DFWM is returning to the Japanese Garden at the Fort Worth Botanical Garden this weekend for their Spring Festival. Fall was our first visit and we had a great time meeting and teaching everyone that stopped to see us. We look forward to another successful weekend.
Fort Worth Botanical Garden
3300 Japanese Garden Ln
Fort Worth, TX 761076
I am back to share some additional information. I got feedback that I should cover techniques that have not yet been discussed in the limited resources already available in English, so I am going through them to figure out what information would be fresh and new.
However, I expect this to take time, so please be patient. If there are any topics that you feel needs more coverage, I would appreciate suggestions.
Meanwhile, I will dive further into the topic of suji.
If you remember the last posting, the suji number groupings were 1-4-7, 2-5-8, and 3-6-9.
By reading Omote-suji (Front Suji) and Naka-Suji (Center Suji), you now know how to look for anpais. However, it is all too common that your hands do not have any anpais, or you have a good hand and you do not want to fold.
Out of the many not-safe-tiles (which are essentially everything other than anpais) it is important to know which tiles are more likely to be the other player’s winning tile. If the tile that you wish to discard is highly likely to be the winning tile, you may want to reconsider the option to fold.
Today I am sharing some additional ways to utilize suji to find kikenhais 危険牌– Danger tiles. Note that this skill again assumes that the other player has a two-sided wait (ryanmen.) This technique is useful and worth studying, but it is a theoretical concept and should not be heavily relied on in your playing.
Ura-suji: translates to “Back Suji”. When a player discards a number tile, the neighboring number and its suji is dangerous. For example, if a player discards a 1p, the 2p (following number) and 5p (suji of 2p in the 2-5-8 grouping) are dangerous.
How do we know? Let’s look at the tiles from the player’s perspective. If you had a 1p-3p (kanchan wait), then drew a 4p, you would discard the 1p and hold a 3p-4p for a better wait. Now you have a two-sided wait on 2p and 5p, the ura-suji of the discarded 1p.
This pattern applies all across the number tiles, but discards higher than 5 should look at the lower neighbor. If the discard was a 8m, the 7m (next of discard) and 4m (suji of 7m in the 1-4-7 grouping) are dangerous. From the player’s point-of-view, if you had a 6m-8m, then drew a 5m, you would discard 8m and change this into a two-sided wait. As a result you have 5m-6m and the winning tiles are 4m and 7m.
These skills are most applicable towards the tiles discarded on or a few turns before riichi (or dama tenpai if you can tell!), because the players are more likely to start organizing the tile groups into a preferred two-sided wait as they get closer to tempai.
For several reasons, I find it alarming when a person discards a 5. First, it has the most kikenhais: 1, 4, 6, 9. Why so many? Because the discarded 5 does not give away whether the player is holding the lower numbers or higher numbers.
For example, the player may have had 3-5, then drew a 2. He discards 5, resulting in a 2-3 two-sided wait for a 1 or 4. He also could have had a 5-7, then drew a 8. He discards 5, resulting in 7-8 two-sided wait for a 6 or 9. This is virtually impossible to tell, and I will need to look for more hints.
Second, WHEN the 5 is discarded will provide different information. Generally, the center tile 5 connects easily with others and is a tile that most people hold on to in the beginning. If the 5 is discarded in the beginning, there is a high chance that the player is or is close to tempai, and the 2-3 or 7-8 wait is ready in place. Given the possibility of chanta and an extra han, the 1 or 9 tile will need to be handled with care.
On the other hand, if the 5 is discarded in the middle or towards the end of the game, there is a high chance that the matagi-suji 3-6 and 4-7 are dangerous. As discussed above, people are more likely to hold longer on to a 5. Thus, it is common for the hand to develop into the shape of 455 or 556. Then later, at tempai, the 5 is discarded for a 4-5 or 5-6 two-sided wait.
During a recent game review with LAPOM Riichi Mahjong Group らぽん, I believe Nima mentioned that one of the pros shared this idea in a video. I forgot the pro’s name and don’t know where to find this video, but if someone can locate it maybe I can help translate that part of the discussion.
