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By Tom Sloper (湯姆)

August 27, The Year Of The Dog
Column #281

Chinese Official Tournament Rules. Decisions, decisions, decisions! Go to the 4th China Majiang Championship & Forum in Tianjin? Or not? If you want to go, you'd better make your plans and reservations now. October 20th is coming up fast. If you can't find the application form at, email me and I'll send it.

Your hand has reached a decision node. What do you discard?

The way I see it, this has great potential for a Pure Straight hand or a Mixed Shifted or Mixed Triple Chows hand. I only need one pair, so I break up the pair of eights.

Your upper discards 5D. Take it? ... I'd prefer a 2D, but I'm in an aggressive mood. I take it and throw the other 8B.

Your upper discards 2C. Take it? ... Absolutely. Works for pure straight and for mixed shifted.

But now there's a problem. What to discard?

It's desirable to preserve both options: Pure Straight and Mixed Shifted. But that only leaves the 7B pair to discard. And it's always hard to make a pair. But all rules are meant to be broken. So in this case I'd break the rule about preserving the pair, to obey the rule about preserving multiple options.

Picked a second 3B. What to discard now? ... The other 7B. Got a pair if you need it now.

Picked 4C. What do you do now?

I'd go for the gusto. Pure Straight is worth more than Mixed Shifted Chows. I'd throw 4B. Waiting now for 9C. You mustn't make any moves on 3C or 6C - not enough points for mahjong.

The Japanese champions Mai Hatsune and Takunori Kajimoto swear by Mixed Shifted Chows. But for all its workhorse status, it can't be the solution for every problem. As a wise man once said, "there's an exception to every rule... even this one."

So... not to pad this column or anything, but...

Hey, who else is coming to Tianjin next month? And to OEMC in Denmark next year? And the World in China next year? Hope to see more Americans there this time. The Europeans and Japanese always make a good showing at international competitions. What's up with that, America? Hmm?


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© 2006 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.