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By Tom Sloper (湯姆·斯洛珀)

June 24, The Year Of The Pig
Column #324

Mahjong Competition Rules ("Chinese Official"). I'm in Copenhagen on this date, participating in the 2nd Open European Mahjong Championship, so this column was written in advance. Check out this extraordinary problem hand I played while writing last week's column.

I figured I had a reasonable chance for Mixed Triple Chows (789) with this, with Mixed Straight as a long shot fallback. First, I tossed honors. A bit later:

Remember what Hatsune and Kajimoto said: Mixed Shifted Chows is the power fan. So I decided that was the way to go instead. Threw 9C, discarding Mixed Triple Chows in the process. Later:

Look at that 5566 7 8899. Weird, weird, weird. It definitely needed to be a Mixed Shifted Chows, meaning I had to keep my craks and bams. So I had to throw a dot - but what? Another principle I'd learned, I think from Ryan Morris, was "shift inwards." So I threw 9D. My next pick was 6B. Sheesh! Could this tax my poor little brain any more?? The problem was all those pairs - which couldn't be used, at this late stage in the game (the wall starting to get short), to try for All Pairs. I kept shifting inwards, threw 8D.*

Next, my upper seat threw 4D. That worked with my Mixed Shifted plan, so I chowed it. My way was clear now, so I threw 9B.

The fog was lifting. I needed to match an end dot and get 7C to win. I probably didn't win that hand, but it had been a noteworthy problem.

Harking back to the "frustration" theme of column #322, look what I was holding in the final hand of the online game I was playing that week.

Little Three Dragons! But something weird happened. The computer game declared the game over before I could do anything beyond this. When I tried to discard 1C, I got two messages: "Invalid Move" and "Congratulations, you're the winner" (of the overall game). Talk about frustrating! And confusing...

* I should have thrown the 2nd 9D instead!


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© 2007 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.