Friday 10th February: Winners Win & Losers Lose…

This evening started off quietly enough with Kenyon taking top spot mainly at the expense of David. Jaime and Tim strolled in to Kodama about half way through the game, just in time to observe the beginnings of David’s collapse.

Jaime joined in the second game and didn’t look back for five games, only conceding a single point in the very last game of the evening, thereby bolstering his second place position (like Sheffield Utd in the Championship).

Jaime was sat to the left of Noda which proved fortunate when Noda roared into life in the second game and racked up about eight hyaku-tenbou. The payouts got higher and higher… David and Kenyon’s trays both emptied out. Jaime reminisced about the days when the “empty tray” rule was brought in. David had always disliked that rule but now he began to wonder why – after all, the “empty tray” rule is like a stop-loss on a bad investment. To make things worse David had been bumbling around and three times during the course of the evening he had discovered that he only had 12 tiles in his hand.

By the end of the second game David was on -108 and Kenyon had given back his early winnings and dropped into negative territory which produced quite a lot of anguished ejaculations as the plan had apparently not been to escape from the bottom by sinking more slowly (than David) but actually to move upwards!

Tim beetled off after a beer and we wish him a happy holiday. Jaime was left twiddling his thumbs as the Noda run continued apace. If I remember rightly, David declared Riichi in the ninth hand and Kenyon promptly went out on a Toitoi hand that at first glance looked like a Chombo but proved perfectly valid.

It turned out that Noda, now on +116, had reached his peak. It used to be the case that Noda’s victories were fueled by shouchu, but tonight all his successes came in the early part of the evening, after which he did not win another game. But gradually sinking from a height of +116 still left him sitting pretty at the end of his evening and so Noda’s 2006 “return of form” continues.

David won the third, fifth, and seventh games though how he did it is a bit of a mystery since he was putting the beers away and throwing out some dodgy tiles – most notably when he went for Tenpai by throwing out the 6-Coins, which happened to be a dora, while Jaime was conspicuously going for a Coin-based hand.

Jaime: “Ron! – Chinitsu!”

It has to be said that knocking back several beers while playing mahjong is not only thoroughly enjoyable, but it also serves the purpose of providing a convenient excuse for defeat at the table… at least it used to until these cola drinkers came along and started losing too! I put it another way: Whereas

drinking at the table once provided a good excuse for losing,
losing now provides a good excuse for drinking at the table.

The Cola-Drinker-in-Chief started off brightly enough tonight, but his advance was halted by Noda’s second game victory. After that he appeared to be recovering in the fourth game but then underwent another late-night collapse which seems to confirm a trend that has been commented on before, namely, that if play continues after David catches the last tram home then Kenyon recovers and goes on to win, but if David stays then Kenyon collapses…

Having secured a very comfortable position for himself in the 2006 Accumulated Results Table Jaime is heading off to Europe for three weeks. Happy holidays.

The Reckoning:

Jaime –, +1, +3, +41, +9, +27, -1 = +80
Noda +4, +112, -40, -17, -17 = +42
David -28, -80, +48, -41, +34, -17, +38 = – 54
Kenyon +24, -33, -3, +17, -26, -10, -37 = -68

David Hurley