IMPs in the cards

May 02, 1960
May 02, 1960

Table of Contents
May 2, 1960

New Season
Deadly Spray
The Derby
Fitness From The Cradle
  • The week of May 1 to 7 has been designated by President Eisenhower as National Youth Fitness Week, and the happy family shown at right is making its own special and significant contribution to it. They have been chosen by Sports Illustrated and Bonnie Prudden to introduce a new program that will help American parents to build a fit generation of children right in their own home—from babyhood on

Water Polo
Sporting Hollywood
19th Hole: The Readers Take Over
Pat On The Back

IMPs in the cards

When a bridge session suddenly explodes into a series of wild distributions, players say, "The devil has got into the cards." To beat the devil, tournaments like the current World Bridge Olympiad in Turin are scored in International Match Points, which are awarded in accordance with a table designed to minimize the chance that a single freak deal might decide an entire championship. Using IMPs, it is possible to gain more by scoring 560 regular bridge points than by scoring 4,100. For instance, if you should make 70 points in each of eight deals, you would be entitled to 16 IMPs (see chart), while 4,100 points on a single deal would be worth only 15 IMPs. Steady play, in other words, would net you more points than one big, lucky hand.

This is an article from the May 2, 1960 issue Original Layout

How is it possible to score more than 4,000 points on a single hand? Here is one way this was done in a match played in Stockholm quite some time ago.

East's leap to four diamonds was an asking bid of a type long obsolete in this country but still used in Europe. The bid asked if partner held first-or second-round control of diamonds. West ignored the intervening double to bid five hearts, showing second-round diamond control and the heart ace. East's five no trump asked partner to bid seven of the agreed suit (by inference, hearts) if he had two top honors. When West bid the grand slam, South "sacrificed" at seven spades.

South ruffed the heart opening and led out his trumps. On the last one, West had to find a discard from the ace of hearts and the king-10-9 of clubs. When West discarded a club, declarer threw the queen of hearts from dummy, saving the ace-jack-6 of clubs.

A successful club finesse, followed by the ace to drop West's king, let South score all the tricks and 2,470 points—substantially better than setting seven hearts one trick.

But his team's gain was to be greater still. At the other table, a teammate bought the contract at seven diamonds doubled, and South selected the queen of clubs for his opening lead. West's king covered, forcing North's ace, and East trumped. After two rounds of trumps, a heart lead revealed North's uncapturable queen. So East led dummy's 10 of clubs and finessed. He led another club; this time North played his jack, and declarer trumped. He returned to dummy with a high heart and discarded his heart losers on the clubs. He too made a grand slam, adding 1,630 points to his team's score.

When bidding warns of freakish distribution, unless you are certain you can set the opponents it is sound practice to buy the contract at any price.

View this article in the original magazine


Opening lead: heart king


Following are IMP equivalents lo bridge points totaled under the usual method. Note that IMPs are calculated after each deal, not after match




= 0


= 1


= 2


= 3


= 4


= 5


= 6


= 7


= 8


= 9


= 10


= 11


= 12


= 13


= 14

4,000 or more

= 15