Monday, November 28, 2011
An Abbreviated Play-by-Play
So the Atlantic City tournament has come and gone and, boo-hoo, I didn't win. I will confess - I came in 59th out of 160, not that I am counting. But the scores are printed in cyberspace, as Arlene said, for all to see, for eternity. You can see it by clicking here --> Tournament Scores
I do not feel so badly, however. It was the tightest tournament I have ever played in. It is obvious to me that the bar has been raised. The top score was Gail Zuckerman with 875 points. Yes, you read right. That is the highest score I have ever seen for a weekend tournament and I really tip my hat to this formidable player. Certain people seemed to be on fire while the rest of us slugged it out for 59th place.
Some things that I noticed: People are going to mahjongg school. Many of the players in AC did not learn from their grandmother or peeking between the bannister and watching Aunt Tillie. No, they shelled out for lessons or signed up in their communities for a structured program, and it showed. There were numerous wall games, extremely defensive playing and a strict adherence to the rules. Great to see, but oh, so hard to win! I'm starting to tell the difference between those who graduated from Linda Feinstein's Manhattan Mahjong Club and those who learned at the 92nd Street Y. And those Hadassah girls really stole the show. A great first time showing for the gen-Ys.
Another thing: The scoring made a difference. At the Mahjongg Madness tournaments, you get a minus ten if you throw in to zero or one exposure, minus 20 for two or more. In other tournaments I've played in you are not penalized for throwing in to zero or one, but get minus 20 for two and minus 30 for three. As a rule I play a less risky game in a tournament because every point counts, but of course if there are no exposures you don't know what tiles are risky. It's always a surprise when someone mahjes early and you are minus 10. You would think the scores would be lower because there would be more minuses, but from the high scores you can see that's not the case. Some players griped about this rule, but there is always a penalty for throwing mahj, even when someone has no exposures you still have to pay them double. That's another poll question: Should a player be penalized for throwing to no exposures?
I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. My SO has taken the cat, the birds and his cigars and fled to Florida, leaving me with an empty house to fill with mahj, and I plan to.