By Tom Sloper

Thursday, June 12, 2003

Column #68

Chinese Official (CMCR). Cover the bottom part of this article and join Wei-Hwa in a little puzzle.

Wei-Hwa's deal and first pick suggested Clean/Half Flush (dots), 13 Orphans, or a knitted hand.

Those five single honors would have to be wasted if he went for the usual all-chows hand, and he didn't like that option. If he went for Orphans, he had to keep the terminals. If he went for a knitted hand, he'd have to analyze the suits. One had to be 1-4-7, another 2-5-8, and the third 3-6-9. He did an analysis, and found that he had just one possible discard if he wanted to keep all three of his options open. Which tile was it? (Answer at bottom.)

With his very next pick, 2D, he could no longer keep three hands viable; he'd have to throw something and ruin one of the hands. He decided that although the Clean hand had potentially more tiles towards a complete hand, those five lone honors were a big problem. That hand would require just as much lucky picking as the two concealed hands would. He chose to let the Clean hand go.

After several turns, the best he'd gotten was a second White. "This isn't working out," he thought. He could have one pair as part of 13 Orphans, so he did away with the Knitted hand too. He knew full well that it was unlikely he'd get 13 Orphans, but the hand was probably a loss from the beginning anyway. He decided to stay the course. After a while, with 32 tiles left in the wall, the other players were looking darned dangerous.

Wei-Hwa picked 9B and was now just a few tiles away from 13 Orphans.

He didn't make the hand in the end, but nobody else won either. So no big loss.

Answer: The only suit that had two tiles of the required "knitted" numbers was dots (1-7). Therefore to go for Knitted, he had to keep 17D 3B 8C. He wanted all his dots for Clean, and he wanted to keep 9C for a possible 13 Orphans. The only remaining tile was Seven Bam. So that was his first discard.

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Copyright 2003 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.