By Tom Sloper

May 30, 2004

Column #164

Japanese Modern (riichi/dora). Everybody was in each other's hair. Nobody could win because somebody else had the key tiles. Consider Shigeru's hand.

The pei (N) pair was limited in usefulness, since this was E round and Shigeru was S seat. Shigeru threw 1M. When Noriko threw 4S, Shigeru remained quiet. Much too soon to commit. Picked E, threw W.

4M was thrown by Watanabe-san and Noriko both. Etsuko threw 6M. Very tempting, but Shigeru picked. 7M, threw E. The pei pair would go next, he decided. Then he picked a second sha (W) and threw it, snorting in disgust. If only he'd known...!

Noriko threw 7M, and a new idea suddenly took blossom in Shigeru's mind. He could do an all-pung hand... or even all pairs. Pungs would be much easier, and he had 4 pairs to start from. "Pon."

He discarded 8M. Watanabe threw 5M. "Pon."

What would you discard now? See answer, below.

Shigeru got several junk tiles (including several that he'd already thrown away previously), and even discarded dora (following Etsuko's lead). Etsuko threw 4S. "Pon."

Threw 8S. Watanabe went riichi with 9S. Shigeru picked, threw 9S, Wh. Got 2P. Looking at Watanabe's discards, 6S is safest (per 1-4-7 principle). Noriko konged S (concealed). Kan dora indicator: 5M. Shigeru picked a second dora (5P) and swore as he threw it away. Group chuckle. Watanabe threw N. What the heck. "Pon."

5S is safe to throw. Classic one-tile-left position. Feeling a bit silly, Shigeru was waiting for 2P to make the pair; with one pick left. Picked, threw G. Wall game. Watanabe and Shigeru were tenpai.

Watanabe had been waiting for 2S - and had pair of Shigeru's wanted 2P. Noriko had pair of Watanabe's wanted 2S.

Answer: The best choice is 4P. Since one has already been used as dora indicator, it's the least likely tile to be useful for an all-pung hand.

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© 2004 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.