The Most IMPs I've Ever Seen

Compact Knockouts at the Santa Clara Regional
Saturday, August 30, 2003
With Frank Smoot, Steve Conaway, and Elaine (one of Frank's bridge students)

The objective of the day was to get Steve his one gold point he needed to
get his Life Master, and to get Elaine the 4+ golds she needed to get her
to the next level (NABC Master).

We accomplished the objective.

We made it to the finals, but lost there, so wound up in second place,
worth 7.48 Gold Points.  Steve and Elaine were ecstatic.  And that Saturday
(where at that point, we had won at least 4.49 golds) was Steve's birthday
to boot!  How 'bout that?

So the hand of the day was one where, when we were comparing scores, I said,
"990" to Frank, who replied "Gain 1 IMP" when he compared it to his plus 1010.
1010-990 was only 20, right?  And 20 is one IMP.  I said, "Hold on!  We were
PLUS 990!"  "Plus??? Oh ..." said Frank, "that's a difference of ... 2000,
not 20, which is worth ... 19 IMPs!"

Here was the hand.

NS Vulnerable
South Dealer


-                       J3
AKQ975                  863
AT842                   KQJ965
J3                      AK


  At our table, Steve sat South and eyeing the vulnerability, opened 2 spades.
The next hand overcalled 3 hearts and I bid 4 spades.  East, also seeing 
vulnerable opponents at the 4 level, with the minor suits covered and partner
having the heart suit covered, decided the plum was ripe for picking and
doubled us.  They cashed a heart and it was soon over after switching to clubs.
Making 5 after the clubs nicely set up after one high ruff.   That was 990 for us.

  By the way, that was not at all a very challenging defense, not that it
mattered on this hand with Steve having 7, not 6 spades.  A lot better would be
to continue hearts, shortening dummy's trumps and if partner DID have 3 spades
with clubs stopped, declarer would have to work on clubs before pulling trumps.
If the defense can then force dummy again, declarer may never enjoy all those
clubs.  Imagine East with xxx, xxx, QJ9xx, AK and South with KQJTxx, xxx, Kxx, x.

  On the other hand, perhaps the only way to set it would be to play for East
to have King-third of trump and a club void.  Is that reasonable?  Could South
have QJTxxx, xx, xx, AKx?  Perhaps, but I like my suggested defense better.

  Who knows how high I would have to bid, but spades is a good sacrifice over
whatever number of hearts they choose to bid.  6 spades over 6 hearts is only
-200 instead of 1010, and 7 spades over 7 hearts is only -500 instead of 1510.
How's this delightful sequence to get to the optimal spot?  
      South  West  North  East
      =====  ====  =====  ====
       2S     3H    4S     5D (risking the slight chance of partner passing)
       P      5S(!) 6S     7D (If partner has spades controlled, sounds right)
       P      P     7S   Double
      All Pass
Not unreasonable.  Yes, East/West only get to 7 diamonds instead of 7 hearts,
but East can't tell that on this hand West's hearts were strong enough and they
split well enough to pick up the suit for no losers.  If South held Jack-fourth
of hearts, instead of jack-third, 7 diamonds makes where 7 hearts goes down.

  At Frank's table, the south player for some unknown reason, did NOT preempt,
so Frank got to open one heart.  The long club hand bid 4 clubs and after
Frank had been drilling in the mantra "Raise partner's major suit" into Elaine
all tournament, heard her 4 heart raise.  Frank had also got her to cuebid, so
he bid 5 diamonds and Elaine bid 6 clubs.  Frank didn't trust her enough to
bid/explore 7, so he contented himself with 6 hearts, which made 7, for 1010.

2000 points, good for 20 IMPs was the most I've ever seen exchanged on one hand.
For reference, here is the complete IMP chart.

Score Delta    IMPs
===========    ====
  20-  40        1
  50-  80        2
  90- 120        3
 130- 160        4
 170- 210        5
 220- 260        6
 270- 310        7
 320- 360        8
 370- 420        9
 430- 490       10
 500- 590       11
 600- 740       12
 750- 890       13
 750- 890       13
 900-1090       14
1100-1290       15
1300-1490       16
1500-1740       17
1750-1990       18
2000-2240       19
2250-2490       20
2500-2990       21
3000-3490       22
3500-3990       23
4000+           24