By Tom Sloper

July 20, 2003

Column #101

American (2003 NMJL card). Ordinarily, when you are need a particular tile, and someone exposes a set of them, you have to change your hand. When redeeming your needed tile from the opponent's rack, it's "customary" (or so it seems) to make a comment about how this changes your hand (and of course the other player should feel guilty for causing you distress). But there's an exception to every rule (even this one). Wesley's hand had just such a surprising twist.

His original deal fairly screamed a single direction to him.

With those three pairs, he clearly had to go for Run #5. It was unusual to have a clear direction with the initial deal. He would just need to get some more Six Craks. And jokers would be nice too.

By the end of the Charleston he'd gotten confirmation of this plan.

Wesley could call 3D and 5B. That would make a wonderfully ambiguous racktop display (always a good thing). And of course, that's what started to happen.

But then Wesley got a shock. It seemed Nora was in his hair - also needing 6C. He learned that when Esther discarded 6C and Nora took it for a pung, with a joker.

Wesley realized three things at once:

Wesley thought about going for a different hand, and quickly saw that that wasn't an acceptable option. He absolutely needed every 6C he could get. But he also had to make sure that the case 6C wouldn't be wasted. He picked from the wall and redeemed his only 6C and took Nora's joker.

Shortly, someone threw 5B and he konged it. Then there was a brief moment of table confusion. Sophia had picked a tile from the wall and was in the act of dropping her hand towards her rack when Nora claimed Wesley's discarded tile. Sophia objected that Nora had taken too long to claim the discard, but Wesley reminded her of the "window of opportunity" rule. "You hadn't racked it yet, so you have to put it back."

Which worked out very nicely for Wesley. When he picked a joker, he understood Sophia's reluctance to give up the tile.

Very soon, Wesley had a chance to kong 5B. Discarding W, Wesley was waiting for the case 6C (which still hadn't gone out).

Two factors were in Wesley's favor:

Sophia discarded the case 6C. Wesley's risky redemption gambit had paid off.

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Copyright 2003 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.