Noda was back with his bottle tonight so he and David polished off the remaining half of the contents during the first two games. Both those games were notable for the number of times the Oya was retained through to Rianshi and so each one lasted a long time, which is why Noda was only able to play two games tonight.
Hide and Kiyo joined us for the first game and Kiyo took the first hand off David’s discard. Indeed, Kiyo and Hide took several hands off David’s discards as David, observed by Kenyon, found his hands too attractive to break up! But then David staged a South Oya recovery at Kiyo’s expense and so climbed into the black for a while, just behind Noda who had avoided trouble and so it was Kiyo who bore the brunt of Hide’s +50 victory.
Hide disappeared on business during the second game so Kenyon slotted into his seat but it was Noda who took over the running of the show; the whisky was obviously working for him. Could tonight be the beginning of The Noda Recovery? Or does the empty bottle that Noda left behind signify barren times ahead?
Apart from that brief spell in the South round of the first game, the whisky wasn’t working for The Poor Little Cypriot tonight; it probably was not a good idea to use it to wash down the pain killer he’d taken to administer to his toothache. [“ha ga itai” to iu iiwake nan desu. Ed.]
Preliminary data gathered from experiments in the field of toothache amelioration conducted over the past ten days would appear to suggest that whisky may be a far more effective pain killer than conventional pain killers. Toothache is a funny thing. The worst thing about it is that it comes like a thief in the night. Toothache is like a great wind. It is a pain in the arse. It is a wind which bloweth where it listeth and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth. It seems to have more to do with the state of one’s spirit than of one’s teeth.
Cum fessi sumus, infirmi sumus.
Hide came back for the third game, took Noda’s place and promptly resumed his winning ways. However, Kenyon, who had struggled his way through the second and third, spread himself like a green bay tree in the fourth and fifth while everybody else withered upon the vine.
David’s decline was marked by several more giveaways. One was triggered by Kiyo’s 5-Bamboo discard. David drew a tile that brought him to Tenpai with either a red 5-Bamboo or an 8-Bamboo discard. Seeking to preserve his Dora he tossed the 8-Bamboo and Hide immediately declared “RON”; he had an 8-Bamboo Chitoi wait!
David was also clobbered by a double Ron at the end of the last game. All three players were working on Coin based hands. David had a couple of open Pon melds including three 7-Coin Dora. He had another set of three coins in hand, and two Chun (Red Dragons) and either a pair of 2-Coins or a 2 & 3-Coin combination. Now, at this stage of the game a more alert player would probably have thrown a Chun – the least unsafe of the choices available… But David threw the 4-Coins and both Kiyo and Kenyon went out! David had been in with a chance of finishing ahead up until that point! Kiyo took 24,000 points off him and Kenyon took 1,000 points and that was where the evening ended!
Even if we had wanted to continue (actually, it may only have been David who wanted to go home on our table), Mama-san had already told the players on the other table that she was shutting up shop. It was 3am and Mama’s eyes were stinging, so that was that.
Kenyon –, -49,* 0, +52, +76 = +79
Noda +4, +66, –, –, — = +70
Hide +50, –, +21, -10, -29 = +32
David +3, -20, -3, -24, -31 = -75
Kiyo -57, +3, -18, -18, -16 = -106
Kiyo now replaces Noda on the bottom. Kenyon gets back into the black.