RE: A Terrible Thing

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Scott Miller
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RE: A Terrible Thing

Postby Scott Miller » Fri Sep 27, 2013 3:16 pm

When I score, I’m always careful to say out loud the score as I’m writing it down and also say from who to who. I will then, while people are washing the tiles, hold up the score sheet for everyone to see even if they haven’t asked for it. People usually glance or take it from me to check. I do this as a matter of principle as I think it’s important for people to check that I’ve written their winning score down correctly and that everyone agrees. Sometimes someone will notice a mistake, either in the scoring of the hand or I’ve written something in the wrong column. We’re all human after all and it’s a big responsibility. Plus it’s much easier to fix a mistake the moment it happens rather than later.


I can vouch for you and say that is exactly how you did it at our table when we played, which was much appreciated.

Sometime after the start of the South round, the starting South player opposite me says that he thinks I didn’t write down his mangan. So I pick up the score sheet and we all take a look to discover where the problem is.

...

What do we do now? The referee was also looking at the score sheet to try and see something, but spots nothing. I called over the head referee and asked for her opinion. She said that if the other two players (excluding myself and the one claiming the mangan) do not remember and the hand was several hands ago, nothing could be done and we had to keep playing.

Of course, this was grossly unsatisfactory for the South player who feels he has lost his mangan. I am totally horrified that I could have made a mistake. In the end, we’ll never know what happened. Whether it was misremembered by the player or a mistake on my part…

However, it really upset me.


Here's the point of my post. It's not your fault, and don't beat yourself up about it.

Like the saying goes... no good deed goes unpunished. You tried to be helpful, and now you're suffering for it.

You were stepping up above and beyond to do the scoring, and moreso made your process as transparent as possible by offering the sheet for examination every hand. There's nothing more you could have done. Even better, both the ref and the head ref got your back, so the problem is not you, here it is with South.

EVEN IF (which I don't think you did) made a mistake... South had the opportunity to verify your math, but chose to accept your math uncontested at the time it was relevant. It was stressed during the referee seminar that you can't go backwards... players have to lodge complaints for the hand at hand, otherwise accept what has transpired and move on.

I can’t tell you how bad I still feel about that table, and how I keep replaying the game in my head to try and find that missing mangan.


So clearly you are a person who cares. Do your best to let it go. It's South's problem to lose sleep over, not yours.

In the end, we are human and there’s only so much we can do…


Exactly!

One solution we came up with at one of my tables was we rotated who kept score. In doing so, we all checked each others' math... and I did catch some crazy math on another player's part... he wasn't cheating, just didn't carry his one to the right place. In the end, I think the vast majority of the players were friendly and fair people. Tensions always run a tad high at competitions, so maybe a little room for forgiveness, but otherwise, like the Jamaican players said... No worries mon.

What? You didn't meet the Jamaican players?

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Re: RE: A Terrible Thing

Postby Gnom » Sat Sep 28, 2013 12:07 am

I remember discussing the point system (as well as various aspects of the EMA rules) nearly every time I played with these rules. Maybe this is the place to complain in a more public fashion. But first of all, I don't want to just rant on and on, and I do appreciate the work of the EMA to make mahjong more famous in Europe, I just feel we don't need special rules.

My feeling is, this way of counting is a real pain in the ass. It is a distraction for the player who has to count, as well as a source of stress if there is a counting problem that is spotted during the game, which can influence the outcome if a hanchan. The times where I am designated to count points are the most dreaded in a tournament for me.

I say we should do as about everybody does in Japan: count with sticks. About the bankruptcy rule, I find it quite interesting, it can both allow one to end a game prematurely by picking on a weak player (with the associated risk of exposing themselves to the two others), or be a safeguard against big streaks of bad luck (whether you call it fate or series law).

