5-07 Don’t forget Three-Suited Terminal Chows
Three-Suited Terminal Chows is built with Two Terminal Chows in two different suits and a pair of fives in a third (Figure 1).
This is a combination that even intermediate players tend to miss. The main reason is simple: they first tend to see the more common combinations that bear similarities: Outside Hand, Pure Straight, and Mixed Triple Chow.
Take Figure 2. Many players would discard in order to build either a 789 Mixed Triple Chow or a Pure Straight in characters. But in both cases, you cannot make ready in 1 tile.
Your best choice is to trash either Mixed Triple Chow by discarding or trash the Pure Straight by discarding . This way you will be 2 tiles away from one combination, and 1 tile away from Three-Suited Terminal Chows. Claim for a 123 chow, or pick a and you’ll make ready on the hand.
picked chow chow
How about Figure 3? You were one away from making ready on Three-Suited Terminal Chows, but then you pick . You’d like to complete Three-Suited Terminal Chows, because it scores more points. But if you take that route, you will be dependent on catching two specific tiles: and . Your play is to discard the . The superiority of this choice is demonstrated by the number of tiles that will make you ready: .
Three-Suited Terminal Chows is an easier and more common combination than players tend to think. With the hand in Figure 4, you need a to finish, and if you feel the need to change your wait, you only need to draw an honor to change to an Outside Hand.
In Figure 5, if you think your opponents are blocking your outs, you can recover by building a Pure Straight in characters. The magic of Three-Suited Terminal Chows is not its score (the same 16 points as the Pure Straight), but its convenience.