By Tom Sloper

January 4, 2004

Column #143

Chinese Official rules. Last story from the 2003 China Majiang Open Championship held in December in Hainan. West round (final game). I was West, and my first pick was 5B.

I threw S, and soon picked 6C and 7C, discarding Wh and one of the 5Bs. On her turn, South (the player to my left) made a 456D chow. My next turn, I picked and threw 2D. Then South punged N. Judging by her exposures, she might be doing All Types or possibly Clean (Half Flush). Too soon to tell. I picked 3B and threw one of the 7Ds. Then I picked 4B and had to pick a direction.

If I wanted to make a Mixed Straight (my reason for having thrown a 7D), the 7C and 9C were superfluous. If I wanted to make a Pure Straight, I'd have to choose between the bams and the craks. And there was the question of what might be dangerous to throw. The only player with exposures was South - but she was sitting at my left, thus couldn't chow anything from me (and most exposures in mah-jongg are chows). Okay, so, to be honest, I don't remember my reasoning... I threw 6C. My next turn netted me an extra 8D and I threw 7C, continuing the trend of ridding myself of high craks. On her next turn South chowed from E, making 789C. My next four picks were nothings that went back out right away, during which time South discarded R (among other things). South broke the inertia by punging 4B. Now she held naught but a single tile awaiting a mate.

She looked to be doing All Types. Just barely eight points (the wind pung being worth just 1 point, and the single wait being worth 1). I looked on the discard floor to see which dragon she might need. She'd recently thrown R, so it seemed (to me) likely that she needed Wh or G. I'd thrown two Wh myself, so G looked dangerous. I vowed if I got a G I'd kill my hand.

I picked 8B, discarded 7D, and picked 7B. Throwing 9C, I was waiting for 9B for a Pure Straight. My next pick was R.

South had thrown one of those very recently, so I threw mine.

South said softly, "Hu!"

What I'd neglected was "All Help" (Melded Hand), worth 6 points. The fact that she'd thrown R hadn't, after all, been an indication that she didn't need it. All Types, All Help, Pung Wind, Single Wait, 14 points. She told me: "Er shuh er" (22) -- 14 plus 8.

In that tournament, I didn't lose every hand (although it sure felt that way sometimes). The very last hand of the last round of the tournament, I had this:

The lady at my left threw 2D, and I called it. "Chur."

I discarded 8D and now needed 9B for a Mixed Straight, All Chows. The lady opposite me threw it, and I ended the tournament in a matchstick of glory.

Click the entries in the header frame, above, to read other columns.

Read about the 2002 WCMJ.

Read about the 2003 CMOC.

Copyright 2004 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.