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By Tom Sloper (湯姆·斯洛珀)

December 10, The Year Of The Dog
Column #296

Mahjong Competition Rules ("Chinese Official"). Controversies abound in the MCR world, mostly about how certain combinations should be scored. These "controversies" are well known to the readers of the mahjong newsgroup and the forum on

Kongs and Pungs. Probably the loudest arguments and questions surround the question of how to score hands comprised of kongs and pungs. When is a concealed kong to be scored as both a kong and a concealed pung? Can a concealed kong be scored as (1) a kong, and (2) a concealed kong, and (3) a concealed pung? Japanese expert player Kimito Kugimiya has thoroughly analyzed this question, considering every possible permutation, and French team leader Stéphane Parcollet has confirmed that Kimito's conclusions are correct (based on last October's referee training at Tianjin).

Nine Gates. Since the WMCC has decreed that points may not be added for terminal pungs, it's been asked (mainly by Kimito) if that applies equally when the hand is formed with one terminal pung or two. The argument is that All Green (for example) can be scored with either Half Flush or Full Flush - so is it consistent to prohibit both one terminal pung and two terminal pungs with Nine Gates?

Four Shifted Chows. Can Two Terminal Chows be permitted with Four Shifted Chows? The 2nd example on page 38 of the green book shows such a hand, does not list Two Terminal Chows, but doesn't specifically say that Two Terminal Chows may not be combined. I believe that the omission of Two Terminal Chows in the 2nd example indicates that it probably may not be added.

There are even controversies about some of the new rule changes I mentioned in the last MCR column (#293).

Knitted Straight. The WMCC says that Knitted Straight may not be combined with Edge Wait or Closed Wait. The question is whether this means, "no matter if the player's 4th set was an incomplete chow with a clear closed wait or edge wait."

Seven Pairs. When Seven Pairs is combined with All Green (Fan 3) or with All Terminals (Fan 8), Tile Hog may not be added. There is concern that this opens the door to confusion over possible prohibitions concerning other two-fan combos.

Here's what it all comes down to: The main complaint is that there is no discernible consistent system of principles that one can apply to arrive at a thorough understanding of all the exclusions. The main "controversy" is between those who say "well, then, you'll just have to memorize the exclusions and accept the new ones as they are announced," and those who want to push the WMCC to come up with such a system and apply it consistently.


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© 2006 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.