By Tom Sloper

Thursday, June 5, 2003

Column #61

Chinese Official (CMCR). Wei-Hwa's first deal in the South round had had lots of dots, so he'd planned to go for a Clean hand ("Half Flush").

He'd just decided to augment the cleanliness with simplicity to make the required eight points, and wasn't even finished clearing out the non-dots, when Noriko picked her mah-jongg tile.

So on his next deal when he got dots again, he figured he might as well make another try at plan A.

He had one less dot this time, and two less pairs. But it seemed the thing to do. He started by throwing 5B, boldly breaking up a nicely connected twosome to go all out for his target hand.

Earl made a concealed kong. Wei-Hwa divested himself of the remaining bams and craks, picking numerous winds along the way.

Next he picked 4D. One of the singleton winds would have to go. Two Norths had already been discarded, so that's what he threw.

Wei-Hwa punged 8D from Earl, discarding W, only to have it snapped up by Samantha. Wei-Hwa's next pick was 5D. He couldn't use it, so out it went, and it was chowed by Noriko.

Wei-Hwa's next pick was a flower, replaced by Red, which he threw back. The subsequent pick was 3D; threw that back too. Wei-Hwa was waiting for E or S. But in adding his points, he knew he couldn't call E. Flowers don't count towards the minimum, and he had only seven: Half Flush for six and Short Straight for one. He had to wait for S (the round wind), which would give him two more points.

Wei-Hwa's next two picks were throwaways, but finally Earl threw S. "Woo."

As the old saw goes, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again." The Chinese probably also have an applicable saying, but you know how inscrutable they are.

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Copyright 2003 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.