By Tom Sloper

May 1, 2003

Column #26

Chinese Official (CMCR). When your initial deal doesn't suggest a clear direction, and you keep changing plans as new tiles come into the hand, that can be a sign that maybe the luck is not with you.

Put yourself in Samantha's seat as she looks at her initial deal:

All Chows is always the best basic strategy when the hand has many suit tiles. Even with no clear direction, it's probably best to throw lone Winds and Dragons. So that's what she does.

Several turns later, she's starting to think about a two-suit hand:

So she discards the Bams. A few more turns, and now she's thinking maybe Seven Pairs.

It's unlikely she's going to be able to make Pure Shifted Chows. She could throw 1C, but throws 2D for now.

When she picks 6D, she's back to thinking about chows again.

A new idea comes into Samantha's head now. She throws 1C and shoots for Simples. When she picks 2C, she's almost there. Samantha throws 7D and hopes for 3D, for All Chows, Simples, Short Straight, No Honors, and One Voided Suit. Adding it up, she realizes it doesn't quite make the minimum requirement. She figures she'll think of something. Pick it herself, case tile, something.

Her thought process is interrupted when Wei-Hwa takes Noriko's 1B for a pung. He now has pungs of W and 1B showing, with no Flowers. Other than Flowers, no one else has any exposures but him. He's looking dangerous!

Samantha picks a Flower, and it's replaced by Red. She knows she can't use it if she has any hope of going Out. She looks to the floor. Red is raw; not a one is out. She inhales, holds her breath, and puts it down.

"Wu." Wei-Hwa takes it. All Types, Terminal Pung, Seat Wind, Single Wait (pair R). Ten points (18 for Samantha).

Samantha had pushed her luck too hard, when she didn't quite have a hand.

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Copyright 2003 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.