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a3geffen's Hints and Pointers – seven pairs

To comment visit Mahjong Time's blog: http://mahjongtime.blogspot.com/2011/09/a3geffens-hints-and-pointers-seven.html

There are quite a number of manuals on the basics of how to play a game of mahjong. The amount on strategy and tactics however is limited. Mahjong Time has asked Adrie van Geffen (a3geffen) to share his views in that territory. In the year 2011 he will publish a series of articles with hints and pointers having to do with strategy of mahjong in the different styles (except American): Hong Kong (HK); European Classic (EC); Mahjong Competition Rules (MCR); Riichi Competition Rules (RCR); Taiwanese (TW). Below part 13 – seven pairs.

One of the special hands in mahjong that has quite a good chance to be successful is seven pairs. Special hands often depend on the starting tiles and most of them better be almost complete. That is not the case with seven pairs. It could well be that after a few turns you have four pairs. Then already it is time to choose. If you want to finish with a pung hand then you’ll need five tiles. If you choose to go for seven pairs then you only need three.

Going for seven pairs is a matter of self control. Don’t pung and be determined. When you pick up a tile that makes a pung from one of the four pairs, you’ll probably discard one of the loose tiles to keep the options open. But when it comes to claiming a discard, you already have to have made up your mind and estimated you chance of success. And of course seven pairs means quite a lot of points, more than pungs or other hands that could be considered.

If your hand evolves to one with five pairs of tiles you still have choices. Four tiles needed for a pung hand, but only two for seven pairs. In my experience when I make a pung with tiles like that, the next turn I have one pung on the table and six pairs in my hand. With five pairs I almost surely will go for the seven. Unless I see that another player, dangerous in the score, is going for a chow. I may be a spoilsport and pung for defensive reasons.

In the style TW it is of course even more special for in reality you have to have eight pairs and one tile to promote one of them to a pung. Once in awhile I make a false mahjong, in all variants. Lack of concentration or bad counting. Making a fals mahjong in EC is rather difficult, but I have succeeded. Thinking that special hands are more or less the same in all styles, to my surprise seven pairs is not a combination that is permitted in EC. At least it makes the choice to go for pungs a lot easier. Besides that every pung means points gained in EC style.



Written by Adrie van Geffen
homepage: http://homepages.ipact.nl/~geffen

To comment visit Mahjong Time's blog: http://mahjongtime.blogspot.com/2011/09/a3geffens-hints-and-pointers-seven.html
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