By Tom Sloper

Tuesday, July 1, 2003

Column #87

American (2003 NMJL card). Play along with Nora through the Charleston.

1. Which hands can she target with these tiles (using the pair, the jokers, and the most single tiles)? (See answer #1, below.)

2. Which tiles constitute her passing pool? (Ans. #2.)

In her first right, she got three bam tiles: four, six, and nine. Now she would have to go for a one-suit hand. And at this point, she had to choose between the two families.

3. Which way is best, and why? (Ans. #3.)

The Charleston soon ended. Having committed to a hand, there was no going back. Even though a tile had come back, bringing a twin with it. And a 3rd 8B.

For her second throw, dealer threw 7B. Nora didn't want to use two of her precious jokers so soon, so she passed. Several turns later, a 5B went out. Then Esther threw yet another 7B. Nora still felt it was too early to use up two jokers. "Next time," she vowed.

Then, trying her commitment to Run #1, a second 5B went out. She couldn't take any more chances. She had to move fast and get all her other ducks lined up before the last one served up a platter of... well... roast duck.

Wendell threw 9B. If she took it now, she wouldn't have enough jokers to take 7B if the last one went out. Quelle quandary! (Pardon my French.) So even though the pressure was on, she remained patient, and didn't take it. Then the last 7B went out, and she took it, discarding 2B.

Her luck turned around quickly then. She picked another joker and (mercifully) the case 5B. At that point she was waiting for 9B, and Wendell gave it.

1. Consider two families: 2468 and Runs. In 2468 - hands #s 1 & 5. In Runs - Hands #s 1, 2, and 5. Quints and S&P are way down the list.
2. Exactly three tiles for the first pass: 12C 3B.
3. 2468 #5 was in fact her best bet, but she saw only 2468 #1 and Runs #1. Both needed two pairs, but the runs hand had one of its pairs. Sadly, she passed 4B.

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Copyright 2003 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.