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By Tom Sloper (湯姆)

October 23, 2005 (Year of the Rooster)

Column #237

Chinese Official Tournament Rules. Last column before the big tournament in Beijing. Our intrepid group is all a-twitter with last-minute practice. Earl had a hand that sent him all over the place with contingency plans, but he won it without having to use any of them. Earl's deal:

His first few picks got him more suit tiles, while he rid himself of honors. When he analyzed things, he noted that his hand now had more low numbers than high numbers:

He figured he'd go for all simples. Maybe. But he'd hang onto the 89D for now (might get a 7, maybe do Mixed Straight). Threw 9B.

His next pick was 6D, threw 9C. Then Noriko threw 7D. Should he call it? Would have to also go for 5C and 1B (to make Mixed Straight). Didn't seem all that hard (since his two other sets were just missing one tile each), so he decided to go for it. "Chur." Threw 2C.

Next acquisition was 7C, throwing 2B. Then he had a sneaky thought. Chowing 1D would make the others think he was doing Pure Straight. He decided if he got a chance to chow that, he'd do it to lead them astray.

Disregarding his garbage picks, he got 6B, threw 7C, then picked 4D. His plan to pull wool over his opponents' eyes was not working. Now he thought about Mixed Triple Chows, with 234 in three suits.

Either way, the 56B was now expendable, without destroying both plans. Threw 5B. Samantha chowed it. Here's what the others were showing now:

When Noriko discarded 5C, Earl pounced (back to Plan A). Discarded 6B. His next three picks were junk. Samantha made a third 567 chow - her second one in bams. Then Waiyee also made one (hers was in craks). So many people were doing 567s!

When Noriko threw 1B, all subterfuge was out the window. "Hu!" It was 11 points. Mixed Straight, All Chows, and a flower.

Why bother being tricky when following a straight line will get you there just the same?


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© 2005 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.