By Tom Sloper

Saturday, July 12, 2003

Column #98

Chinese Classical. In general, the fastest way to mah-jongg is by means of chows (and in particular, simple chows). But there are exceptions to every rule (including this one), and sometimes a quick mah-jongg will have a pung or two, and/or a terminal or two, in it. Like Esteban's hand in today's example.

Esteban began by evaluating his chances, and decided this looked likely for a quick win. For his first discard, should he throw 1B, 9C, G, or R? See answer #1, below.

Esteban's first discard was 1B. He threw the G after picking 2C. When he picked 5C, the throw was 3D. The hand was shaping up quickly (as predicted).

He picked 6C and wondered if the gods were trying to tell him something. Discarded 7C. He picked a third 8D and decided that whatever the gods were trying to tell him, it was some kind of mixed message. Out went that sore-thumb R. Finally.

Next, Esteban got a flower, replaced by 1D, which he threw back. Next he picked and discarded 8B, twice in a row. Then he got 2C.

What one tile should Esteban throw now, and what does he need for mah-jongg? See answer #2, below.

Immediately, S discarded E's maj tile.

Since he was dealer, Esteban collected a hefty 56 from each player, and kept the dice. Answers.
1. Yes. Any one of those. The fastest path to mah-jongg is simple chows. However, in CC, the score is higher when you have pungs - and when you have pairs rather than two-tile runs, you're closer to a pung than a chow. So with these tiles, it wouldn't do to break up a pair - or throw a simple.
2. Discard 9c. Waiting for 6C or 7B for mah-jongg.

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Copyright 2003 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.