Sometimes when my game is a little bit off and I stop and think about why I’ve been losing lately instead of being my normal non-stop winning self, one of the things I find is that I’ve been over-reaching, pun executed!

In fact, there are lots of reasons a Reach may or may not be warranted, which I may cover in my next column. The one I want to look at right now is that the shape of the hand right now is just not the final Reach-able shape.

In the second to last hand of a game, I was out of first place by 3600 points. I got to ready on the 7th draw with this hand:

 Active ImageActive Image  Active Image

Dora was  and my  was a red dora. So if I reach and draw my winner (1000/2000) or someone throws it and I get hidden dora (5200)I jump nicely into first place. Or if I reach, draw it AND I get hidden dora (2000/4000), I actually have a nice lead going into the last hand. But those are kinda a mounting pile of if’s to go along with my rather iffy wait.

Look at the number of tiles I can still draw to improve my hand other than my winners.   (6 tiles) improve my wait in the bamboos and add Peace to my hand points. Actually the     loses me the red dora, but the extra niceness of the wait combined with the possibility of instant win and hidden dora makes reaching there a viable argument. Drawing  Active Image (7 tiles) allow me to drop the  so that I have Simples and can thus win off someone else discarding without needing to reach. It also puts me in the same spot as before if I draw but even without reaching (1000/2000). Red   (2 tiles) were still not on the table too and would similarly improve my hand for Concealed Self Draw. That’s a total of 15 tiles which still improve my hand in comparison to just the 4 which give me the win. The argument is pretty strong for considering this a non-final shape and looking to improve the hand.

How about a non-reaching situation where you could still alter your hand? In another game, dora was Active Image and kan dora was  and mine was red! I had ponned Active Image and gotten to ready with this hand:

Active ImageActive ImageActive Image

when my upper house(player to my left) reached. My next draw was a red  which didn’t look safe at all with not one cracks tile in the reacher’s discards. Both  and  , however, were in his discards so I began by throwing  . It was looking not so good for me to win as I’d also thrown  earlier in the hand so even if I was able to get the  from the reacher ( already one in his discards) I would be in a missed win situation. But what should my next draw be but another  ! And red!! Dropping the extra  , safe because it was in his discards, I was now waiting for the  in his discards, which was soon thrown by the dealer as I didn’t look dangerous because I was throwing tiles in the reacher’s discards so he was just looking to play safe with respect to him.

True enough, some rather fortuitous draws came there, and one can hardly expect such things to happen regularly. But the point is that my hand was in fact still changeable. And in fact, changing it is probably what allowed me to win as my previous wait didn’t look safe for anyone to throw at all (the reacher said he actually had 2 in his hand).

So as I often say, stay flexible! ‘Take a moment to consider whether that shape is really your final destination or could it still be improved upon.

RM on Social