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By Tom Sloper (湯姆)

October 16, 2005

Column #236

Today's column departs from the usual format. There's a little something to report about each of my three favorite variants.

Chinese Official
The big news is, of course, the upcoming Third China Majiang Championship and Forum in Beijing later this month. The exciting thing about this event is that it's not just a tournament. It's also a meeting of the minds, a forum, at which mah-jongg leaders will discuss matters of import. I'm looking forward to rule clarifications and possible news of when the second world championship might occur. Stay tuned to this column for further developments.

In column 188 I wrote of the first time I made the hand kokushimusou. This hand is also used in other variants: Chinese Official ("Thirteen Orphans") and Hong Kong Old Style ("sup sam yiu") among them. Well, I made the hand again this past week. I was playing Yakuman DS on my dual-screen Game Boy (the Nintendo DS). Yakuman DS is a Japanese mah-jongg game published by Nintendo. The player can choose from a variety of Nintendo mascots to play against. I was playing against Kribo (he looks like a mushroom with fangs), Daisy (when you select her, she says "Hi, I'm Daisy!" - I don't know why she speaks English), and Kinpiko ("Yahoo!" she cheers when chosen). I had everything except ao (G)

And, sure enough, I got the tile I needed. I was thrilled to make the rare yakuman hand. The game saves information about how you play, so I figured it would rate me more highly on the "attack" scale. But then the battery ran out, the DS shut itself off, and that was the end of my game.

But I suppose I shouldn't get too cocky. A game calling itself "Yakuman" likely provides more opportunities to score yakuman than one gets in the real world.

An interesting quandary from Friday night's game. I found myself working on two hands, and this discard required me to commit to one of them.

Although the tiles were equal both ways, 2468 #6 is actually less risky than 2468 #1 in this case. The 6Ds were dropping fast, and I might not be able to get the pair. Discarded F, going for the higher score.


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© 2005 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.