Paris. Or how I managed to accept unfairness and love the game even more
- Created on Sunday, 07 June 2009 23:38
- Last Updated on Wednesday, 28 November 2012 18:00
- Written by Anton Kösters
- Hits: 3535
For quite some time my definition of a 'Grand Slam' mens tennis tournament was: 'you invite the best 128 tennis players of the world and let them play elimination rounds for two weeks and on the last day Roger Federer wins the title'. An indeed, just while I am writing this on a rainy Sunday afternoon, I look over my shoulder and see Roger Federer leading by two sets to love and a break in the third set of the final at Roland Garros in Paris, so I have plenty of time now to write this article for you. Today no surprises in Paris.
Do I think the reward for self drawn hands in Mahjong Competition Rules is too high? In fact, yes, I do. And even more if during a tournament a newbie player gets a few of them and manages to win the 4 table points, instead of me. Sometimes I wonder too if the 'off-side' rule in football is fair, but I realise it is useless to do so. It's the rule of the game. And this rule encourages a defensive strategy.
There is something similar with Mahjong Competition Rules. The most efficient way to win your hand is to create fast multiple opportunities to go out on. The more opportunities you create and the faster you do so, the more you will win and consequently the more you will win on self-draw. If you self draw your hand, your reward will be high. You may choose to win on a discarded tile, but then your reward will be smaller (but often still quite satisfying). But do not complain, it was your decision, you could have waited for a self-drawn hand.
Mahjong Competition Rules reward the best offensive strategies. Defensive tactics are less important. Why bother too much about discarding a winning tile if you can win back your loss in threefold in the next hand? Better use your energy to create opportunities for your own hand. The statistics of the last two Open French Tournaments in Paris prove that a high percentage of hands won (on discard or self-drawn) is more important for a good overall result than a high percentage of self-drawn hands or a low percentage of hands won by somebody else on your discard.
This reasoning is only one part of the story. There is another rule in Mahjong Competition Rules that says a game or session lasts for a maximum of 16 hands or the lower number of hands you will be able to play in a certain amount of time. And the player who has scored the highest number of points in this period wins 4 table points. This rule favours the player that made the most and biggest self drawn hands in these 16 hands. So should we discuss the statement: 'Is 16 hands or 2 hours enough to determine the player who deserves 4 table points?'. Or should we discuss the 4,2,1,0-distribution of table points itself? Or is it fair to make a player pay 8 points to the winner even if he did not discard the winning tile?
I believe it is useless to do so. Although I can imagine all kind of alternatives to mahjong Competition Rules as they are now, I accept them the way they are. The combination of the self-draw bonus and a relatively short time limit for a session make it possible that not always the 'best' player will win but all four players at the table have a chance. Unlike in tennis tournaments, a mahjong tournament can always have a surprise winner. Every session can be won by a newbie, even I might beat the World Champion and even I can win in Paris and why not the OEMC! Dream on!