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By Tom Sloper (湯姆·斯洛珀)

April 22, The Year Of The Pig
Column #315

Taiwanese Rules. It's an unfortunate accident of timing that the U.S. government's recent change in policy regarding air travel to near neighboring countries and territories has resulted in my uncertainty as to whether or not I'll be able to go to Taiwan this week. My old passport wasn't due to expire until October, but I know that some countries want visitors' passports to have an expiration date 6 months or more from the date of entry. I'm going to Denmark in June, so I decided to send in my passport for renewal. This was about 6 weeks ago, the day before I read in the news that the government had a sudden surge in passport applications, resulting in long delays. I consoled myself that I'd probably get it back in time for Denmark. Then I was invited to go to Taiwan to attend the World Series of Mahjong Asia Tour ( I accepted and bought a ticket, before remembering that my passport was in limbo. Now here I am, precious little time remaining until takeoff, with no passport yet. Hopefully it comes in time.

Sorry, I know - boring story. Anyway, if I do make it, I wonder which Taiwanese patterns they'll use, and what the tournament scoring system will be. I've found three different Taiwanese scoring systems: Amy Lo's, Dragon Chang's, and Steve Willoughby's ( Each one uses slightly different scoring patterns, and very different score values. I just did an analysis, and found it most useful to break the patterns down by type (as was done in the scoring chart in OIRB and MCR). The pattern types I chose for the breakdown are:


    The analysis includes English name, Chinese name (when known), Description, and how the pattern (when used) is scored by Chang, Lo, and Willoughby.

    For those readers unfamiliar with the Taiwanese game, the variant's most notable feature is that the player holds a hand of 16 tiles, winning on 17 (rather than the usual 13 tiles, winning on 14). Because the tiles of a complete hand make an odd number, there isn't a seven pairs hand... exactly. Instead, there's an "eight and a half pairs" hand! Seven pairs and a pung.

    I chose to put this hand in the "pungs" section.

    If I make it to Taiwan, I'll be sure to report on the experience. Hopefully I'll win the MCR rounds, anyway!


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    © 2007 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.