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By Tom Sloper

April 24, 2005 (Year of the Rooster)

Column #211

Chinese Official Tournament Rules. The Open European Mah-Jongg Championship (OEMC) is now just two months away. Our intrepid group is getting very serious about their practice sessions.

Earl started out with four pairs, which immediately suggested either all pungs or seven pairs. He'd resisted temptations to switch to chows, and it was now about the middle of the hand.

He picked 7B, which convinced him to go for the gusto - seven pairs. He'd only need to make one more lucky pick, then he'd be waiting. Threw 5C. His next pick was 5D, and he threw 4B. He needed to pick 2B, 5B, or 5D. Picked a third 3B instead. His instinct was to throw it, but he needed to think defensively now. Examining the others' discards and exposures:

E didn't need to examine his own discards, of course. Hard to tell what Samantha was doing - if half flush, then it was most likely bams. Waiyee appeared to be making a half flush hand in dots. Noriko was most likely doing a simples hand - probably chows, maybe a mixed dragon or something. On a danger scale, 2B, 3B, 5B, and 5D were all hot. Since there was no way to be sure what to discard, Earl just went with his hand-building strategy. 3B being least likely to get (since he'd be waiting for the last one), that's what he threw. Safe. S threw 6C, and Earl Picked 5D!

He could only throw 2B or 5B. Judging by all the discarded 8Bs (including one discarded by N just before picking the 5D), 5B looked safest to throw (1-4-7 principle). Now he was waiting for 2B for 7 pairs! But it was not to be. W went out on N's discarded 2C.

All types, dragon, own wind, flower; 11 points. Samantha had also been doing all types - not yet ready. Noriko was far from ready; her hand could go chows - or it could go pairs. Earl's wanted 2Bs (two of them) were in the wall.

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© 2005 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.