Hello Mahjong players of the world. I am Shintaro Konno. These days Tokyo, where I live, is cold everyday and snow has been falling. I don’t know if it’s because of that, but I’ve felt a cold coming on and I’m writing this in between coughs. I hope all of you are taking care of your health.
For this month’s column I think I actually want to write a bit about Mahjong.
Let’s say you have this hand in the East Round, 1st hand as a non-dealer, dora:
It’s the 7th discard and no one has reached. What would you do?
There are 4 options:
1. Discard without Reaching
2. Discard and Reach
3. Discard without Reaching
4. Discard and Reach
The first and second options of discarding gives you a Peace (pinfu) hand and the third and fourth options give you a Ready Three-Colored Run hand (sanshoku). People who chose 1 or 2 are certainly thinking that it is still the East Round and they want the double-ended wait and an easier win. On the other hand, players that choose option 3 or 4 are thinking that it is still the East Round and they want to get a jump start on points with a big hand.
But wait a second. I wrote the reasons for each choice, but isn’t there something strange about the reasons?
For the players that chose to discard , there is no problem with the choice, but why Reach?
Discarding certainly gives you a better chance of winning the hand, but if that is your motivation, then why Reach and make the win harder on yourself?
There is no problem with the 4th option, but why would you choose 3 and not Reach?
You chose to discard to get a higher score, right? Shouldn’t you Reach if you’re aiming for the highest score?
In Mahjong, your own “style” is very important. If you are an aggressive player then you would choose the 4th option. If your style is more protective than you would choose number 1.
In Mahjong, the “situation” is just as important as your own style. In our example above since we are still in the East Round, 1st hand, so the best choices are or . But, if this were the last hand of the South Round, or if the dora was , or if you were the Dealer, or if Reach had already been declared by another player, etc., the entire “situation” would be different. In that case the 2nd or 3rd option might be better.
You need to figure out your own “style” and apply it to the “situations” in front of you.
See you next time.