By Tom Sloper

August 3, 2003

Column #109

Japanese Modern (riichi/dora). Watanabe san took a mess and turned it into gold. Well, 9000 points might not be "gold" exactly, but it ain't bad.

Looking at this mess, he wondered if he ought to go for kokushimusou (Thirteen Unique). But then he counted.

Seven keepers, seven tossers. Not good odds, so he cast about for an alternate idea. Keeping ao since that was dora, he threw ton (East).

As he picked in number tiles, he threw out honor tiles. After five picks like that, he had a plan.

He decided he'd just have to settle for riichi dake (plain old reach). Shigeru had discarded ao, so Watanabe decided to get rid of his too. Then he picked the fourth 8M.

Kongs aren't all that beneficial in the Japanese game, since they increase the stakes without much strategic benefit, so he wasn't in a hurry to kong it. To buy more time to think, he discarded 1M.

He thought about using the fourth 8M in a chow, but didn't see that as a viable course. His next pick was also 1M and with a little snort of disgust, he threw it next to its twin. When he picked 9S, he went ahead and konged. He picked 2M and declared riichi (throwing 9S).

Shigeru also declared riichi. Another player had also made a kan. So there were now three dora indicators showing on the dead wall:

Watanabe san had two dora (5P). It's a gambling game, it was early yet, and he was going for it. Two turns later, he picked 9P.

Riichi, tsumo, dora futatsu - 4 han - Mangan! 3000 from Shigeru, 2000 from Noriko, 4000 from oya (Etsuko). Like I say. Not gold... But not bad.

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Some fun links about Japanese-style mah-jongg.

Copyright 2003 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.