December 21, 2003
Chinese Official rules (CMCR). I say that I am a mah-jongg expert, because I know many things about mah-jongg. I wish I were a better player, though. I placed near the bottom at the 2003 China Majiang Open Championship a little over a week ago... and I know why. It was a combination of four things.
Oftentimes, I could see that a discard was dangerous, but I'd throw it nonetheless (from a desire to win the hand). Other times I couldn't figure out what tiles were dangerous to throw. A couple of times I just plain blundered (missing a chance to take a tile, or discarding a tile I'd meant to keep). And sometimes I was just unlucky. Like this example from the last day.
Of course I was trying for a Pure Straight (a dragon, or leung, as the Chinese call it). The player to my left threw 7D so I chowed it.
"Chur." (The Chinese players, coming to the tournament from all over China, all tended to pronounce the word differently - "sheung," "cheung," "shur," and "chur" all seeming to be acceptable ways to say it.) I threw the 2D. I mused on the fact that I didn't have my pair yet, and on my next pick, I lucked into a 7B. Throwing the 8B, I was waiting for 3C.
Now it was a waiting game. I stopped worrying about what the other players were doing -- whatever I picked that wasn't a 3C went right back out.
It took forever, but finally the man to my right threw 3C.
No, I didn't say "hu" twice. The lady to my left said "hu" also. And because she was before me in the order of play, she took the tile - and the win. She, like me, had needed it for a 123 chow. I was too upset to look closely at what hand she'd made. And nobody much cared what hand I'd been making.
I did win a few hands, though. This was the second-to-last hand of the final round:
I picked 4B, threw 7B. The player to my right then threw 1C, which frustrated me because I couldn't take it. To make matters worse, it was punged by the player opposite me. I figured I was dead.
But then the player to my left threw the last one. "Chur." I discarded 3C. My opposite threw my 6B. "Hu." Mixed Triple Chow, All Chows. Ten points.
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Copyright 2003 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.