Please click here if you do not see a Nav Frame at left and Header Frame above - you'll need them!


By Tom Sloper (湯姆·斯洛珀)

January 21, The Year Of The Dog
Column #302

Mahjong Competition Rules ("Chinese Official"). This question was posed by reader Jack Eiswick on the mah-jongg Q&A bulletin board. Here's what Waiyee is holding:

She needs 5C to make mahjong (with all simples and three concealed pungs). But rather than 5C, somebody discards 8D. She pungs it (she doesn't kong it, since that's the questionable move Jack was inquiring about). Now she has:

She discards 5C. Now what is she waiting for, to complete the hand? 5D only, since 8D is now dead. But is it a good hand? It's all simples, two concealed pungs - 4 points. She needs 8 points to make mahjong. How can she rescue it?

One way it could be rescued would be if she happened to pick 4D.

Now she can say "hu." As sharp-eyed reader Tina Christen put it: "All Simples, Double Pung, Tile Hog (D8), Voided Suit (bams), Short Straight [345-678]: that's 8 points, 9 on Self Draw." Still, though, not as good as if Waiyee had left the 8D alone and remained concealed.

What if Waiyee had konged 8D instead of punging it?

Now she can take a replacement tile - and it'd be very unlikely that the tile is 5C. If it was, she'd have her 8 points and then some. But if she gets 5C any other way, she'd be hard pressed to make the required 8. All Simples, Two Concealed Pungs, Melded Kong, Double Pung - that's only 6 points. She'd need to make up the extra 2 points by self-picking (1) the 5C for Single Wait (1).

There's a huge benefit if you don't call the 8D at all, in this example. Concealment far outweighs konging (much less promoting an exposed pung).

The example Jack posed used more exposures than the example above. And actually, Jack's original question was whether it's even permissible in MCR to "sandbag" a tile that could be used in a kong, in the eventuality that the tile could have another use later. My answer, already given, is yes. It is permissible. But is it wise?

Anybody got examples that can illustrate instances in which it would be?

A tip of the hat to Tina Christensen!


Click the entries in the header frame, above, to read other columns.

© 2007 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.