Play by play: Folding with focus

Folding shouldn’t feel like a bitter defeat. Folding can be just as aggressive as a riichi — You’re denying your opponent that win they need so much.

So you don’t need to ever recreate the charge of the Light Brigade. There really was no dignity in that back then and there will be no dignity as you throw the dora now.

I’m on the move to Vienna for a WRC site visit so forgive me for this not being the most detailed play-by-play but I think it is representative of a lot of players. (Feel smug if it doesn’t mean you!)

6th turn riichi. That player is significantly below you which is where you want them to stay. Your hand is…less than ideal so for me this would be a fold situation. You’re not going to wring many points out of this and you’re playing against the one player you don’t need to focus on taking points from. It would be nice to block him but this is a very slow hand.

It’s not that fast a riichi so you have some information. Even better, you have a completely safe tiles in the (9) and 9. Throwing the (9) could keep your options open and avoid the ippatsu. But for the sake of exercising our minds, let’s think what they could have done.

There are no dora out so that is very concerning. I’m sure no one would drop the dora into this. Would you…?

That (9)-(7) discard shape is interesting to me. I believe they had that from the start and cut it down in favour of a better shape (leaving the (7) in case they do get the (6).

The 一 coming out early either suggests they have nothing in that area and better shapes elsewhere, or maybe they’ve got a completed shape there so it doesn’t help OR they had 三四 or 四 伍 , so 二 三 伍 are all concerning to me.

The 3 bamboo comes out from the hand early and they draw-throw one shortly after. The first throw is before they cut the (7)(9) shape which means it was less useful than that middle wait. It could suggest again that either they have a shape that they’ve completed in that region or they have a waiting shape nearby. Danger signs!

What did you throw…?

I would not do that. You have some safe tiles here to avoid an ippatsu so why potentially give it away? We don’t know South doesn’t need it but you have plenty of tiles we know he doesn’t need and you could still enjoy the hope of tempai depending on what is revealed later.

So now you start folding! Which makes me wonder, did you already decide the 二 was your discard in this situation without registering the riichi? Beware the auto pilot!

As a note, if you did want to push for some reason… That 2 bamboo looks like it could be safe if you are in a daring mood. There are three 3 out. Definitely not a sure thing, but if you want to throw a 二 , why not a 2?!

Ugh TWO more riichi. You’re obviously very far. You should be able to play this out safely, though.

So South throws in to North. That’s not so good for you because now you’re in a solid third place and you somehow have to avoid South from busting out before you can make up some of this gap. But I’m afraid that’s mahjong!

Remember to focus on your fold. You may be able to stay live for a little longer than you think, but certainly don’t give those points away for the sake of it!