2011 Reisinger Trophy, Seattle: the Reign of the Board a Match (BAM)

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2011 Reisinger Trophy, Seattle: the Reign of the Board a Match (BAM). The Reisinger Memorial Trophy was so called in 1966, in memory of the bridge philanthropist Curt H. Reisinger (1891-1964, breweries owner). In the Friday bulletin there are the stories of the tourney and of the man. The format of the tourney is a knock-out Teams played in the Board A Match (BAM) scoring. As already written in the preceding article about the topic, the BAM is the simplest way to compare a result in a team of four match: any board is worth one point, and the best result wins it; a zero result gives half point to each team.

In many aspects it looks as a MP formula, where an overtrick could make the difference between the top and the zero (then safety playing is off as well), but there are more subtle implications that call for a brief description. For example, if in MP pair tourneys you bid a slam instead of a grand slam – then making 6+1 – you still could get a result not too bad: even in a good tourney always there are timids.

In BAM, on the contrary, rarely 6+1 is less than a disaster. Why? – you reasonably hope – Maybe at the other table the opponents stopped in six as well, so the point will be parted in 0,5 each team. And being this still bridge – you reasonably think – to bid a grand needs the certainty! This is a wrong guess: the odd is not 1430 to 2210 or to -100, but always zero to one; the ratio doesn’t takes care of how high is the result, just suffices that it’s higher.

Another example: playing Precision – that is, playing strong club from 16 points – your Partner opens 1♠; you have a balanced or semi-balanced eleven point hand with three card support. In MP or IMP, your response is any forcing one. In BAM, let’s first calculate the percentages: the Partner has 13-15 points (or the equivalent by distributional strength), so your line has 24 to 26 points. With 26 points the percentage to make a game is 50%, then the overall percentage to have game is much less because the partner have 13 or 14 points more often than 15. Then it could be erroneous going to game or even try for it: bid no more than 2♠.

Last BAM example, another board: your RHO (Right Hand Opponent) opens 1♠, you pass, LHO raises to 2♠, your Partner passes, the Opener passes. Do you balance?

Looking back: Sally Young, the slender tigress.

Sally was one of the four great American women of the first half of the past century; she is less known in Europe than Josephine Culbertson, Helen Sobel and Margaret Wagar, nevertheless Sally won four Reisinger Trophy, an open event! and three of which consecutively: 1937, 1938, 1939, and 1947. For comparison, Bob Hamman won sixth times.

On the same days of forty-one years ago – November 1970 – Sally Young passed away; so Charles Goren wrote in Sports Illustrated about her Partner.


Paolo Enrico Garrisi (December 03, 2011)



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