Author Topic: Novices and Experts should not mix in tournaments.  (Read 2138 times)

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Novices and Experts should not mix in tournaments.
« on: June 06, 2014, 12:52:35 am »
To begin, I'm not talking about daily casual play... I'm talking specifically about tournaments.

For casual play, it's good to mix everybody... novices can learn by example and get better, improving the overall community... and experts can hone their skills dealing with unpredictable players.

But to continue as regards to not mixing skill-levels in tournament play... I didn't always feel this way. I used to think it was rude and elitist when people would complain about novices in tournaments, like they were "oh so good" that it was "beneath them" to have to suffer to play with a novice.

But the more I play, and maybe the more I learn about mahjong, the more I understand the troubles of mixing novices and experts in tournament play.

Allow me to present a case in point:

I just finished a game. Going into the last hand (SR4) the scores were:
E 41,000
S 21,400
W 37,300
N 300

I'm South, and I have a chance to change my place, and get from 3rd to 2nd with a tsumo baiman hand, or with a direct hit on 2nd I could jump my place with at just a mangan. Upsetting the game and taking 1st is still possible with a direct hit haneman. Well within reasonable possibilities for me to change my fate in the game before it's over.

North (I blocked his name, because I'm not trying to be mean to one person, but to use this hand to illustrate a point) needs a minimum of a tsumo sanbaiman to get out of fourth... or with a direct hit he could jump his standing with a haneman. A bit tougher for him to even jump places out of fourth into just third, but possible with some extra luck. To make 2nd or 1st... he really needs to aim for a yakuman hand... a stretch but not impossible.

But take a look at how this hand playing out...

I was 2 tiles from an open full flush hand with two dora... a haneman hand in the making... and if I'm able to pick up another dora I could possibly win the hand for an upset and take first! And if I don't... so long as East is tenpai, we'll get another deal to try again... but what happens next?

With 9 tiles left in the wall, North declares riichi... putting his score into the negative... so win, lose, or washout, his riichi guarantees that this will be the last hand. As it turns out, North went on to win the hand with a direct hit on West for a whopping 2,600 points... killing himself into last place, and taking my chances of an upset down with him for nothing. I'm sure 2nd place had some hopes to take first as well.

The more I play, the more I realize dumb moves like this are common with beginners... they aim for the hand-win at all costs, even if it guarantees their own loss. That's like being in the bottom of the ninth, you're team's behind by three points, and the bases are loaded with two outs, 3 balls and 2 strikes... a home run will win the game and anything else will basically lose the game. You don't want to strike out and lose the game so... you bunt yourself onto first base. Yay... you didn't strike out and made it onto first base! But they tagged the runner on third out at home plate. Way to ruin the game for everyone else.

NOW I'm starting to see the problem with mixing novices with players who actually know what they are doing. Had this been a tournament game, I would have been pretty unhappy with North, who would have had no place being at the same tournament table... and whose uneducated move directly interfered with every other player at the table without having any hope of benefitting himself.