By Tom Sloper

July 20, 2003

Column #102

Chinese Official (CMCR). It was pretty obvious what hand Noriko should go for when she was dealt 8 bam tiles right off the bat -- right?

Wrong! Were you thinking she should go for a Clean ("Half Flush") hand? She has four immediate discards if she wants to go that way.

Or perhaps you were thinking she should go for an all-chows hand? Well, yes, and she has two obvious discards if that's the way she wants to go.

But did you think about Mixed Triple Chow? Noriko did. Because this pattern is also present in the Japanese game (which she also plays) - the Japanese call it "sanshoku" ("three colors").

Accordingly, her first discard was the W that she just picked. She hung onto N, at least for the time being, because that was her seat wind.

Her next couple of picks were garbage. Samantha made a chow. Noriko got a flower, then some more junk tiles.

When she got a 2B, she threw out 4B, which let her make a chow when Wei-Hwa discarded 3B. She got rid of the extra 6B (still going for "sanshoku," as she called it). Then she got a second chow, when Wei-Hwa threw 7C.

It was clear which tile she should throw so she could be waiting for Mixed Triple Chow. Out went 8B. She could now call 6D from anyone, if and when it went out.

Samantha discarded 9D. Noriko couldn't take it, but it didn't matter - Wei-Hwa punged it anyway.

Players continued picking and throwing for what seemed like an agonizingly long time. Exposures went out. Flowers blossomed. 5D went out. 7D went out. So close!

Finally, Samantha discarded 6D and that was that. Mixed Triple Chow (8), Chow Hand (2), Flower (1) -- eleven points. Nineteen from Samantha, eight from the others.

Samantha showed that she'd been waiting, for 7C. Noriko might well have thrown her her tile!

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Copyright 2003 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.