tournaments are scheduled for later this year. Our local club will be playing in the inter-club tournament.

Any strategy, tips and tricks etc will be appreciated e.g. If you know the players from the opposing team, do you pit your strongest players against their strongest players or do you do it the other way round?

Thanks in advance.


If you know the opponents then personalities are far more important. If a member of your team finds opponent A really irritating, then try and avoid putting him at the same table, because he'll be distracted and not play at his best.
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#6 User is offline   CamHenry 

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Posted 2013-April-18, 16:04

View PostFrancesHinden, on 2013-April-18, 15:29, said:

If you know the opponents then personalities are far more important. If a member of your team finds opponent A really irritating, then try and avoid putting him at the same table, because he'll be distracted and not play at his best.


Conversely, if you have a pair who play a complicated artificial system and there's one player on the other side who goes on tilt against such things, make him suffer it: it'll weaken their partnership trust for the session, and that's a good way to swing IMPs.
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#7 User is offline   SteveMoe 

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Posted 2013-April-18, 18:01

...and put the pair on your team that can put the most pressure on opponents against their stronger pair.
Be the partner you want to play with.
Trust demands integrity, balance and collaboration.
District 11
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Steve Moese
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#8 User is offline   PhilKing 

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Posted 2013-April-18, 18:38

View PostSteveMoe, on 2013-April-18, 18:01, said:

...and put the pair on your team that can put the most pressure on opponents against their stronger pair.


Imo this is upside down.
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#9 User is offline   32519 

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Posted 2013-April-18, 23:35

Every team entering is allowed six players per team.

Does anyone have any tips on how best to utilise the third pair, bearing in mind that the third pair is usually also your weakest pair?
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#10 User is offline   FrancesHinden 

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Posted 2013-April-19, 00:25

If the third pair is obviously weaker than the other two pairs, why not stick to four players? Just because you are allowed six, doesn't mean you have to use them.
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#11 User is offline   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2013-April-19, 02:48

View PostFrancesHinden, on 2013-April-19, 00:25, said:

If the third pair is obviously weaker than the other two pairs, why not stick to four players? Just because you are allowed six, doesn't mean you have to use them.


Depends on the stamina of the other pairs.

The decision to take is whether you have 3 pairs, 2 pairs and a third pair who won't play much, or one pair who will pretty much play throughout and 2 others that will work round them, and make sure the team is happy with that. My most successful run in the UK's premier KO teams event (losing to Frances in the last 8) was very much as the third pair in our team, and we accepted that we'd only play 1/3-1/2 of the boards just to keep the other pairs fresh.
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#12 User is offline   32519 

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Posted 2013-April-19, 22:33

How about a simple scenario?
As declarer you have two lines of play –
1. Line 1 guarantees the contract without the need for a finesse, but also with no overtricks.
2. Line 2 needs a finesse but it guarantees an overtrick if successful. Should it prove unsuccessful you start putting pressure on yourself.

Which line do you take? Should the state of the match affect your decision?
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#13 User is offline   Cthulhu D 

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Posted 2013-April-20, 02:22

View Post32519, on 2013-April-19, 22:33, said:

How about a simple scenario?
As declarer you have two lines of play –
1. Line 1 guarantees the contract without the need for a finesse, but also with no overtricks.
2. Line 2 needs a finesse but it guarantees an overtrick if successful. Should it prove unsuccessful you start putting pressure on yourself.

Which line do you take? Should the state of the match affect your decision?


It depends on the contract - if you're in a normal contract, 1 overtrick = 1 imp. As Vul game swing is 11 imps, so you should take the safety play unless the line for the overtricks is 91% or better. If you're not sure the other team will be in the same spot, it becomes even less rewarding. A more intresting question is when you should tke the safe line for off one, or an uncertain line to risk making vs off three.
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#14 User is offline   FrancesHinden 

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Posted 2013-April-20, 04:03

View Post32519, on 2013-April-19, 22:33, said:

How about a simple scenario?
As declarer you have two lines of play –
1. Line 1 guarantees the contract without the need for a finesse, but also with no overtricks.
2. Line 2 needs a finesse but it guarantees an overtrick if successful. Should it prove unsuccessful you start putting pressure on yourself.

Which line do you take? Should the state of the match affect your decision?


You usually take the line with the greatest expected IMP return. (Which can sometimes be hard to calculate, that's why bridge is a difficult game.)
Of course the state of the match affects this. In the extreme case you are 10 imps up with 1 board to play. It's not hard to calculate that you should not play for an overtrick.
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#15 User is offline   32519 

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Posted 2013-April-20, 05:22

View PostCthulhu D, on 2013-April-20, 02:22, said:

A more intresting question is when you should tke the safe line for off one, or an uncertain line to risk making vs off three.

This is a very interesting question you have raised here. If you either know or suspect that your side is trailing by e.g. 10 IMPs with 3 boards to go, are you allowed a quick “time out” to confirm what you suspect? Finding out that your guesstimate was correct, you now start taking the riskier option hoping to make up the deficit on the last 3 boards.
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#16 User is offline   Vampyr 

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Posted 2013-April-20, 06:06

View Post32519, on 2013-April-20, 05:22, said:

If you either know or suspect that your side is trailing by e.g. 10 IMPs with 3 boards to go, are you allowed a quick “time out” to confirm what you suspect?


What are you suggesting, scoring up at random times? Have you ever played in an event where this was permitted?
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#17 User is offline   32519 

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Posted 2013-April-20, 07:07

View PostVampyr, on 2013-April-20, 06:06, said:

What are you suggesting, scoring up at random times? Have you ever played in an event where this was permitted?

A lot of different sports allow a “time out” for a team to regroup, rethink or refocus. Most (all?) sports have a visible scoreboard so all the players know exactly what the status of the game is. Sports such as cycling and Formula 1 have radio communication to inform the team / driver as to whatever the current situation is. So why not introduce something similar in Team-Of-Four in bridge? If your team is about to eliminated, why not allow a “time out” to assess the current situation? The trailing team can now become reckless to try and save the situation. If the recklessness backfires, so what? You were on the verge of elimination anyway.

Where is the WBF now to introduce something new into the game?
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#18 User is offline   PhilKing 

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Posted 2013-April-20, 07:11

The hands in each room are not played simultaneously, so you will not be able to get a running total.

But you can probably assume you need a few game swings by this stage. :(
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#19 User is offline   32519 

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Posted 2013-April-20, 08:16

View PostPhilKing, on 2013-April-20, 07:11, said:

The hands in each room are not played simultaneously, so you will not be able to get a running total.

But you can probably assume you need a few game swings by this stage. :(

In the early stages of the round robin matches, or the early stages of the knockout matches, there is no need to change this. However, as the round robin or knockout matches start drawing to a close, introduce a new ruling –
1. The boards in both rooms must now be played in numerical sequence.
2. After say, every two boards now, the trailing team can ask for a “time out” to assess the current situation. Now they can start becoming reckless to try stay in the tournament. As already said, if the recklessness backfires, so what? They were on the point of elimination anyway.

Any takers?
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#20 User is offline   PhilKing 

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Posted 2013-April-20, 08:20

View Post32519, on 2013-April-20, 08:16, said:

Any takers?


I don't care for the idea, but it's possible, and we could put on "Eye of the Tiger" during the interval to get the audience going.

Were I the NPC, I would probably want to have the option of making a late substitution as well, bringing on a "lag" (loose aggressive player) if behind and a "rock" if leading.
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