April 29, 2003
American (2003 NMJL card). Sophia konged 5D with a Joker. Astutely, she kept a fourth 5D in the hand (since she was targeting "3x5=15").
Nothing much happened for several turns. Sophia, worried about "Plan A," now schemed "Plan B." When Esther threw 5B, Sophia made her move.
"I want that."
She took the 5B and made a pung. Then she made a trade (her 5D for the Joker in the kong).
With her right hand, she picked up the 1D as if to discard it, and stopped.
"Oh, wait! That needs to be a kong instead." (It should be mentioned that Sophia had been known for her acting ability in her school theater group.)
While everyone was looking at her face and her right hand, she'd moved the Joker's position on her rack with her left. Now she visibly added the Joker to the exposure of Five Bams with her right.
Then she discarded the 1D.
"Can she do that?" Nora asked.
Wesley wisely always kept a copy of the official rule book handy, and now he picked it up. "Let's see... Here. Bottom of page 14. You can change the number of tiles in an exposure, as long as you haven't discarded yet. Yes, she can do that."
Esther jumped in. "But she used the joker she exchanged!"
"Hmm..." Wesley flipped the pages. "Page 20, rule 8. You have to make an exposure before you can exchange a Joker."
"I did!" Sophia exclaimed.
"Yes..." Wesley wondered. "Do you have another joker in the hand?"
"You can't ask me that! Besides, what difference does it make?"
Wesley pointed out, "if you have another Joker, the move was legal. If you don't, it was a sneaky ploy based on a loophole in the rules."
Sophia couldn't talk her way out of it. She put back the 5B.
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Copyright 2003 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.