By Tom Sloper

Saturday, May 31, 2003

Column #56

Chinese Classical rules. "I pushed it too hard. Should have played defensively," Esteban said.

"It was early yet," Soleil consoled. "You were probably ready."

"Yes," Esteban replied. "And I guess I could have thrown the One Dot instead."

"Oh. Um, yes, well, then." Soleil hemmed.

Esteban's deal had been a mixed bag.

For starters, he discarded N. His next pick was Wh. Greedy, he threw 8D. Wendell punged it. After a few turns, Esteban decided to stop hoarding dragons, and threw G. Soleil punged it. His next pick was R, which gave him a pair, so he threw Wh. Noreen punged it. Everyone had punged from him!

Noreen threw 2B so Esteban chowed it.

He threw 6D. Hoping to pung R for a double, then discard 7B to maintain 8B as the pair and wait for 3D for mah-jongg. Noreen punged 5C from Wendell. Now she had two pungs up. It wasn't quite to the halfway point in the wall, and already the game was dangerous.

Esteban could throw 7B, 1D, or 4D. Common wisdom says that the terminals are the safest tiles to throw later in the game. But common wisdom also says that "later in the game" comes after the halfway point in the wall. Then there's the common wisdom that says that when someone has two exposures, it's already "later in the game." It can be difficult to arrive at the best choice when faced with conflicting points of "common wisdom." Esteban discarded 4D, and Wendell won on it.

In the post-mortem, Soleil showed Esteban that she had both an R and a 3D, that she was using neither, and probably would have thrown them soon. The 1D and 7B had both been safe.

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Copyright 2003 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.