Make an early decision on All Types

Honors often pose a difficulty when trying to create an 8-point combination in International Tournament Rules. As a result, most of the time you should discard honors early. However, when your starting tiles include a pair of both a dragon and a wind, you have a great shot at All Types or Half Flush. The other players will have difficulty using honors, and you will have plenty of chances to meld needed tiles.

Figure 1

What combination(s) would you build with these starters?

In Figure 1, your starting tiles include pairs of and . Some players might choose to pursue Half Flush with this starting hand, but in International Tournament Rules, All Types is the better choice. The reason has to do with the equal distribution of the three suits in the tile set. With all other things equal, you will have a much easier time making 1 set in each of the 3 suits rather than 2 or 3 sets in a single suit. With this particular hand, you have a couple extra bamboos, but they don't give you much added flexibility, so you will find it much easier to build All Types rather than Half Flush. Plan to build a set using , another around , and complete a chow by drawing a or by building around . One important point: if you meld a pung of , you should not meld a pung of afterwards. The reason is to avoid ending up with a single wait, since such waits tend to be difficult to complete. You would rather keep your pair of and create a 2-chance hand with 2 pairs or even a closed wait. Ideally, you would end up creating an open-ended wait to a chow.

Figure 2

These are your tiles. What do you do if is discarded?

But Figure 2 is an exception: in this case you should meld up to two pungs, since you have a total of three pairs. You can meld pungs of and and still have a pair remaining to complete your hand.

Figure 3

What if is discarded?

Next, examine the starting hand in Figure 3. You may decide to build a standard combination and start by discarding your honors. However, melding is not a bad option. Your plan would be to create sets in each of the suits, then create a single wait using one of the dragons. But in order to prepare for the worst, that is, the possibility of all the dragons being discarded before you are even ready, it is wise to devise a backup plan and build toward a Mixed Straight or Mixed Triple Chow as well.

At least one pung of honors is needed to complete All Types. Dragon Pungs, Prevalent Winds, and Seat Winds score 2 points. Combining one of these pungs with All Types will earn the minimum 8 points. However, in Figure 4, the pung of is only worth 1 point, so that the hand totals 7 points.

Figure 4

Your are in the North Seat, South Round. Can you go out on a discard with this hand?

chow chow pung

This player cannot go out on a discard, and must draw the tile to score an extra point for Self-drawn. If you choose to claim a 1 point honor pung, like this player did, you must plan to score at least 1 extra point elsewhere in the hand.