By Tom Sloper

September 14, 2003

Column #127

Japanese Modern (riichi/dora). Watanabe did all the right things, but it was for naught. Well, that's stating it too harshly. It was a wall game, and at least he was tenpai (waiting).

It was clearly a tanyao (all simples) hand. He started by throwing pei (N). Soon he picked a second shiro (Wh) and this caused a change of plan. No more tanyao. Maybe fanpai dake (nothing more than a dragon pung), or maybe... dare he think it...? chiitoitsu (seven pairs). He threw chun (R). Shigeru punged it. On his next turn, Watanabe picked 2M and threw 4S.

When Shigeru threw 6M it was decision time for Watanabe. "Chii." He threw 3P, which didn't mess up anything in the hand. Shigeru threw 2S. "Pon." Now he really had to decide. Tanyao or fanpai? Pretty much a coin toss. Something had to be broken up.

There were several things to consider: (1) His chances; (2) Dora; (3) Others' exposures; and (4) Others' discards.

(1) Chances-wise, his best bet was to keep 23M. (2) Dora-wise, he should break up 7P, hope to get 6P and 8P. (3) Shigeru had exposed a pung of R. Which meant the pair of shiro might never turn into a pung. (4) The game was only in the first row of discards - so the others' discards didn't hint at any dangers yet.

So he threw 7P. A couple turns later he picked 5P - hoping for a 6P for dora, it was time again to make a decision.

Now it was time to throw shiro. The hand would be tanyao (back to plan A) - 7S would be the pair. Noriko threw 6P. So Shigeru deemed it safe to throw as well. "Chii."

Throwing the last Wh, he was waiting for 4M for tanyao. None were on the floor. His remaining picks were all useless, and nobody threw his tile. Wall game. Watanabe was tenpai so collected 1000 each from the others.

Now he found out where three of his 4Ms were. Noriko'd had a pair (using them) and Etsuko'd had one (using it for a chow). Which meant the case was somewhere in the dead wall. Collecting 1000 from each player is better than paying, anyway.

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Some fun links about Japanese-style mah-jongg.

Copyright 2003 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.