By Tom Sloper

September 21, 2003

Column #130

Japanese Modern (riichi/dora). Noriko had difficulty maintaining her poker face when she saw her tiles.

She actually inhaled in astonishment when she saw that she had a pung on the initial deal. (Not to mention all the other well-connected tiles.) Then she looked surreptitiously at the others to see if they'd noticed her reaction.

Her first discard was sha (W). Her seat was pei (N) and the round was tonyuu (E). Her next pick was 3S, so she threw ton. Soon she had picked two more 7P and another 5P, discarding 6S and 9P.

She realized that she could declare riichi right now, discarding either 6P or 5M. She quickly saw that 5M was the better choice. Why? Answer at bottom.

She declared riichi with the 5M. And a few picks later she got 8P from the wall. "Tsumo!"

40 base points, sanhan (3 fan). 2600 from oya (the dealer), and 1300 from the others.

Her next deal looked good, too.

She discarded nan (S). Her next several picks were mostly non-events. Then the player to her right discarded shiro (Wh). She had been thinking about chii toitsu (seven pairs) but she preferred the surer thing. "Pon!"

At this point she decided to go for it, and make the hand clean. She discarded 6S. The player to her left won on it. But it was a cheap win (1300), so overall Noriko was still ahead.

Answer. If she threw 6P, she was waiting for 5M only. But if she threw 5M, she had a four-way call: 5P, 6P, 7P, 8P.

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Some fun links about Japanese-style mah-jongg.

Copyright 2003 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.