Improve Your Play

By Larry Matheny
Fort Collins, Colorado

IMPs versus
Match Points

This hand demonstrates a major difference between hands played at IMP scoring and those played at match points.



♠K6                       ♠54
♥K106                   ♥AQJ32
♦J983                     ♦AQ1076
♣10743                  ♣2


South    West      North     East
Pass      Pass      1 ♥           
4♠       Pass      Pass      Pass

Opening Lead: ♥6

Bidding: South’s 4♠ bid ended the auction. The adverse vulnerability kept West from competing.

Play: West led the ♥6 to the ace. East continued with a second heart ruffed by declarer. There were only three probable losers (one spade, one heart, and one diamond), so declarer stopped to consider his options. This was a pairs game where overtricks are important, and the auction suggested the ♠K could very well be with East. At trick three declarer led a club to dummy and took the losing spade finesse. West returned a club, East trumped, and declarer was down one.
Although disappointed with the result, North agreed with his partner’s decision to take the spade finesse. If this hand been in a teams event with IMP scoring, the play for the overtrick would not have been considered. Declarer would have played the ace and a second spade as soon as possible to secure the contract.