By Tom Sloper

Friday, May 9, 2003

Column #34

American (2003 NMJL card). Let's look at a Charleston decision and follow its aftermath through a winning hand. Wesley got three J but only one pair.

Before choosing tiles to pass, he needed to decide which to keep. It made complete sense to keep the pair, and see if more winds came in. He also reserved the two and the three (in case any soaps came in, for a possible 2003 hand). And he reserved the flower. After the first right, he had a second pair.

There's no hand on the 2003 card that uses Norths and twos and jokers. Still, it made sense to keep both pairs for now. But after the first across, he could see that nobody was passing winds to an extent that justified hanging onto the Norths any longer.

He decided to go with his pair of twos as the foundation of his hand. After the lefts, a shape was developing, and he had a quandary.

Run #5 was his best option. But there are two ways to make it with these tiles: 12D 3B 4C and 23D 4B 5C. He wanted to leave both options open, which left only 7B 8C to pass across. He decided to pass 3D across. It came back in the courtesy. In the course of play, he picked in 3B and 5C, furthering both ways of making the hand. And of course they were even.

He was able to keep both options open until a 1D was discarded. He punged, making a commitment.

In rapid succession, he picked 2D, J, 4C, throwing 4B 5C. Esther threw the final tile, 3B.

This was one of those classic cases where a two-way hand appeared in the Charleston. And it was a classic case of keeping both options open until the clouds parted and a sunbeam illuminated one.

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Copyright 2003 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.