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By Tom Sloper (湯姆·斯洛珀)

February 3, The Year Of The Pig
Column #351

Mahjong Competition Rules. Some more snapshots of the 2007 World Mahjong Championship in E Mei Shan, Sichuan, China.

I played at one table with Martin Wedel Jacobsen, the European champion. In the last hand of the session, I was playing a concealed hand. After the session ended, Martin told me, "I wish you'd opened your hand so I could feed you." His score was 2nd from top for the table, but if I'd won that hand instead of the guy who did, Martin's score would have topped.

During the first session after lunch on Sunday (Nov. 4, the second day of the tournament), tensions were very high. At the table next to me, Minoru Imaeda (who bears a striking resemblance to an uncle of mine, despite Imaeda-san being Japanese) was constantly and loudly raising scoring questions, necessitating the presence of judges at that table to settle things. And I heard raised voices from behind me, where Ryan Morris could be heard to complain about a Chinese woman at his table, who was pushing him to play faster, despite her having asked him to keep score. And at my own table, Laurent Mahé of France complained that the judges should be totaling our scores for us. Much shushing could be heard around the hall as these various tensions simmered.

Some hands I puzzled over:

1. My plan was to make All Pungs in two suits, with two ways to mislead my opponents. If I punged 4B, they'd think I was flushing in bams. If I punged 1C, they'd think I was aiming to end in terminals.

2. I wanted 2B or 5B, then I could discard 2D and wait for a Knitted Straight and All Chows. Two 5Bs and a 2B were out, then a second 2B went out. Laurent killed my hand by throwing the last 2B. His next throw gave the win, ending my misery.

3. Laurent threw 7D and I chowed it for 567, throwing 8D and waiting for 7B for Mixed Shifted Chows.

4. I needed 5B and 6D. Laurent gave me the 6D but won on my 9B discard.

5. Two ways to make Mixed Straight. If I could get 9D or 9C, I'd know what to discard and what to wait for.

6. I chowed 7C, threw 6D, and won on 3D.


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© 2008 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.