
The big swing on Hand 1 did it. But now
let's IMP it, that is convert the net points on each hand to IMPs. For
Hand 1 take the net total points for TEAM A of 560 and look that number
up on the IMP scale in figure 15. The IMP scale can be found inside the
convention card where the private score is kept. Going down the column
marked Diff. In Pts. (for 560 is the difference in points between
TABLE 1 and TABLE 2), we see that 560 falls between the numbers 500  590.
That range equals 11 IMPs. So TEAM A is plus 11 IMPs.
Now IMP TEAM B (or IMP TEAM A but consider it negative IMPs). In Hand 2
there was a net SCORE for TEAM B of +180 points which
translates on the IMP scale to +5 IMPs. (180 is between 170 and 210.) Do
the same for Hand 3. The total net SCORE of + 240
for TEAM B is between 220  260 which translates on the IMP scale to +6
IMPs. Total IMPs for TEAM A is 11 IMPs; total IMPs for TEAM B is 5 + 6
or 11 IMPs. So even though TEAM A got a high SCORE
on Board 1 (high enough to win when considering net total points), when
converting all the SCORES to IMPs, there is a tie:
11 IMPs each. The IMPs smoothed out the big swings and reduced their influence.
HANDICAPPING & VICTORY POINTS: Suppose
during a Swiss Teamof4 event one team scores and unusually high amount
of IMPs. They are playing against very weak opponents and let's say score
over 50 IMPs. This is certainly not fair to the rest of the contesting
teams.
One
way to maintain equity is to have teams with similar scores play each other.
That is to handicap the pairing of the matches. This of course has to happen
after the first round. (The first round is pot luck.) So after the first
round the team that is first will play the team that is second; the team
that is third will play the team that is fourth; and so on until the team
that is last will play the team that is next to last. No team will play
any other team more than once. In most events this pairing is done by computer.
Still
the inequity of a large IMP score may occur. The way to solve this problem
is to smooth out the IMP score and put an upper limit on the number of
IMPs won. This is done with Victory Points. A Victory Point scale along
with the IMP scale will be found on the inside of the convention card where
the private score is kept. Look at the 20 Victory Point scale. See figure
16 below. If the teams are tied, that is the team won by 0 IMPs, then each
team gets 10 Victory Points. If a team won by, let's say 5 IMPs, then the
winning team gets 13 Victory Points and the losing team gets 7. And if
a team won by 21 IMPs, the winning team gets 18 Victory Points and the
losing team 2 Victory Points. For each match the total number of Victory
Points between the two teams is 20.
Note
that a win of 28 * IMPs or more will only get the winning team 20 Victory
Points (and the losing team 0). So if a team won the match by 50 IMPs they
will still only get 20 Victory Points. This is the maximum number of Victory
Points won per match.
Thus
with the handicapping and Victory Points, the Swiss Teamof4 tournaments
are exciting, closely fought battles. Ah, but how to fight these battles.
That is the strategy of Teamof4.
* A win of 28 IMPs or more
is known as a Blitz.
TEAMOF 4 STRATEGY
BIDDING: The bidding strategy in Teamof4
is more or less similar to Match Point pairs. A difference: close vulnerable
games should be bid. The numbers talk. Bidding 4 of a major vul and making
it is 620 points. If the opponents (with your cards) bid 3 of the major
they get 170 points. You have a net score of 620  170 or 450 which equals
10 IMPs. If the game is not there and you go down 1 for a loss of 100 and
the opponents make 3 for 140 then they get 100 + 140 or 240 which equals
6 IMPs. 6 IMPs compared to 10 IMPs is a 3:5 ratio. So if out of 8 games
you bid a close game, you will break even if you lose 5 times and make
it 3 times. 5 out of 8 is 62 ½ %. Then close vul games should be
bid 62 ½ % of the time. This is at a more frequent rate than in
pair games.
