By Tom Sloper

Thursday, July 3, 2003

Column #89

Chinese Official (CMCR). "Who dealt this mess?" Earl demanded. "YOU did!" the others glared. Their tiles apparently weren't that great either.

Earl couldn't turn this into an All Chows hand because of the East pair. Earl was "double East," and he naturally wanted a pung. He figured he'd shoot for All Types. For starters, he threw W.

Several picks later, there was a decision to make.

Craks seemed to be coming in. Earl toyed with the idea of losing the dots and bams, but that was four tiles to waste. If he wanted to stay with All Types, he only had to throw three. Half Flush (clean) and All Types are the same value. And other players were making exposures, indicating that someone might beat him to mah-jongg. He decided to go for the nearer choice, and discarded 4C.

On his next pick, he got a third 3C. And he had another decision to make. Should he keep the 3C triplet or the 567 chow? He decided to throw 3C. See bottom if you want to see his reasoning.

In the next few picks, Earl got another flower, 1D, and made pung when Wei-Hwa discarded White. Throwing the last 3C, Earl was waiting for 6B or E.

Earl greatly preferred to win on E to get his Double East, but it would be unwise to pass up 6B if it went out. The heat increased as Noriko made a third chow, Samantha konged her G, Wei-Hwa made a pung, and Noriko got the last two flowers.

The thermometer popped its top when Samantha threw E. Sixteen points. All Types (6), Dragons (2), Double East (4), four flowers (4). Twenty-four from Samantha, eight from the others.

Analysis. Earl reasoned that his hand wouldn't be all chows or all pungs anyway, and it was safer to throw three identical tiles than three different tiles.

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Copyright 2003 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.