Monday, December 31, 2007

Friday 21st December: Noda Gives A Little Back

In what turned out to be the last game of the year for the Hiroshima Cock's-Eye Mahjong Club, Noda, the champion, gave a little back to the market. But even with David making the early running and getting up to +80 at the peak of it, there was no real chance of a dramatic turnaround.

Instead, David's +80 merely insulated him from the inevitable mid-evening "Jaime revival" that has become as common a feature to the game as Kenyon's tendency (when he is able to play) to win the final game.

Another factor that favoured Jaimes fortune was the propitious change of seats after the second game. Jaime had been sat in the far corner seat for the duration of his -30 and -31 opening games. The roll of the dice and the shuffle of the tiles indicated that everybody had to move round but preserve the same order, so Noda moved into Jaime's corner seat, and David moved into Noda's seat and Jaime moved across to occupy David's seat.

The change in fortune was immediate. Each seat remained faithful to its earlier performance, which caused Jaime to turn a -61 deficit into a +15 credit in a single game, while David sank a bit and Noda, in the "unlucky seat" sank some more.

Noda had to use all his cunning in the fourth and final game to cut his losses, but as his final score of +28 was evenly shared by the two British players, Noda was the only player to end the night in the red!

David +33, +47, -30, -14 = +36
Jaime -30, -31, +76, -14 = +1
Noda -3, -16, -46, +28 = -37

David Hurley
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Monday, December 03, 2007

Friday 30th November: Kodama Redecorated

It was quite a shock to walk into Kodama tonight. A new light grey carpet covered the floor and the walls gleamed as if they had been washed in the autumn rain, whitened by the summer sun and we wondered,

...what whiteness will ever arrive at this whiteness?

Noda, David and Jaime played just three games tonight and were done before midnight. The first game lasted an hour and a half as each player managed to hold on to the Oya for several rounds. The first of several Ryanshii Oyaships was while Jaime was Oya and saw David run through his score tallies, only to replenish his tray on his Oyaship.

David committed yet another careless Chombo while Oya. This time it was a case of not declaring Riichi and attempting to go out, last tile, on Jaime's 9-Coins discard, forgetting that the only potential Yaku in his hand might have been Tanyao and that he had no right to go out without first declaring Riichi under those circumstances...

So David ended on zero, with Jaime taking 25,000 off Noda.

The next game took almost as long, but this time it was Noda's and he took 41,000 off Jaime and a couple of thousand off David.

The third game was a quicker affair, and this one was won by Jaime but this time at David's expense and so the result ended with one loser, David on -34 with Jaime top on +19, and Noda going further into record-breaking territory for this year, being now on a new yearly total of +659.

Jaime +25, -41, +35 = +19
Noda -25, +43, -3 = +15
David 0, -2, -32 = -34

We were so early out of the Jansou that Noda was able to drop David off at the station in plenty of time for the last train home.

David Hurley

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Sunday 25th November: A Game of Three Penalties

Above: Disappointment as Jaime's penalty is saved...

Here's a pic of Jaime taking the first of our three penalties during a fine game played in lovely autumnal weather on the grass pitch in the park near Hiroshima airport. As you can see, the shot was on target, but the other team's goalkeeper was wide awake and saved the penalty. One of our strikers pounced on the ball but the angle was too oblique for him to squeeze it home.

Altogether it was an eventful first half, which I happily observed from the touchline. We scored first, but then they replied with three goals. Then they gave away the penalty and Jaime stepped up to take it...

Half time score 3:1.

Jaime came off at half time and I went on at left back. Within five minutes of the second half one of their nippy attackers ran through with the ball. I didn't close him down and he shot. Our stand-in goalkeeper, the team captain, seemed to have the ball covered but to our dismay he completely misjudged it and the ball went over his arms and into the goal...


Game over, you might think, but our team never seems to give up and even the oldest member was in reasonable form despite the excesses of two successive nights of mahjong and booze, and able to intercept a few balls with boot and head and even stay on the ball long enough to turn and pass it back at one stage!

Charging forward in support of the attack, I put in a follow up shot after one of our attackers' shots came of the goalkeeper - my left footed shot was also on target, but unfortunately it was blocked by the goalkeeper.

Every time there was a corner I went up and played my customary decoy role - the height advantage worries the defenders, and takes their mind off out younger skillful players! Mind you, if the goalkeeper had not been so good at plucking the ball from mid-air it would have dropped right where I was on the goal line.

Anyway, we won a penalty, which was slotted home, and then scored in open play with about five or ten minutes left. Then right at the end our attacker broke through and into the box where he was blatantly tripped by the last defender... Penalty!

He put the ball away with great composure to bring the score up to 4-4 with less than a minute to go. For that he got called "You f***ing hero," and a clap on the back by the oldest player in the team.

The other team kicked off, and a few kicks later the ref blew the final whistle. Utter elation!

Above: Just to prove that I really was on the pitch, policing the left of the defence...

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