6-05 Engineering a come-from-behind win
In international tournaments, table points are earned depending on your rank at your table at the end of each game. First place scores 4 points, second place scores 2, third place scores 1, and last place scores 0. As the game nears its end, you need to start building your hand with specific goals in mind (depending on how many points you must earn to finish with the desired rank). In particular, for the very last hand it is vital that you determine exactly how many points you will need to achieve the desired results. This section teaches you how to calculate the number of points and type of win needed to overtake a player.
First, count the number of points between yourself and your target (the opponent that you wish to overtake in score). This is just a simple matter of subtraction. Next, subtract 32 from this number (32 is the gain in points that you are guaranteed if you finish: 8 points from each player, 8 of those points being from your target, so that a 32-point gain is made). The resulting number tells you how many points your hand must be to beat the target when you go out on one of the other opponent’s discard (Equation 1).
Equation 1:Calculating the number of points needed to overcome a point spread (when tile is taken off an unrelated player)
For example, you’re in 2nd place. The leading player is 60 points ahead of you. Sixty minus 32 equals 28. If you finish off a “bystander’s” discard, your hand must be 28 points or more to overtake the leader and win the game.
Next, divide this number by 2 (Equation 2).
Equation 2:Calculating the number of points needed to overcome a point spread (when tile is taken off target)
This is the number of points your hand must be if the winning tile is taken from the target himself. Next, divide the number by 2 once again. Now you have the number of points required to overtake the leader when the winning tile is self-picked (Equation 3).
Equation 3:Calculating the number of points needed to overcome a point spread (when tile is self-drawn)
Continuing with the same example, if the opponent in 1st place has a 60 point lead on you, subtract 32 from 60, and you get 28 points. Divide this by 2 for 14 points. Divide it again, equaling 7 points. This is the number of points you need to win if you pick your tile. In other words, any hand will do, since you must have at least 8 points to go out. It’s worth noting whether or not your opponent is more than 64 points ahead of you. If he is, you should go for a self-drawn hand. The reason is as follows: with a 64-point lead, you would need to take a 32-point hand off one of the other opponents, or a 16-point hand off the target. Neither of these is an easy task. But a self-drawn hand must only be the minimal 8 points, and given these options, gives you the most hope of making up for the point spread. This once again emphasizes the extra value that is awarded to a self-drawn hand.
Number of points gained on a target player by going out
|Hand value||Off bystander||Off target||Self-drawn|