By Tom Sloper

March 21, 2004

Column #154

Chinese Official rules. Noriko looked at her tiles. There was good news and there was bad news.

The good news: there were three pairs, which were a good start towards an All-Pung hand. The bad news: There were two incomplete chows, which suggested a Chows hand. Conflicting suggestions can lead to confusion.

She had to start somewhere, so for starters she discarded 1D, and vowed to call 7B, 9D, or N, should the opportunity arise. The next two players picked and threw, Waiyee picked, then as Noriko was getting ready to reach for the wall, Waiyee threw 4B. Noriko drew her hand back to play with her hair for a second. The others noticed without appearing to notice.

Noriko decided not to take the tile, and reached for the wall. 2C. She threw 4D, and started thinking about whether or not she ought to call bams, the next time they came out. A pure or clean hand would be good, she decided.

Waiyee's next discard was 8B, and Noriko started seeing Pure Straight possibilities. "Chur," she said as she took it. She threw 2C, and kept a sharp eye out for N (her wind, which now became pretty important to get).

Noriko's next three picks were uneventful. Then Waiyee threw 1B. "Chur." Now everybody could see what she was doing, but sometimes it's unavoidable.

At this point she could throw 7B, but that might give away too much information. She wanted the Ns to be punged for extra points, so she got rid of 8D. Two turns later, unbelievably, Waiyee threw 4B. "Chur." Noriko discarded 7B and waited. Either 9D or N would do it now.

Shortly, Waiyee proved to be a good friend indeed; out went N. "Hu!"

Samantha and Earl both proceeded to tell Waiyee what they thought of her defensive strategy.

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Copyright 2004 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.