We didn't play any bridge in Cape Verde. Instead I set a 13 point quiz to Anna, on card combinations. Did she get them right, or too many Sangrias? Assume always you are going for the maximum number of tricks, and have entries a plenty.
Try these first four, then I'll give the answers according to Suitplay.exe.
Here's the answers:
|Q T x|
|A x x|
A tough one to start! Suitplay says play low to the Ace, then lead up to either the Queen or Ten. But I think that when you lead up to the Queen-Ten if West has the King he might play it, but he'd never volunteer the Jack. Hence you do better in the long run leading up to the Ten.
|A J x x|
|Q x x|
It's a guess who might have Kx, but I think it's best to assume that West has it. That way you can win three tricks without losing any. Hence start with low to the Jack, then cash the Ace.
|A J 9|
A classic. Low to the nine, then if an honour pops up from East you finesse West for the other honour. If West plays an honour on the first round, you have a guess what to do next (too tricky for me).
|A T x|
|Q 9 x|
Everything's about the same as long as you finesse twice. Suitplay says low to the ten, then run the Queen or Nine second round.
Here's five more. Try and ignore the crow, he doesn't know what he's talking about.
Answers to those five:
|A Q x x x|
Very saucy. The best play is low to the Ten on the first round. If the Ten was in the long hand though, you'd just play off the Ace-King-Queen. I got this one wrong. The finesse gains when there is Jx or Jxxx or Jxxxx or Jxxxxx onside, and only loses when there is Jxx offside.
|K T 9|
|x x x|
Finesse twice. This gives you an almost 80% chance of a trick.
|K x x x|
|x x x|
For one trick, duck twice then lead up to the King. If you need two tricks, then duck once and then lead up to the King (you make two tricks if there is Axx onside).
|K J T 9 8 x x x|
Low to the King. For one loser you hope to find a singleton Queen. A singleton Ace does you no good, as you then have to lose another trick to the person with Qxx.
|Q T 9 8 x x x|
This time you are weaker as you have only eight cards. For just one loser either cash the Ace then play the Queen (hoping opponents have Jx;Kxx), or cash the Ace then play the Ten (hoping opponents have Kx;Jxx).
Try these last four problems:
|A T x x|
|K x x|
Low to the King then finesse the Ten on the second round. I originally thought it was better to cash the Ace and King then lead up to the Ten, but this loses to QJxx onside. Actually, quite a lot of these I got wrong.
|A x x x|
|Q J 9 x|
For all four tricks, run the Queen. If the Queen is covered with the King, then win the Ace then cash the Jack. If it is not covered then run the Jack. In both cases you are hoping for opponents' having (Kxx;Tx) or (KT;xxx). If you only need three tricks then cash the Ace then lead up to your Queen-Jack.
However, the ultimate Matchpoint line (that gives the highest average number of tricks) is different again, and involves two finesses. You run the Queen, then finesse the Nine. That's the line I would normally take I think, as it has a high average number of tricks (finesses protect you against bad breaks), and also has the exciting possibility of giving you all the tricks.
|Q x x|
|K J x x|
An easy one. Play low to the hand with two honours in it twice. You have a 44% chance of winning three tricks that way, which admittedly isn't much better than the 36% chance of the suit splitting 3-3 (but playing it this way gives the defence a chance to go wrong too).
|Q x x x|
|K x x x|
Last one! First, decide who you think has doubleton Ace. suppose it's East. Lead up to the King, then play low from both hands on the next round, to bring down his Ace. Glorious if it works.