By Tom Sloper

July 27, 2003

Column #106

Japanese Modern (riichi/dora). The hand usually starts off ambiguous, then shapes up as new tiles come in. Not so with Watanabe-san's hand. (Not that it mattered, but the dora indicator was 4M.)

These tiles strongly suggested a hand immediately. What 2 tiles were expendable? Answer at bottom.

Two chun went out in a row, so it didn't take long for Watanabe to discard his as well. Then two nan** went out, followed naturally enough by the one Watanabe had been holding. The first exposure occurred when Noriko threw 1S.


His discard was aoi.*

His next two picks were immediate throwaways; then he got sha. Discarded 1P. On his next pick he got 9S. He would have to throw either 9P or 9S.

The deciding factor was that Shigeru had already discarded two of the 9S (therefore it would be difficult to turn his own into anything). So that's what he discarded.

His next pick was garbage, but the one after that netted him a 7M. Throwing 9P, he was now waiting for ton or sha.

Frustratingly, his next pick was 2M (of course he didn't keep it), then on his next turn he got its twin. If only he'd known, he could have discarded a wind (not that he would've wanted to lose either one, since E was the round wind and W was his seat wind). Eventually he picked ton.

Answer: The hand clearly suggested Chanta (all honors and terminals, with terminal chows). So the two discards were 5S and 6S.
*Don't ask me why Japanese players call it "blue" when Western players call it "green." I don't know!
**Japanese players use the Chinese names for the wind tiles. E,S,W,N = ton, nan, sha, pei.

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Some fun links about Japanese-style mah-jongg.

Copyright 2003 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.