IMPs and Matchpoints
There are two main
ways to score a duplicate bridge event: IMPs and Matchpoints. The
differences between these two scoring systems often lead to
different styles of play.
matchpoints, your score is compared to the other teams that
played the same hands, and you receive points as follows:
are awarded 1 matchpoint for every pair
that you beat on a given board, and
are awarded ½ matchpoint for every pair
that you tie on a given board.
|Top (1st place)
|Tied for 1st
|Wash (3-way tie)
|Tied for 2nd
Matchpoints with 3 pairs.
|Bottom (3rd place)
When playing matchpoints, all hands count equally, so that you
are not penalized too much for one horrible play or given too
many points for one moment of brilliance. Keep the following in
- The magic number is 50%. For example, you should bid game
if there is at least a 50% chance of making it, and you
should not bid game if there is less than a 50% chance of
- Overticks count a lot. It is very common for one
pair to get a top simply because they made one more trick
than everyone else. In general, try for an overtrick if
the chance of getting it is greater than the chance that
the try will hurt you. (You can even risk going down!)
Remember, going down when everyone else makes game is
only a bottom, while making an overtrick that no one else
made is a shining top!
- The 10 bonus points for notrump are also useful. It is
common for one team to get a top because they made 4NT
instead of 4 of a major.
- Also strongly consider 3NT instead of minor-suit game.
Even if you are certain that minor-suit game will make,
you should be in 3NT anyway if the chance of making 4 is
greater than the chance of going down.
- Little partscore hands matter a lot in matchpoints.
Matchpoint players tend to overcall often, balance a lot,
and generally bid aggressively when all the hands seem to
have equal strength.
- Try to make penalty doubles often. You should make a
penalty double whenever you think there is at least a 50%
chance that the opponents will go down.
- Try for slam if possible, and push to grand slam if
reasonable. If you think everyone else made it to slam,
you should venture for grand slam if there seems to be at
least a 50% chance of success. Also, if everyone else
makes 7 then
you will get a top for making 7NT. (7NT is worth 10 more
IMPs is the normal
method of scoring in team events, or any event where only two
tables play each board. When playing IMPs, your score on a
contract is compared to the score of the other team who played
the same hands. You are then either rewarded or penalized a
certain number of IMPs based on the difference:
|50 - 80
|90 - 120
|130 - 160
|170 - 210
|220 - 260
|320 - 360
|370 - 420
|430 - 490
|500 - 590
|600 - 740
|900 - 1090
|1100 - 1290
|1300 - 1490
|1500 - 1740
|1750 - 1990
|2250 - 2490
|2500 - 2990
|3000 - 3490
|3500 - 3990
|4000 and up
When playing IMPs, hands with a big swing (i.e. a
large difference in points) count much more than hands with a small
- Bid game whenever reasonable, especially when vulnerable. Bidding
game when the opposing pair does not is worth 10 IMPs
vulnerable, but going down in game when your opponents
make a partscore only costs 5 IMPS.
- Be wary of big sacrifices. If you go down 3 doubled when
your opponents wouldn't have made game, you lose 11 IMPs!
- Don't worry too much about making overtricks. Taking two
extra tricks is only worth 1 IMP.
playing IMPs, you should concentrate on making you
you go down one in 4 and the opposing pair makes game, it is a 10
- Similarly, don't worry about getting the 10 extra points
for being in notrump instead of a major suit, since the
difference is usually only worth 1 IMP.
- Also, you should consider bidding 5 of a minor instead of
3NT if there seems to be a greater chance of making
- Choose a safe small slam above a risky grand slam. Making
grand slam instead of small is worth 10 IMPs, but going
down when the other team makes small slam is 14 IMPs!