By Tom Sloper

Friday, July 11, 2003

Column #97

American (2003 NMJL card). Wesley needed a flower, and with Esther's second quint exposure he had a horrific realization that nobody would ever throw it. He'd have to get it the hard way. Starting from the beginning...

He had exactly two pairs. They suggested two families. Which hands do you see, and which one(s) use the most tiles? Answer below.

A few passes later, the hand was shaping up, but it didn't make him all that happy.

The problem was that his two closest hands were difficult (concealed hands - and one jokerless). He decided to focus on 369 #6 and forget the dragons (especially the G). On the 2nd across, he got something interesting - 39b.

The R was clouding his thinking, so he passed it, S, and one blind tile on the last right.

Got bupkis on the courtesy (well: bupkis and a 4B), but his first pick was another joker.

He hung onto the 4B as a Runs hedge. Shortly, Sophia discarded 6C. Wesley decided not to take it - his two favorite hands didn't need no more stinking six craks! Esther threw same.

His next picks were F and 9C.

He decided to toss the 4B. What he hoped was that somebody would throw 3C or 3B so he could make some progress. Then a shocker - Esther made a quint. One bams (with two jokers). Then Nora konged 1C (with one joker).

Wesley picked 1C, redeemed it from Nora's rack, and threw 6B. Now he was comfortably waiting for F, sure that someone would throw it.

Then another shocker. Esther made a second quint.

She clearly needed 6D or F. Which meant nobody would throw any more flowers. So much for that comfortable feeling! But then he picked a flower.

Answer. 369 and Runs. Run #2 uses the two pairs and nothing else but the joker. But in 369 he had two good possibilities: #2 (7 tiles + J) and #6 (8 tiles + J).

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Copyright 2003 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.