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WEEKLY MAH-JONGG
By Tom Sloper

November 28, 2004

Column #190

Chinese Official Tournament Rules. The date of this column's publication coincides with the 2004 China Majiang Open Championship, in Hong Kong. This year I'm not attending, but it's expected that photos and stories will soon be seen from Martin Rep, who will host the 2005 Open Europe Mahjong Championship in Nijmegen, the Netherlands.

This week's game is based again on a game played with Chinese Official Mahjong, the computer game from Nine Dragons Software, whose owner, J. R. Fitch, is also participating in the 2004 CMOC. It's the E round, and my seat is S. My deal and first pick:

The hand was almost entirely composed of suit tiles, and there were only two terminals. This suggested to me that a chows hand, with all simples, was a very good possibility. So my strategy was based on this. My first discard should be obvious: R.

When Wing Yin (my opposite) threw 3D, I let it go. My focus was on chows. I picked 5B. Again it should be obvious what I would throw next: either 9C or 9B (I chose 9B).

When Auntie Loo threw 5D, I let it go again (same reason as before). My next pick was R and I threw it back. Next, I got F, replaced by 8C. Threw 9C (my last terminal). When I picked 7B, I had to decide what to discard. I chose 8C, because the 7B was closer (less distantly removed) from other tiles that it might possibly combine with.

Somewhere along the way, the other players all made exposures. Anti Loo and Joe Cheung both had 678C. Wing Yin had 789B. Joe also had a 567D.

When I picked 4D, I had to make a decision.

The dots presented several problems, so I threw 2C. My next pick was 8B. Between 3D and 5D, I chose to discard 3D. My next pick was 6B.

I was hoping for pure triple chows (345). Discarded 2D. Hoped to pick 3C, 5D, or 6D. But instead, after a couple of turns, I got F, 7D. A pickle. If I targeted mixed shifted chows or pure triple chow, I'd have to break up a perfectly good chow. And I'd still be two away. But if I gave up the 45C combination I'd be one away from the 8 point minimum if I self picked. I threw 5C (safely).

It was not to be. Joe won it, by discard from Wing Yin.


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