April 11, 2004
Japanese Modern (riichi/dora). Watanabe-san had everything going for him, but Shigeru's luck was better. Watanabe-san's deal:
He immediately assessed this as a winning hand. Why? See answer 1, below. Watanabe-san had two choices for discards, but one seemed the better choice. Which, and why? See answer 2. His first decision needed to be made soon, as Shigeru discarded 6M on his next turn. Should Watanabe take it? See answer 3. A couple of turns later, he picked 6P, and threw 1S. Immediately, Noriko threw sha. What should Watanabe do? See answer 4.
"Sha pon!" He discarded 8M. Three picks later, Shigeru declared riichi. Shigeru's discards:
Watanabe's next pick was 5M, and he had a quandary. If you were Watanabe, what would you do?
See answer 5. Watanabe's next pick was 4M, and he threw 6M. He consciously controlled his body posture so as not to give anyone any clues that he was now ready.
It was a classic 1-4-7 wait. Noriko's discard was 5P... and that was Shigeru's winning tile.
Riichi, concealed itsu, dora. 4 fan. 8000 points from Noriko.
1. Many of his tiles look destined to form chows, and the pair of sha (W) is good because it's his wind (remember: in this column, the player's name is keyed to his or her seat position). The hand looks likely to be completed quickly.
2. His two choices are ao (G) and 1S. Dora is 2S, so he elected to keep the 1S, discarding ao.
3. He should pass and pick. He already has two 6 craks, and may need to stay concealed for a riichi declaration later.
4. He should call it. The pung of W (seat wind) meets the iihan shibari (1-fan minimum requirement).
5. Throw either 5M or 6M (flip a coin). Both are safe, since Shigeru discarded both. Watanabe needed to get 4M, 7M, 1P, 4P, or 7P. Then he'd be waiting.
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© 2004 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.