Having not shown his face inside a mahjong parlour for about three months, David returned to the fray tonight and managed to finish top dog for the evening.
Mind you, it was not without some fortuitious eventualities… If his evening may be compared to taking a shot on the 13th hole of the Forest Hills Country & Golf Club, it would go something like this:
“David took a mighty lurching swing at the ball, succeeded in making solid if imperfect contact with the top, and watched as it rolled down the hill, between the mighty rushing water obstacle on the left (Noda) and the dogwood coppice with its fading blossom on the right (Kenyon). Gathering momentum as it descended, it passed right through the “Five Coins” sand bunker directly ahead (Jaime) and rolled up the slope to come to a halt on the immaculate green (Nobuhiro) just a few inches from the hole, where it was effortlessly tapped in for a birdie.”
The first fortuitous eventuality occurred in the very first hand of the first game. With both Noda and David declaring Riichi, Jaime trod a fine line between hand-building and safety until David plucked and tossed the tile Jaime needed to finish on 4,000 points.
When all the hands were revealed it turned out that Noda had been waiting, as Oya, for a Suuanko Tanki, threatening to take 144,000 points off any player hapless enough to throw a 3-Coins. It would not have been David because he also happened to be waiting for the 3-Coins (as well as the 6-coins), but for a more modest score that would have added insult to injury had Jaime discarded it…
As it was, David cheerfully paid out the 4,000 points that had saved him a heftier payment of 72,000 had Noda gone out on Tsumo.
For the rest of the first two games Noda played pretty much according to the recent form book and Jaime was bearing the brunt of the attack and suffering the distractions of misfortune that a surfeit of the melancholy humour sometimes induces. It was under those circumstances that the second fortuitous eventuality cropped up…
With Noda as Oya and firmly in the driving seat the game had gone to Ryanshi when David discarded a 5-Coins. Jaime took a tile from a wall, Kenyon flinched, Jaime discarded the tile and when play came back to David he went out, at which juncture Kenyon pointed out that Jaime could have claimed the 5-coins on Iipehkoh, Tanyao.
When the second game was over Jaime called for a seat change and Noda called it a night at that point, on plus seventy-something. He was amused to see Jaime use the foreigners-can’t-be-bothered-with-Noda’s-arcane-seat-allocation method of allocating seats, namely, the one where each player simply grabs a Wind tile and the player with East goes and sits in the seat of the winner of the last hand of the previous game and everybody shuffles around according to Wind order.
Jaime took over David’s seat, David, Kenyon’s and Kenyon Jaime’s. Nobuhiro slotted into Noda’s vacated seat and Noda promptly ordered another beer and sat down to observe Nobu’s game and chivvied him along… This constituted the third fortuitous eventuality, the one that prevented Jaime’s recovery. Chivvied along by Noda, Nobuhiro actually began to win some hands and the sum total of victories not only put him into the black – for the first time ever – on +1, but it also thwarted Jaime’s looked for second-seat recovery and saw him finish the third game with his Yakitori nailed to the table.
One more game was played, I forget most or possibly all of the details except that Nobu sank again and David managed not to lose, a remarkable circumstance and quite probably a wholly fortuitious eventuality in its own right. It enabled David to finish on plus eighty-odd and thereby get back into “second and in the black” so to speak…
A more detailed score sheet will be added shortly.