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By Tom Sloper

February 20, 2005

Column #202

Chinese Official Tournament Rules. Werner (an out-of-town visitor sitting in Waiyee's usual seat) won today's hand, and although it was a great hand, he had a misconception that - if he'd been correct - would have made it much greater. Start with Noriko's deal:

Without a preponderance of one suit, or even a lot of connected tiles, and with tiles representing all five types, she decided to pursue All Types for her opening strategy. Werner had just discarded 9D, so Noriko followed his lead.

Werner made a couple of kongs (6B from Noriko and an unknown tile from a lucky pick). Nobody thought much of it when he made the first one... but that second got everyone's attention. But back to Noriko. She had picked just G.

The hand seemed to be developing as pungs, rather than All Types. She preserved both options by discarding 8B. In later turns, she got a fourth F, replaced by a third 9B. Lost the G, punged 7D, and gave up on All Types by discarding R. Now waiting for All Pungs -- but it was below eight points. She was racking her brain for how to make it eight, when Werner surprised everybody by making a third kong (3C from Earl). With three kongs showing, he was now very dangerous. And wouldn't you know it, Earl gave him the fourth one.

This would have been noteworthy in and of itself. But the way Werner tried to score the hand is something to write home about. "All Kongs, Four Concealed Pungs, and One Voided Suit. 153 points!"

The other three players all started objecting at once. Noriko took the lead. "Yes, it's Four Kongs. But you can't call it Four Concealed Pungs on top of that."

Werner pointed at his three sideways tiles and at his concealed kong. "Each of those kongs contains a concealed pung. None of these was promoted from an exposed pung, so I had four concealed pungs from which the four kongs were made. It isn't unavoidable for Four Kongs to contain four concealed pungs, so it can't rightly be called 'implied.'"

Noriko told him, "When you decided to kong your pungs, you voluntarily gave up the concealed status of your pungs. You have 89 points and that's all we're going to pay." Earl and Samantha agreed. Werner wasn't happy. But he knew it was useless to argue further. The rest of the evening was enjoyable.

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© 2005 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.