I remember one table last December in Paris where one player was a beginner and two players where complete beginners. Needless to say, this game was pretty much like a raffle, with the dominatings yakus being yakupai and most deals ending pretty quickly. Not being as lucky as I'd like to, I lost pretty big, I think it was -70 or -80 (after which I was still ahead of the three other players on the rankings, by the way). As frustrated as I may have been I didn't hold bad feelings against these players, as has been discussed on mahjong news recently -and probably at every tournament held in Europe-, since although I don't appreciate this playing style, they did follow the rules, and you gotta start somewhere in order to learn, but I'd sure have been happy to go bankrupt, which would have limited my loss to -55 or -60 depending on the starting points.

As for the scores being hard to figure out without an automatic table, I don't find it that hard as long as players keep their points organized. You can see in a glance that if a player has 1 10.000 pts stick and 2 5.000 pts sticks they are pretty close to their starting points, and depending on the volume of 1.000 pts sticks you can get a good approximation of where they stand. Granted, it's hard to figure out their score to the point, but it's usually not necessary. And I don't like to ask for a score sheet to another player during gameplay as I find it rude to distract them, although as stated the table etiquette is somewhat loose in EMA tournaments...

As for cheating, it shouldn't be a problem if the other two players keep their eyes open. The points exchange doesn't have to be as fast and in Japan and could be commented for players who don't know how to count hands...

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Re: RE: A Terrible Thing

Postby Shirluban » Sat Sep 28, 2013 1:06 pm

I must point out that cheating and/or mistakes are way more easy with a score sheet, since the scoring is not even made in front of everybody.
Who seriously checks score sheets? The final score may sum up to zero, but hundreds or even thousands points may be out-of-place with nobody noticing it.
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Re: RE: A Terrible Thing

Postby gemma » Sun Sep 29, 2013 12:38 pm

@Gnom - Do you have the scoring sticks visible then when you play? I've only really used the sticks with tables with the little drawers to keep them in so you can't see at a glance another player's. Where do you put them on the table?

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Re: RE: A Terrible Thing

Postby Shirluban » Sun Sep 29, 2013 1:25 pm

At my club, we use Junk mats, with little trays to hold the sticks. So, they're always visible to anybody.
(But it's hard to store more than 10 sticks in a single tray.)
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Re: RE: A Terrible Thing

Postby gemma » Sun Sep 29, 2013 2:54 pm

Ahhhh! That makes sense. I have one of those. And yeah I guess it would be pretty easy to at least guess what people have. But still... sometimes when you're nearing the end of the game and there really is only a few hundred or thousand points between you, it really is important to know what hand points you need to push you up to the top.

I'm not arguing against sticks by the way. I like them, but they do have a drawback. Surely someone smart could create a junkmat with some fancy electronics that would count like an automatic table does?

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Re: RE: A Terrible Thing

Postby Gnom » Tue Oct 08, 2013 2:27 am

Actually the electronics are not that fancy at all, at least for some types!

The really fancy ones are using sticks without any metal contact, I'm guessing the table uses some kind of induction to measure the amount of each sort of sticks, but the less fancy ones have metal contacts on both ends and a resistor inside, and the table is just measuring the resulting resistance. So, if we had those sticks (which I don't think are that expensive, for having visited the back of an automatic table fix shop) we could design trays that could count and display points. They wouldn't be so expensive but would take time to make. That's actually a pretty good idea, I may just start working on a system of the sort.

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Re: RE: A Terrible Thing

Postby Moah » Tue Oct 08, 2013 5:34 pm

Actually, I'm thinking of writing a scoring app (where you enter who won, hans / fun, who's riichi, etc), with a tournament software that would automatically receive those.
That would alleviate the problem.

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Re: RE: A Terrible Thing

Postby Shirluban » Tue Oct 08, 2013 6:19 pm

Moah wrote:Actually, I'm thinking of writing a scoring app (where you enter who won, hans / fun, who's riichi, etc), with a tournament software that would automatically receive those.
That would alleviate the problem.

Such app already exist, in Japanese, but can't be used in tournaments because phones are not allowed.
(Sorry, I don't have the app's name.)
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Re: RE: A Terrible Thing

Postby Ignatius » Tue Oct 08, 2013 10:19 pm

Something like Paifun, which allows to create hands records and the like?

This is a PC program.
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