February 26, 2006 - The Year Of The Dog
Chinese Official Tournament Rules. Special thanks this week to reader Larsen Chung, who wrote in and offered further insights into the inscrutable section 10.1.5 of the official rulebook. In particular, Larsen's translation of the opening sentence of 10.1.5, and of section 10.1.5.5, sheds new light on the process of assessing the score of a hand.
"10.1.5. Basic Score Assessment Principles
The Fan Type Scoring Table dictated in this set of Rules is the basis for determining the score of a winning hand. After a winning hand has been established, first verify the primary Fan Type via the Fan Type Scoring Table, and then combine the various other Fan Types that are not inevitably linked, and add the score together. When scoring, the following rules must be obeyed."
[Rules 10.1.5.1 through 10.1.5.4 are already well understood, and are documented in FAQ 22.]
"10.1.5.5. Assessment-Once Principle
If there exists a set that has not yet been used in a combination with a Fan Type, then in conjunction with any one set that has already been used in a combination with a Fan Type, the combination of these two sets can only be assessed once."
Larsen's phrase "Fan Type" is interchangeable with my preferred phrase, "scoring element." The Japanese use the term yaku to mean the same thing.
This new translation of 10.1.5 tells us that the principle of first declaring the primary scoring element, then declaring lesser scoring elements, is not only a sound approach, but is in fact the official method for assessing the score of a hand.
Now it becomes important to determine whether the primary scoring element is the highest-scoring one or, say, one that uses the most tiles or sets in the hand. Does this help us resolve the apparent contradiction discussed previously in Column 229?
It's been said that Mr. Sheng Qi, one of the authors of the rulebook, has said that rule 10.1.5.5 prohibits claiming Big Four Winds and All Honors and Terminals and Half Flush with the above hand.
If the player first declares that Big Four Winds is his primary scoring element, then we can understand this argument that the pair cannot be combined with it twice. But what if the player declares that All Honors and Terminals is the primary scoring element? Under 10.1.5, any other scoring elements that are not inevitably linked may be combined. It's possible to make All Honors and Terminals without also making Big Four Winds and Half Flush.
Case still not closed...
A previous discussion of this topic was written in Column 229.
And a subsequent column on the topic is Column 259.
Click the entries in the header frame, above, to read other columns.
Question about this column? See an error? Email and the discussion will be posted on the Mah-Jongg Q&A Bulletin Board.
Photos of the Third China Majiang Championship and Forum in Beijing, 2005.
The official website of the Third China Majiang Championship and Forum in Beijing, 2005.
The official website of the Open European Mahjong Championship
Photos of the 2005 OEMC
Photos of the 2003 CMOC.
Photos of the 2002 WCMJ.
Want to play Chinese Official rules on your computer?
© 2006 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.