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Bridge Quiz 26-3
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West
8 5
♥ K J 10
♦ A J 9 5
♣ A K 8 5
  East
K Q 9 2
♥ 6 4 3
♦ K 8 4 3 2
♣ Q

In the above deal Declarer and Dummy together hold 9 cards in the suit, with only the Queen and three small cards missing.   The question is : how do you play that suit :

  1. play for the Q♦ to drop on the second diamond trick
    Win the first diamond trick with the K♦, then win the next trick with the A♦
    or
  2. finesse South for the Queen
    Win the first diamond trick with the K♦, then lead the 2♦ towards West's J♦
The following provides some guidance in this dillema.

"8 ever, 9 never."
When holding 8 cards (or less) in a suit with only the Queen missing finesse the Queen.
When you hold 9 cards in a suit with only the Queen missing play for the drop of the Queen.
But Easley Blackwood has refined this proposition.

Blackwood Theory of Distribution (when Opponents hold Q x x x)

Easley Blackwood, 1903-1992 Easley Blackwood invented a formula which can be applied when the Opponents hold four cards in a suit including the Queen. The formula is worth considering as it has been tested on a large number of published hands and found to be remarkably successful.

When holding for example  
    ♠ A 6 4 2     opposite     5 7 10 J K ♠
Play for the drop of the Queen when the number of cards in your shortest suit in the combined hands is 5 or more, or 4 divided 2-2.
        ♦ 5 3     opposite     2 J ♦

Finesse the Queen when the number of cards in your shortest suit in the combined hands is less than 4, or 4 divided 3-1 or 4-0.
        ♦ 3     opposite     2 5 J ♦
Blackwood based his Theory of Distribution on the, as yet untested, "Law of (hand) Symmetry".

Source : ACBL Encyclopedia of Bridge, Edition 2011

So how do you play the suit ?