The numbers can also demonstrate that bidding close slams are to be done
with the same frequency as in pair games. A 50 % chance is considered acceptable
for a small slam and 60 % for a grand slam.
Some
players believe that all close games and slams should be bid in Teamof4
matches. That is, if you smell game, bid it. Maybe overall you could be
slightly more daring in team games. . . but not that daring. It is usually
the conservative, steady, down the middle bidder that will get the better
results and walk away with the biggest piece of the pie.
This
is especially true in part score bidding. Be aggressive, like Duplicate
pairs, at the 1 and 2 level. Look at the numbers. Opponents bid 2 !
Making 2 for 140 points. At the other table the opponents (with your cards)
bid 2 $
making 2 for 110 points. They got 140 + 110 or 250 points net for 6 IMPs.
Not so small a number. In this case be aggressive; bid 2 $.
At
the 3 level, especially if vul, watch it! Getting doubled and going down
2 or 3 tricks could cause the match to be lost on this one board. And all
over a part score.
Sacrifice
bidding, in pairs or teamof4, depends on accurate diagnosis. Can the
opponents make game? Can we go down only 2 or 3 tricks? What is the vulnerable
situation? Good assessment will lead to good bidding. Be careful. In Teamof4
if you sacrifice, go down doubled and there is not a game (or a slam) for
the opponents, then the IMP carnage will be great.
Penalty
doubles can also be costly. Especially doubling the opponents into a game.
Make sure you got them before you get them.
Unlike
pair events where you can get a top by SCORING even
10 points higher than the rest of the field, in Teamof4 IMP events you
are playing against only one opponent. 10 or even 20 points will hardly
matter. If it is safer to play the hand in a minor than in a major or No
Trump, do so. Example: you play are playing in 2 of a major making 2 for
110, while your opponents (with your cards) play in a safer 2 of
a minor contract making 2 for 90. Then you are up 110  90 or 20
points. On the IMP scale this is 1 IMP. Not much. But if you went
down 1 in the unsafe major contract and lost 100 points then you would
be down 110 + 100 or 210 which is 5 IMPs. A considerably larger number.
This leads us to the following Teamof4 maxim: savings of 1 or 2 IMPs
are comparatively insignificant.
To
summarize: Play in the best contract, weather major, minor or No Trump.
Teamof4 game and slam bids are like duplicate pairs except be more aggressive
when it comes to bidding close vul games. Do not compete too strongly for
a part score at the 3 level. Be conservative with sacrificing and making
penalty doubles. In Teamof4 do not go for the big swings. Bid it safe,
be chicken.
Shakespeare:
Conscience doth make cowards of us all.
Bridge: Cowardice doth make winners of us all.
PLAY OF THE HAND: Even though every IMP
is important and counted, do not lose sight of the big picture: get a positive
score. Over tricks are good to have (especially in close matches) and if
they are there certainly take them. But do not jeopardize the contract
for an over trick. In pair games in certain situations it should be done,
but NOT in Teamof4. This means that the Declarer should take every precaution
by taking every possible safety play.
Losing
an IMP or two (a good title for a song: "An IMP or Two") by not making
that extra trick will usually not matter. Small swings are insignificant.
Playing the hand is like money in the bank: making the contract is the
principal; over tricks are the interest. The Teamof4 motto: the paramount
concern is to safeguard the principal, that is make the contract.
DEFENSE: In pair games Defense is complicate
because you might have to let Declarer make the contract in order
to be sure you get the tricks that you are entitled to. That is. Sometimes
you concede the contract to prevent the over trick. At Teamof4 as mentioned
earlier, relative small swings are insignificant. Thus the primary objective
of Teamof4 Defense is: to set the contract. What ever it takes and at
all costs: set the contract.
Example:
the opponents bid 3 u
and make 4 for 130 points. If set 1 vul you would get 100 points. Instead
of losing 130 you gain 100. That is a swing of 130 + 100 or 230 points
which translates into 6 IMPs. So be tough, concentrate and set the contract. 