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By Tom Sloper (湯姆 斯洛珀)
December 7, The Year Of The Rat

Column #390

Mahjong Competition Rules ("Chinese Official"). E and S each had a plan. N had a double-edged plan, and W had a problem hand.

E's plan: go for a clean hand in dots, throw 9B for starters. With just one honor pair, though, and only four tiles in the target suit, not the strongest plan. But that's the way he went. After picking a second Wh, E found himself with four each of craks and dots. No clear leader for which suit to keep, he threw N. But numerous turns later, his hand had taken shape. Since having picked successive craks, he'd gotten rid of all the dots. He found himself one away from ready.

By this time S and N both were also near readiness, N trying to decide what to throw. W was so far from ready we won't bother with his tiles.

N's dots were a long distance from his craks, with bams offering multiple bridging options. He thought about shifting dots down, he thought about shifting craks up. Finally he just threw 7B. A little later he picked 6D. That helped. Throwing 8D, he was waiting for the 5.

E, meanwhile, picked 1C. He had to decide whether to throw 2C or 4C. Discarding 2C would leave him with a one-way wait for 3C, but 4C would leave him with a two-way wait. He reasoned that his opponents were more likely to discard 1s and 2s than 3s, and discarded 4C. His mistake was not to count the number of remaining 3Cs versus the number of remaining 1Cs and 2Cs.

S picked and threw 3C, which caused a shockingly explosive noise from E. W picked and threw the same, causing further loud cries and groans from E. S's next pick was 7B. Throwing 9D, she was now ready. W's next throw was 6B, and that was it. Mixed Triple Chows for S.


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© 2008 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.