Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Dumb and dumber

I've heard of "dumbing down", and the ACBL is certainly quite "masterful" at it (get it?).  But this has to be some sort of world record:  looking at the results of a recent NAP game, I note that a C pair "qualified" with a 32.3% game!  They didn't beat anyone, either in their own section or the other section.  What is going on?  Could this be because there was a simultaneous novice pairs going on at the same location?

Meanwhile, in the third round* of this evening's club Swiss, playing the eventual winners, my team benefited considerably from the non-linear IMP and VP scales.  In six boards, between our two pairs, we managed to lose a total of 59 imps on "errors" with respect to double-dummy bidding and play.  That's 5 imps per pair per board!  Fortunately, the opponents made 18 imps of errors and the net was only 34 (instead of the 41 that would accrue on a linear scale) [our net loss in total points was 2030!]  Of course, this all adds up to being blitzed.  But again, it's better to have all your errors in one set because of the non-linearity of the VP scale.  Thanks to the non-linearity, and despite being 1 IMP (and 90 points) in the hole overall, we still ended up 2 VPs above average and in the money!

As they say, in bridge it's better to be lucky than good!

But enough of this silly philosophizing.  What you want to see is a hand!  Here's one from the second match that both pairs did well on (although this time the non-linearity worked against us of course).
Dealer North. E/W Vulnerable.
♠ K Q J 10 5
A 10 5
9 7 6
♣ 6 5
♠ 8
K J 8 7 3 2
K 8
♣ K J 9 3
Board 9 ♠ A 7 6 4 2
Q 6 4

A 5
♣ 8 7 2
♠ 9 3
Q J 10 4 3 2
♣ A Q 10 4

At the other table, Kim opened the South hand with an excellent third-seat "pressure bid": 3.  This effectively silenced the West player.  Tony raised the preempt to 4 and there it rested.  [BTW: it's usually not necessary to raise a pressure bid unless you have really excellent shape – see my blog Pressure Bids].  Result: -50.

At our table, the South player started with 2 and my partner, Len, deemed his hand just good enough to bid 2 (and I agree).  If I recall correctly, North passed and I was left to consider my hand.  In the context, my hand was about as good as it could be for a passed hand in support of partner's 2: three golden cards.  The only improvement might be if the A was seconded to the clubs instead.  Thinking about the 5:3 reward/risk ratio for a vulnerable game, I jumped to 4 and we played it there.  Result: +650.  As you can see, game is cold.  Indeed it takes a slightly unlikely club lead to hold it to 10 tricks.

This was good for 12 imps but, like a 75 yard kickoff return, it was Kim's 3 call which got us into a winning position.  Imagine that our North and East players both decided to pass.  We'd still be gaining 7 imps on the board.  As it happens, that would have translated into only one fewer VP for the match.

* Incidentally, on this set, the North hand averaged 14.67 hcp per board (including one 2 point board).  That's quite a marked deviation from the norm.

1 comment:

  1. I like Tony's 4D call quite a bit. I think that East is likely to balance with a double without it and the opponents should end up in 4H as well. 4D puts the burden back on West who already couldn't stand the three level. At IMPS, I think West should have risked 3H after pass, pass, preempt but it could easily go ka-boom as well. Agree strongly that 3D by Kim is the right call here.