October 10, 2010 | 11:22 pm
Posted by Elaine Sandberg
PLAN A AND PLAN B
I recommend to my strategy class to have a Plan A and Plan B in mind at the end of the Charleston, if the hand is not “set”. A set hand should be one that you have no doubt about pursing and already have seven or eight tiles toward Mah Jongg, sometimes more. The chosen hand is solid.
A Plan A and Plan B hand is one that has two options and can go either way, depending on what tiles become available.
A Plan A and Plan B hand was the situation one of my students was in during a recent class. The player had two Pairs, one useful toward one hand and one useful toward the other. As the game progressed, she picked a couple of tiles for Plan A and that seemed to be the hand to choose. It was obvious that the Pair for the Plan B hand was no longer useful. But she was reluctant to part with it, her rationale being that she wasn’t sure about Plan A and Plan B might still be a good option. I noticed that this was a “style” she had adopted..keeping unneeded tiles for a hand that was no longer doable..in case…
She’s not alone. Novice players have a tendency to keep tiles for hands that are no longer useful, even though they are pretty sure they are no longer useful. It’s a sign of inexperience.
When the hand has eight or nine tiles toward Mah Jongg, “in case” is no longer reasonable. Mah Jongg requires 14 tiles and 8 or 9 is well over half. You can’t win with two different hands—only when you have a definite hand. Keeping extraneous tiles for hands you no longer pursue keeps you from focusing on the task at hand and is a distraction that leads to indecision. Once you have a definite hand, stick with it and have no regrets about abandoning the useless tiles, even if they are an enticing Pair.
So I pointed out she already had eight tiles toward Mah Jongg. Since Plan B only added to the uncertainty she was experiencing, getting rid of it was the proper play. And now she could focus on creating a win with Plan A. Which she did and won!
Til next time,
MAY THE TILES BE WITH YOU….
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