Try to pre-empt with flexibility
Everett McKinley Dirksen, who represented Illinois in the House of Representatives and the Senate, said, “I am a man of fixed and unbending principles, the first of which is to be flexible at all times.”
How do you view pre-emptive bidding? It pays to be flexible; otherwise, your opponents will always know what to expect. In addition, when nonvulnerable and partner is a passed hand, bid one level higher than you would have done in first or second seat.
In this deal, for example, how would you critique the auction?
At Bridge Base Online, three Souths (out of 15) opened three clubs. In another seat, this would have been very pushy, but not when partner was a passed hand. Surely the opponents were cold for game and maybe slam. (At the other 12 tables, West and East bid one diamond - one spade - four spades - pass and scored plus 680.)
Over three clubs, West had to make a takeout double and worry about partner’s bidding hearts if it happened. Then North applied pressure by jumping to five clubs. West should not have passed this out; he should have doubled.
West led the spade king, asking for count. At trick two, West shifted to the heart 10: jack, queen, two. East went back to spades, and when South ruffed, West dropped the ace as a suitpreference signal for hearts. But when West took the next trick with the club ace and led his second heart, East, thinking his partner had started with 10-9-6(-4), covered dummy’s three with his eight. Now the heart ruff had evaporated, and South was out for down three, minus only 150.