Sunday, March 17, 2013

Bridge Blog 660: IMPish

            It looked like fun, Sunday’s double session at the Airport Bridge Club, and it looked like a good deal – two full games plus corned beef sandwiches and coleslaw for lunch, all for $14. The fun part was the scoring. Instead of the usual match point game, it would be scored in International Match Points. Your score would be measured against the average score for each hand, then translated into IMPs (or, if you stretch the metaphor, St. Patrick’s Day leprechauns). You could get plus points. You also could get minus points. What we didn't expect were the wild swings in IMP points. One team, Mike Kisiel and Alex Miller, had a minus 84.55 IMPs in the morning and a plus 36.25 in the afternoon, a 120-point swing. Strategy? A little like Swiss teams, except you don’t worry about how the other half of your team is doing. Sort of like Swiss teams for individual pairs.

            Except I was solo. I’d asked Selina Volpatti, my Friday companion in St. Catharines, but she was unavailable. Club manager Bill Finkelstein said Judi Marshall was unattached, but she only wanted to play one game, the afternoon game. If I played only one game, I wanted morning so I could make a 5 p.m. show at the Sportsmen’s Tavern. So no Judi.

            I would up playing with Bill Boardman, who’s easygoing and does well and indulges more conventions than I remember from the last time I played with him, maybe a year ago. We started off like drag racers, racking up more than 30 IMPs in the first two four-board rounds. But then the air leaked out of our game. Particularly damaging was the slam that Paul and Barbara Libby bid and made against us, which gave us minus 11. We were still on the plus side at the end, but only by about five IMPs. No master points.

            The afternoon game was a five-table Howell movement, the perfect Howell, and Bill and I found our groove. “You’ll want to stick around for the results,” Bill Finkestein said as we played the final rounds. Sure enough, we were wayyyy ahead – 49.17 IMPs. First overall for a full master point. That brings my total for March at the club to 6.67. Add another 5 bonus points from the ACBL-wide Charity Game last Tuesday night. And another quarter of a point from St. Catharines. Hey, double digits! And coming up – a week of double points.  

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