It has taken a couple days to get this post up to close the 2018 DFWM Riichi Open. I’m so sorry! I came home from the event a little sick and didn’t have much energy to futz with blog posts and updates.
Congratulations, Masahiro Yeahata (CA) of LAPOM, for this crashing late-tourney win. Masa finished day 1 in 12th place. A first place win in hanchan 5, the first game on Sunday, helped close the gap to the top 8. But in a stunning win 6th hanchan win, immediately before the semi-final cut, Masa raked in 94.3 points, shooting to the top of the standings and bumping returning champion Tina Koshimoto (TX) to 2nd!
Tina K. and Hirotaka Takeuchi (IL) topped their semi-final table, with Masahiro and David Bresnick (NY) placing first and second at their table, beating out tournament hopeful Jarid Earnest (FL) for seats in the final four.
After a tense final round, Masahiro came out on top, though points at the table were very close – Hirotaka was less than 6,000 points behind for second, David B. in third, and Tina K. only 1,100 points behind him for fourth.
This was an exciting tournament that drew riichi players from all over the U.S. and Canada (thank you Grant and Mason for making the cross-border journey!) At the end of the day, Masahiro kept his first place position, and Tina had enough points banked throughout the tournament to place second, pushing Hirotaka to third.
There were other notable performances throughout the tournament. Jarid Earnest (FL) seemed a sure challenger for first at the end of day 1. James Bragg (CO) and DFW newcomer Thomas Graham (TX) put up some strong points and were in contention for the top 8, but were ultimately held back by a significant loss in an early game. (Final rankings posted below.)
Saturday night, following the day’s hanchan, fourteen attendees and staff went to Lewisville for a fun night at 1 Hour to Escape where they hosted us in a large room dubbed The Ruins. We solved the room in just 33:36, approximately 5 minutes shy of the room record. It was a fun night, and it was really great getting a chance to talk to all of these different people outside of the tournament.
Thank you again to DFW Mahjong for the wonderful tournament this past weekend. I was not able to defend my title, but I got some serious adrenaline rush with that suanko for sure! More so though, I especially enjoy how there is so much mahjong love, and everybody can’t seem to get enough playing.
In a discussion with fellow players, some have asked me to share riichi mahjong tips. There is a vast amount of riichi tips published in strategy books and mahjong websites, but I know that a majority of these resources are in Japanese and are not accessible for most of you. I thought it would be a fun idea to share some of these tips, since I know how frustrating it is for those wanting to improve.
I will try to share tips that I personally thought were helpful in my training. Please feel free to comment if you have any specific topics or questions that you’d like me to address.
I referred to the WRC book for the technical terms, but I learned riichi in its original language so I apologize in advance on the parts that I do not use accurate English terms.
This first one’s for Zac Leak!
When another players declares riichi, I will often scramble through my tiles to find an anpai in order to avoid dealing in to that player. An “Anpai 安牌” translates to “Safety Tiles”, meaning that it is a tile with little or no chance that the other players will declare a win on it.
The safest anpai is of course what a player has already discarded, because the furiten rule does not allow a player to call ron from another player on a tile that they already discarded. However, what do you do when you run out of these anpais? Then, you need to read the discarded tiles and determine the tiles that are at least less likely to be that player’s winning tile.
One way to do this is by reading suji. This is a useful tool when a player is tempai and has a chow with a two-sided wait (ryanmen wait); Example: 2-3, winning tiles 1 or 4.
The basic concept of suji revolves around 3 sets of number groups: 1-4-7; 2-5-8; and 3-6-9. Let’s go through some examples to determine how a suji works!
Omote-suji: translates to “front suji.” When a player has discarded the center number in the number group, the outside numbers are relatively safe. Let’s look at the 1-4-7 number group to better understand this idea. The center number in this group is 4. If a player discards 4s, this will mean that 1s and 7s is less likely to be that player’s winning tile.
