By Tom Sloper

Monday, June 2, 2003

Column #58

Chinese Official (CMCR). "For that final discard, I thought I chose a safe tile to throw. I was wrong, but it worked out okay anyway," Earl told me. When he'd seen his deal, Earl had gotten a far-out idea.

The dots and bams were all reversible (they all looked the same whether they were right-side-up or upside down). It's a fun hand that's unique to Chinese Official, so he decided "What the hey." He threw 6C for starters, boldly breaking up a pair, and thereby committing himself to that hand.

Skip ahead to the end of the third row of discards.

Earl had to discard something, but what? All his tiles were reversible - potentially useful towards his targeted hand. But something had to go, and he also had to consider what was dangerous. There were two 6Bs showing in exposures, and none in the discards. There were no 8Ds showing anywhere on the table - raw. He threw 6B. Nobody took it.

Soon he picked 8D. Now he had to throw 1D or 4D, with a chance to get 8D or 2B for mah-jongg.

Very few tiles left in the wall now. He threw 1D. Nobody took it.

The final pick fell to Earl. It was White. He couldn't throw that - it was raw. He needed a safe discard. He saw that all of the 7Ds were out, and two of the 1Ds. He decided 4D could go, and threw it. It wasn't taken, but then he looked at what everyone had been holding. Ignoring flowers:

Noriko could have won on the 4D if she'd had her pair. Very lucky for Earl that she hadn't.

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Copyright 2003 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.