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By Tom Sloper

January 16, 2005

Column #197

Japanese Modern (riichi/dora). Noriko's "surefire" quick win turned into a fizzle. Even worse, it cost her half her chips.

When Noriko first beheld her tiles, she immediately saw great potential. Then Watanabe-san threw 1M.

It would flabbergast the group if she made kan on her first turn, but she decided not to. Picked 2S. Discarded ao (G). Picked 1P, threw nan (S). Shigeru made a 123P chii. Noriko picked shiro (Wh) - the dora tile. She didn't want to throw that out, not just yet. So she threw 1P (Shigeru's chii having decreased the value of Noriko's 1P). And was shortly vindicated. She picked 6P, threw 3P. Watanabe threw 4P.

She didn't have an exposable hand, so she picked. Got 6M. Threw 8M. Still not time to give up on shiro yet. Picked and threw another ao. Her next few picks were junk. Watanabe threw shiro and as she picked 3S, it was time to give up her shiro too.

On her 12th turn (last discard of the 2nd row), she picked 4P. A classic choice. Go for a double- ended chow wait? Or a two-pairs wait? And should she riichi?

Pei (N) was Noriko's seat wind, and if she went for the double-ended chow wait, she would throw away any chance of making the pei pung. The hand was nothing without it, in fact. She could riichi for the nothing hand or the pei-riichi hand, or she could throw the 3S and hold out for pei dake (which would earn less points). So she went for the gusto. Placing the 3S sideways, she said the word: "riichi."

A few turns later, Watanabe also went riichi. Then shortly after, as Noriko had to pick and discard, her unfortunate 3S gave Watanabe the big win.

As he counted, he flipped out fingers beginning with the pinky. "Menzen sanshoku, junchan, riichi... haneman!"

Concealed three similar chows (2 fan), all terminals with terminal chows (3 fan), and reach (1 fan). Six fan (haneman). Neither Noriko nor Watanabe being dealer, the score was 13,000 points.

* Dora tile shown, not dora indicator tile.

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© 2005 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.