On Thursday, our bridge club was part of the instant match-point game. Thousands of bridge clubs around the country play a set of pre-created hands. The hands in question were played at a bridge tournament overseas a number of years ago, so there is a good idea of what the "field" should be. Based on this, you get 50 points a hand if you do what the average partnership in the field did, more than 50 if you do better and less than 50 if you do worse.
My partner and I are still learning our way around the Standard American bidding system (I used to play Precision in my misspent college years). So, we stuck to extremely basic bidding. There were also no partnership lead signals, because we hadn't had time to discuss (or to learn) them.
Imagine our surprise when we came in third overall . We didn't even think we'd played that well. Reading the analysis of the hands quickly pointed out the reason why. There were 32 boards in all. Because we did not have enough tables in our club, we played only 24. We were lucky that the really hard-to-describe bids and hands that needed careful defense were in the 8 that we did not play. We could get away with simple bidding and no carding in the 24 hands that we did play. Everyone else got averaged down because of the other 8 hands. We didn't.
The best decision we made on Thursday was in picking the table we would sit at.