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By Tom Sloper (湯姆)

November 27, 2005 (Year of the Rooster)

Column #242

Chinese Official Tournament Rules. In this last column about the 3rd China Majiang Championship, I tell the story of two hands - one that I played completely wrong, and one that I played right as rain.

I told you in the 11/13 column about Linghua Jiao of the China Jiexiu team. I had a terrible round against her. Time after time she won on my discard just as I was ready for mah-jongg. The worst one, though, was when I stupidly threw Wh. She already had R and G exposed, so of course she took it to make Little Three Dragons. I had to pay her 84 points for that hand. I should have been looking. The reason I tell you this is to illustrate how one stupid play can impact your overall result.

Rank is determined by one's table points - how you ranked against your opponents in each round. The top player in a round earns 4 table points; the 2nd player in a round earns 2 table points; the 3rd player in a round earns 1 table point; the last player in a round earns 0 table points. Players' total scores are also retained, and tallied at the conclusion of the tournament. Players with the same number of total table points are then ranked according to their total score. If I hadn't thrown that Wh to Mrs. Jiao, it's fair to say that my overall score would have been -816 instead of -900. And if this score difference had earned me 2 table points instead of 0, I would have ranked 88th instead of 90th. One point wouldn't have done it - I would still be #90 if I had 5 table points. But if I had 6, I would have outranked Kazunori Takizawa, taking 88th place. But that's a big if. Since the whole round against Mrs. Jiao was so horrendous, it's doubtful that I could have made 2 table points that round, even without this one stupid discard.

That's too depressing. Let's talk about the smart play I made. What would you have discarded?

I threw 8D. Why? Because it kept both my options open. I could still go for either Pure Straight (Bams) or Mixed Straight:

The 8C pair was the deciding key.


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© 2005 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.