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WEEKLY MAH JONG

By Tom Sloper (湯姆)

February 26, 2006 - The Year Of The Dog
Column #255

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.

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...

麻雀

A previous discussion of this topic was written in Column 229.
And a subsequent column on the topic is Column 259.

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© 2006 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.