By Tom Sloper

Thursday, May 15, 2003

Column #40

Chinese Official (CMCR). Samantha looked at her tiles and said to no one in particular, "I hate this game."

The hand didn't have a clear direction. In such a case, Samantha knew, it's usual to go for All Chows, No Honors, All Simples, that sort of thing.
And hope to find some extra little points here and there, to meet the eight-point minimum.
The usual first move is to get rid of honors, and this was no exception to the rule. Then she had to make a decision almost right away when Earl threw 9B. Samantha decided not to decide just yet. She picked 9C, threw S. Next pick: 3D.
It was looking like All Chows, All Simples was going to be her best bet. She started breaking up the 9C pair. Earl threw 5D. She took it.

Making a first exposure was the easy part - now she had to decide what to throw. It was early, so no need to throw defensively. She could go for Mixed Shifted. But this could be either of two ways: 345D- 456C-567B, or 234C-345D-456B. That meant that the only tile she could throw, and still keep both options open, was 7C.
The next few turns were frustrating - pick and throw, pick and throw. Earl punged White. He was looking very dangerous indeed.

Probably a big hand. Earl threw 4B.
On his next turn, Earl threw 6B.

Now Samantha threw 8B. Waiting for 4C. Wei-Hwa threw it immediately.
Mixed Shifted Chows, All Chows, All Simples, and two Flowers. Score: 12 points (20 from Wei-Hwa, 8 from the others).
Not bad for a hand that had inspired hatred at first sight.

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Copyright 2003 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.