By Tom Sloper

Monday, July 14, 2003

Column #100

Chinese Official (CMCR). Wei-Hwa had a "fonly" hand (that's short for "an if-only hand"). When he evaluated his tiles at the beginning, he was thinking about clean (half flush) - or maybe something with terminals. When he got his first pick, he figured terminals to be more likely.

For his first throw, Wei-Hwa got rid of 6B. It was the only tile that could be discarded without harming his two opposing plans.

Next, he picked another 9B. Terminals looking more and more likely, he discarded 3B. On his next turn, he got a flower and 7C. His mind cast around thinking what to do with this, as he discarded G. When he later got R and discarded 5C, the light bulb went on. He could go for Upper Tiles (a hand consisting of nothing but sevens, eights, and nines).

He picked 7D and discarded 1D, and on the next turn he got a 3C.

Discarding R, he continued gamely on. He picked 8B. Now he threw one of the 3Cs, figuring it would have to be either all terminal chows or Upper Tiles. Either way, that 3C just didn't fit. Soon, decision time was upon him. Samantha discarded 8D.

Chowing it, Wei-Hwa was effectively choosing Upper Tiles. He discarded 3C. Earl threw 8C, which Wei-Hwa coveted but couldn't have - but then he picked one himself (and discarded 2C). Noriko threw 7B, which again, Wei-Hwa coveted but couldn't take. Earl threw 7C, and Wei-Hwa made a decision. Kongs are good in the official game.

For his replacement, he picked the fourth 9B. Thought about konging that too, but then reasoned that if he threw 9C he could wait for 7B for mah-jongg.

Noriko chowed 3B from Wei-Hwa. Noriko then made two 456 chows in craks from Wei-Hwa's discards. An 8C went out and Wei-Hwa didn't take it (having eyes only for 7B). Samantha chowed from Earl. Wei-Hwa got a third flower, replaced by 1C, which he threw away. He got only one more pick and discard - 5B.

It turned out that Earl had two of Wei-Hwa's 7Bs, and Samantha had the fourth one. It would have been a nice 24-pointer... if only!

Click the entries in the header frame, above, to read other columns. * This is the last daily column, but cheer up - you'll still get strategy columns (three every week), posted on Sundays.

Copyright 2003 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.