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By Tom Sloper (湯姆)

July 17, 2005 (Year of the Rooster)

Column #223

Chinese Official Tournament Rules. I want to tell you about a couple of interesting hands played at the Open European Mahjong Championship, in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. As I wrote in my online report of the historic event, one of my personal worst rounds was the one in which I played against reigning world champion Mai Hatsune, Dutch player Anton Kösters (L), and Italian heavyhitter Luca Gavelli (R)

One hand that surprised me that round was this one, by Luca:

This hand earned him not only Knitted Straight for 12, but also All Types for 6, and the Dragon for 2. And whatever he might have earned for the final tile (I don't recall that detail); call it 20+. It was surprising to me, because I'd never seen this particular combination, and when I gave a querulous look to Mai, she nodded her agreement that these were all proper claims. I think she wasn't quite as surprised as the rest of us were (including our referee, Ma Prem Sohana, who, coincidentally, was my gracious host in Nijmegen).

One of my best hands at the OEMC was this:

This one was a surprise for my fellow players and for our table's referee, Désirée Heemskerk, who had compiled the tournament's official rules. I claimed Reversible (8), 2X Pure Double Chows - ryanpeikou (2), All Chows (2), and All Simples (2). And whatever I might have earned for the final tile; call it 14+. When I later described the hand to US teammate Ryan Morris, he too was surprised - he never thinks of going for Reversible, he said.

I should mention that although one could look at this as a Seven Pairs hand, I'd exposed a chow or two.

Ryan gave me a tip. Decrying the Western propensity for pungs, he reminded me of the great power of chows. He said Mixed Shifted Chows was famous as the easiest/quickest hand to the Japanese players. I won three hands against Dutch rival Betsie Daanen with this single tip. Thanks, Ryan! (^_^)
And thanks also to sharp-eyed reader Tina Christensen.

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© 2005 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.