Guest Column: Squeezing (Shintaro Kamimura)

Hello, I am Shintaro Kamimura from the Japan Professional Mahjong League, nice to meet you. In this column, my goal is to discuss things that will help you gain a deeper understanding for Mahjong and lead you to more wins.

This time, I want to talk about “Squeezing”.

First off, what is “Squeezing?”
“Squeezing” means to keep opponents from gaining useful tiles by keeping them in your hand even if it means sacrificing parts of your own hand.

Most beginning Mahjong players tend to think, “Mahjong is about winning. The more hands I win, the more I’ll win overall.”
It is true that in this game the winner is decided by the number of points at the end of the 4th hand in the South Round and winning hands is what gets you points.
However, you can’t win the game jus by winning hands. Besides you winning hands, your opponents not winning hands is a huge factor in winning the game.

For example, consider this situation:
East-1st Round, North Seat, 1st Discard, Lucky Tile:Active Image
Your hand:
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When you have a hand like this, if you start out by cutting the East tile and letting the Dealer pon it, you’re already guaranteeing them 2 Hand Points. If they combine that set with a Lucky Tile, Half Flush or some other Hands, you’re looking at a 12,000 point hand for the opponent.
Even more, if you drop that East, you’re left with this hand that has: No Lucky Tiles; a Bad Shape; and is Cheap, even if you somehow get it Ready.
If you discard the East tile, whether your opponent grabs it or not, if you don’t have a hand that gives a good enough return on that risk, then discarding the East tile right away is a very inefficient strategy.

In other words, if your hand is not expected to be worth much, not discarding lightly tiles that will help your opponents gain points (Value Tiles, Lucky Tiles, tiles near the Lucky Tile, Suited tiles if a player looks like he’s flushing, etc.), will keep your opponents from gaining points and you from losing them.

“Squeezing” is a advanced strategy and there are many ways to implement it. Today we covered the basics of the strategy.

I hope everyone reading this column will gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for the game and start winning more than before.
Please voice any requests or questions about Mahjong thoughts and strategy and I will do my best to answer as much as I can. Thank you.

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