Why is that? Because if the winning tile is 1s, that means that the player had a 2s 3s in his hand. This is a two-sided wait (1s and 4s), so declaring ron on a 1s while discarding a 4s would be a furiten. Same with 7s; if the player’s winning tile is a 7s, this means that the player had a 5s 6s. Declaring ron on a 7s while discarding a 4s would be a furiten.
This will not work of course if the player originally had 4s 8s 9s, and discarded 4s to wait on 7s, a penchan wait. The suji technique only applies to two-sided waits. Naka-suji: translates to “center suji.” When a player discards the outer two number in the number group, the center number is relatively safe. Now let’s look at the 3-6-9 group. If a player discards a 3m, does that mean 6m is safe? If that the player has 4m and 5m, yes, because declaring ron on a 6m while discarding a 3m would be furiten. BUT WAIT! What if the player had a two-sided wait with 7m and 8m? You’ve just dealt into the other player, say goodbye to your points.
This is where the naka-suji is useful. What if the player had discarded 3m AND 9m? Then, the chances are that he is unlikely to be waiting with a 4m-5m or a 7m-8m chow. Ultimately, 6m becomes a relatively safer tile in this situation.
Naka-suji reading can be used also by looking at discards of multiple players at the same time. For example, you are in East and the South player (right of you) calls riichi and discards 2s. You immediately think of the 2-5-8 number group. However, as mentioned in the example above, this could possibly mean that 5s is safe, but you don’t know because he might be waiting with a 6s 7s.
Then, the West player (across from you) discards 8s. What a courageous move! The South player does not declare ron, and the 8s has now become anpai. By combining the fact the 2s and 8s are both anpais, you can now determine that the 5s is relatively safe, at least against the South player’s tempai.
Allow me to emphasize that reading suji only works with two-sided waits, but not tanki, shabo, kanchan, or penchan waits discussed above. To illustrate shabo in the last hypothetical, the South player who declared riichi could have ②③④ 123 55 777 北北. Winning tiles are 5 and 北. The 2s discarded upon Riichi and the 8s discarded by the West player (or even by the South player himself) will not give you any hints on this hand’s wait. Some advanced players will use this as a trap to pull out the winning tile from you, so be aware!
Day 1 of the 2018 Riichi Open featured some strong and early contenders for this year’s title. Of the 28 attending players (a mix of veteran and freshman players,) Tina Koshimoto, Jarid Earnest, and Gregory Chin set out strong scores in the first hanchans.
Jarid and Gregory faltered a little in hanchan 4, but their earlier winnings kept them safely within the top 4. In a surprising development, newcomer Thomas Graham of DFWM, following a slow start and significant loss in hanchan 2, finished the day strongly and secured 4th place. It will be a tough climb, but if his game continues to earn positive points, he may be in a position to challenge for 2nd or 3rd place in his first ever riichi tournament.
Following the day’s events, fourteen participants attended a social event at 1 Hour to Escape in a large group room titled The Ruins. With this many intelligent, problem solving, individuals in one place, is it any surprise that they successfully solved the room with a time of 33:36, just 5 minutes shy of the house record?
Day 2 will feature an exciting round — hanchan 6 will feature a matchup between leader and returning champion Tina Koshimoto, Jarid Earnest, and newcomer Thomas Graham. Who will survive this clash of top players immediately preceding the top 8 cutoff for the semi-final match? But let us not forget returning finalist James Bragg, also finishing the day within the top 8, who has put up some good scores and may also have a shot at that final table.
Registration for the 2018 Riichi Open has officially closed! Thanks to everyone who has registered – we’ll be sending out an update shortly with all the additional information you should need. DFW Mahjong looks forward to seeing all of you at the tourney in just two weeks!
Please extend a warm welcome to event sponsor Yellow Mountain Imports! Yellow Mountain has been a go-to supplier for tiles and mats in the U.S. for many years, and we appreciate their ongoing support of mahjong events. Check out what they have to offer at www.ymimports.com.