The Crossroads: Concealed vs. Melded

So far in this section, we have discussed the importance of keeping your hand concealed. The reason: in many cases, you would rather retain flexibility rather than meld, and thus lock up, part of your hand. However, this hardly means that you should never expose your hand.

There are many times when you should exercise your option to meld. For example, see Figure 1.

Figure 1


Claiming will complete Mixed Shifted Chows. But sometimes you will draw the wrong end of the chow by picking (shown in Figure 2). Some players might choose to discard the and keep the . But let's reconsider: indeed, the hand in Figure 2 does not earn the needed points.

Figure 2


However, it has more flexibility than you might think at first glance. You can meld and discard , pick and discard , pick and discard , or meld or and discard and build a hand like the one shown in Figure 3. The possibilities are many.

Figure 3

chow chow

Figure 4

Figure 4 shows the Figure 1 hand before claiming any tiles. If the player to your left discards or , you should claim it.

In other words, you should meld as long as your hand will still be relatively flexible even after locking up a set. If you can preserve possibilities for at least two different hands, then it's likely the correct choice to meld.

Figure 5

Prime chows allow for extensive possibilities


Figure 5 shows the prime chow meld introduced in Section 2-05. It's far from being a completed hand, and is not an ideal configuration. Yet, the possibilities of Mixed Straight, Mixed Shifted Chows, and Mixed Triple Chow make the decision to meld a chow correct.