By Tom Sloper

September 7, 2003

Column #124

Japanese Modern (riichi/dora). Shigeru hated getting so many winds and dragons.

Not enough to request a redeal, and too many to make him sanguine about his chances for winning the hand. The one bright spot was the pair of nan - that was his wind. For starters, he threw the sore thumb 6M. When he picked a second W, he started throwing sozu. Soon he had a clean hand.

Noriko discarded W. "Sha pon!" Watanabe had discarded pei twice, so Shigeru threw his now. Not long after, Watanabe declared riichi. Shigeru's next pick was 8S. He studied Watanabe's discards.

8S was anpai - safe to throw. Then Noriko also declared riichi. Shigeru studied her discards more closely, in anticipation of his next turn.

Shigeru's next pick was a second 6P.

The 6P was safe to throw. He wanted to keep it, but... better safe than sorry. His next pick, though, 7M, was not a safe throw. At this point everyone's third row of discards had been started. Since his hand was still four away, he started dogging rather than continue trying to win in the face of two ready hands. 6P was still safe, and he had a second one to discard.

Even though he'd already given up the hand, when Noriko discarded S, he called it - mainly to put fear into the others. He threw 3P. On his next turn he picked 7P. Judging by the opponents' discards, he didn't have any completely safe discards. He decided that (per the 1-4-7 principle) 7P was no worse to discard than anything else in his hand. But when he threw it, Noriko cried, "Ron!" 2600 points. Which just goes to show how difficult defense can be.

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Some fun links about Japanese-style mah-jongg.

Copyright 2003 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.