By Tom Sloper

November 30, 2003

Column #137

Chinese Official rules. I'm still practicing Chinese Official rules, in preparation for the upcoming World China Mah Jong Championship, Dec. 10-13 in Hainan, China. In my deal, I got a mishmash with a pair of red dragons (sitting in W seat).

I didn't like that dragon pair very much. It could be a red herring - trying to sucker me into going for a Five Types hand, when All Chows might be better. For starters, I threw 9B and vowed not to call anything until I had a clearer vision of my hand.

I picked craks three times in a row - 1C, 7C, and 3C. Now I was thinking about maybe going for Pure Straight. I threw away an extraneous 6C. The reds would have to be my pair. My fallback plan was to do a Mixed Shifted Chows hand: 123C 234B 345D.

I picked 9B, threw it back. N chowed it for a 789. Next, N punged Wh from E. N was starting to look dangerous.

My next pick was 1B; I threw it back. N picked a fourth Wh and konged. E chowed 3B from N for a 123. My next pick was 5C.

I was sure now that I wanted to go for Pure Straight. But what to throw?

If I kept the 23B, I'd need to get 1B or 4B. I'd already thrown a 1B myself, so it was looking difficult to get the tiles I needed. And dots looked dangerous to throw. If I kept the 45D, I'd have to throw a bam. Two players had bam exposures, but lots of bams had been discarded too.

I decided to throw 2B. Then N did the same right after me. My next pick was a needed 3D, and I was set. Throwing 3B, I needed 4C for mah-jongg.

I got two garbage picks, then N chowed. I got another garbage pick, and S chowed. I got three more garbage picks. Then E discarded my holy 4C.

Nineteen points. Pure Straight (16), Concealed (2), One Voided Suit (1). As it turned out, N and E had both been close to Five Types. S had been nowhere close.

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Copyright 2003 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.