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By Tom Sloper

January 9, 2005

Column #196

Chinese Official Tournament Rules. In today's game, Waiyee finally figured out the exclusionary rule... the hard way. Her hand had been a struggle from the beginning, but now it was finally adding up to the required eight points.

Because of the honor pair, this wouldn't earn two points for Pin Hu ("All Chows"). But it had mixed shifted chows (worth six points). With 3B she'd also get mixed double (1), for seven. Which would mean she'd have to self-pick the tile to make the extra point. With 6B, she figured mixed shifted, short straight (1), and yet another mixed shifted, for 13 points. So she decided to hold out for the 6B.

Eventually a 6B went out. "Hu!" When she started to add it up and got to the second mixed shifted combo, Samantha objected. "You can't make mixed shifted chows twice, using two of the chows twice." Noriko and Earl both agreed. Waiyee was frustrated but calmly sought clarity on the rule.

Earl chose his words carefully, "When two or three sets are combined to form a scoring pattern, then you may not use another set in the hand in combination with more than one set in the first scoring pattern." He wasn't entirely satisfied with this explanation, but the others wanted to get back to playing. Waiyee had to forego further clarity for the moment. She paid the others 10 points, put her tiles back up, and played defensively (Noriko won). On her next hand, Waiyee won.

Waiyee added this up: "Pin hu, all simples. Two short straights, and two sets of mixed double chows." Samantha stopped her. "You can't have all of those combinations." Waiyee objected, "but nothing uses more than one set in another combination." Noriko said, "But in each two-set pattern, you used both sets in two combinations. That isn't permitted."

"There are so many rules," Waiyee moaned. "No, it's the same rule," Earl said. Waiyee's face showed that she didn't get it. So Samantha gave it a go. "Once two or three sets have been combined for a scoring pattern, any other sets in the hand may be combined with at most one of the already-scored sets, when creating additional two- or three-set patterns." She arranged Waiyee's tiles. "First, make a short straight. Then use an unused chow to make mixed double. Then use the last unused chow to make either mixed double or short straight. See? You still win, though."

And now Waiyee understood the rule fully. And you can too. See the new FAQ 22 at

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© 2005 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.