By Tom Sloper

Thursday, May 22, 2003

Column #47

Chinese Official (CMCR). "What a gyp! I just got ready!" Samantha pouted prettily. Wei-Hwa just held out his hand for her chips. But we seem to have gotten ahead of ourselves. Flash back to ten minutes earlier, when Samantha examined her deal and her first pick:

She strategized going Clean with this hand (the Whites alone would bring it up to the required eight points). She threw the 1C she'd just picked. Earl threw Wh, so she punged it. Discarded 5C (using the "inside-out" discarding strategy, getting rid of unwanted middle tiles first, and saving terminals and near-terminals for later in the game when safety is more important). On her next pick she got a flower, replaced by another 5C, which she threw away with a sigh and a moue.

She wanted 4 or 7D for chow, and to pick in more dots or honors. Before too long, she picked another 3D. And then another! She was Clean now.

Wei-Hwa and Noriko both threw dots - just to get her goat! She got another flower and 2C, threw it back. Wei-Hwa threw S, Earl threw W. Samantha picked the fourth 3D. She had them all - Tile Hog!

Now she counted the discards to see if it made more sense to throw G, S, or W. There were two Gs out - only one each of the other two. So she threw G.

Wei-Hwa punged E from Earl. Then Samantha picked S. As she threw W, she was waiting for either 4D or 7D. She was sure she had more than the required eight points, but to be sure, she counted what she had.

Half Flush (Clean) for six points. Dragon Pung and Tile Hog are both two points each. Ten, plus two for the flowers. No problem.

Except for one thing. Wei-Hwa was showing all his tiles, saying "Wu."

Samantha handed over the chips. Grumpily.

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Copyright 2003 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.