In the first half of tonight’s game it was a battle between Noda and David for the top spot, with David securing top place in the first game, Noda taking it in the second and David taking it back in the third.
Impressive as that may sound, it cannot be said that either player was in impressive form. Noda bumbled and stumbled along having had several glasses of shochu too many, and David was at times all fingers and thumbs with his tiles. Twice in the evening he took tiles ahead of Jaime and attempted to play as Oya out of turn. Noda declared no Chombo, perhaps mindful of his own frailty, and once we even threw our hands in before the first tile had been played because of the confusion.
At the beginning of the third game we shuffled tiles to rearrange seats, but as predicted, the tiles dictated that we remain in our original places.
But then Hide arrived and brought to the table a new sense of purpose. He was in dynamic form tonight and either won or finished well into positive territory in the next four games of the evening to take top spot from David and push Noda into the red.
David got clobbered for a rather expensive double Ron in the fourth game when he attempted to declare Riichi while playing between Hide (the Oya) on his left and Noda on his right. In the following hand Noda declared Riichi and then threw in his hand and declared a Chombo! While it was amusing to see old Noda commit a Chombo, it was also disconcerting inasmuch as it meant that Hide could retain the Oya.
Noda’s Chombo was his undoing. From that point on his game declined, and his last game brought in the worst result of the evening, -77.
David, who was teetering perilously close to the red, suddenly recovered in the fifth game to provide himself a nice cushion from which to give something back to the market before retiring for the evening.
Jaime, who was present all evening, has not been mentioned so far. His evening consisted of a downward slide, now shallowing out into a trough, now steepening into a slough before a mild late recovery preserved his position in the black side of the Grand Accumulated Results Table!
Meanwhile, Hide, who had been languishing with Kenyon at the bottom, cut his negative score in half and moves up four places to the dizzying heights of -56! Having overtaken his younger brother (-168) and his father (-72), he now has his missus (-10) in his sights…
Hide –, –, –, +20, +30, +42, +27 = +119
David +34, -17, +25, -40,* +67, +4, -30 = +43
Noda -7, +26, -30, +57,** -77, –, — = -31
Jaime -27, -9, +5, -37, -20, -46, +3 =-131