Matchpoints Versus IMPs:
Different Games, Different Strategies
Augie Boehm

Discounts on bulk purchases.

September 2010
140 pp. (paper)

ISBN: 978-09664286-4-3


I'm on a dual mission. One is to contrast the winning strategies needed for matchpoint bridge versus IMPs (International Match Points), the two most popular forms of scoring. The other is to tackle the tantalizing question of which form of scoring is the more skillful, and the role that luck plays.

For matchpoints, think duplicate pairs, whether at your local club or a large tournament. For IMPs, think Swiss or Knockout Team-of-Four. Within the team category, you'll discover that there are different strategies for Swiss, Knockout, or Board-a-Match. One size cannot fit all.

Matchpoint and IMP events are based on very different scoring systems. Matchpoint scoring rewards the frequency of gain; how often do you find the winning action? IMP scoring rewards the amount of gain, the same basis for rubber bridge. Each form of competition is distinctive, and a successful, well-rounded player must master a broad range of strategies.

Chapter 10, the conclusion to Part One, goes into detail about which form of scoring seems the more skillful. In that same chapter, I'll discuss how to pick a personal style and philosophical approach, which, in the long run, is more important than deciding which conventions to play. Along the way, you can ponder observations from World Champions Bob Hamman, Bobby Wolff, Kit Woolsey, and Zia.

While I'm mentioning bridge stars, let me add two whose names you may not know, Penny Glassmeyer and Susan Mayo. Penny and Susan were my eagle-eyed proof-readers. Besides catching errors, they made several useful suggestions about how to improve the clarity of the text. They are stars in my eyes.

And there is one other bridge player to mention, although that is not how she thinks of herself: Melissa Hubner. She is an enthusiastic supporter of my projects, a keen and helpful literary eye, and a wonderful wife.

Some of the material in this book first appeared in my monthly column in the ACBL Bridge Bulletin; those columns have been expanded. Much of the material is entirely new. Part One of this book concentrates on the bidding; Part Two focuses on card play. Each offers separate challenges. Let's get started.

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