Open Tanyao

Japanese Reach Mahjong Rules. Strategy, news, sets - anything!

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MortenA
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Re:Open Tanyao

Post by MortenA » Tue Aug 11, 2009 12:13 pm

@shirluban
Well I personaly agree with you on the red fives however when the EMA rules were made it seemed to be the consensus that people liked them. In Denmark we used to play with 4 red fives (two in dots).

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Re:Open Tanyao

Post by gemma » Tue Aug 11, 2009 12:48 pm

I like red fives!

@shirluban

That\'s interesting! Actually the first ever set I bought was from Hamleys (for those who don\'t know it\'s a famous toy shop in London) and that had red fives with scoring sticks - it was the full Japanese works. The book that came with it even described Japanese rules.

That was just pure luck of the draw I guess though! I wanted a mahjong set and I ordered the first one I found!

I haven\'t really got a point just interesting that our experiences are so different. And to be honest I thought I would have been much more likely to have got a Chinese set considering Britain\'s history.

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Re:Open Tanyao

Post by chalwa » Tue Aug 11, 2009 1:26 pm

The most common (cheap, and most easy to find) mahjong set in Poland is with red fives, also I saw here on forum somewere, somebody linked the same, avaiable in England, so its not really necessary to buy it from japan. It\'s good ema use red fives, because it is importatnt (imho) option in riichi mahjong.

And going back to topic, in Poland we all play with open tanyao, because we are trying to use rules most similar to \"japanese\" rules (that means most common in Japan). Our lvl (as I see it) isn\'t very high, but we dont abuse rule of open tanyao, as we want to improve our skills, and try to make various yaku. Also as stated before, open tanyao is important in strategy, so i think its better to learn about \"proper\" use of it as fast as posible.

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Re:Open Tanyao

Post by hirohurl » Tue Aug 11, 2009 1:36 pm

This is an interesting discussion. In the 4-player games I play in Hiroshima kuitan is usually allowed, but I haven\'t noticed it occurring too often. However, I have noticed that beginners love to open up their hand on every opportunity. My weakness was for open toi-toi. But open hands also leave a player fewer tiles to play with if a switch to defensive play is needed. It sounds as if the no-open tanyao rule, which is certainly an option in Japan, was brought in out of frustration with beginners not doing what they "should". But unconventional play is as much a part of the game as anything else, and more experienced players can adapt to it. Eventually, the beginner will realize that trying to go out on kuitan every time is not the best strategy - or get punished for it!

But, if the rule of the table were no-kuitan, I would not object.
Robert wrote:I will not play closed tanyao, period.
Hi Robert, we all have our preferences, but what happens if you are one of four people who gather to play a game and the other three would like to try closed tanyao? Would you get up and walk away?

In social mahjong there is often a process that reminds me of the Japanese concept of "nemawashi" that takes place when you sit down, but before play takes place. Since we are all dedicated to playing Japanese mahjong of one form or another, nemawashi is a good concept to get to know about:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nemawashi

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Re:Open Tanyao

Post by Barticle » Tue Aug 11, 2009 5:01 pm

gemma wrote:That\'s interesting! Actually the first ever set I bought was from Hamleys (for those who don\'t know it\'s a famous toy shop in London) and that had red fives with scoring sticks - it was the full Japanese works. The book that came with it even described Japanese rules.
Oddly enough I braved the hordes to look around Hamleys just a couple of weeks ago! :)

They did have one MJ set in their traditional/classic games department. I don´t remember it being a Japanese one though (and I can´t find it on their website) but I´ve looked at so many sets recently...! I guess their stock could have changed since you got yours too.

I think a Japanese set in a UK shop was quite a lucky find.

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Re:Open Tanyao

Post by hirohurl » Wed Aug 12, 2009 1:35 am

I remember seeing a mahjong set in W.H. Smiths years ago.

Actually, when I was a boy I used to be fascinated by the photo of a mahjong set that was a regular feature of the \"presents for gentlemen\" (or whatever) section of those bulky mail order catalogues. I had absolutely no clue what you would do with all those different pieces and I longed to know! That was actually how I came to want to play mahjong \"one day\"!

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Re:Open Tanyao

Post by GRDavies » Wed Aug 12, 2009 6:45 am

I\'m a Dutch player and we have \'grown up\' with the closed Tanyo rule, since that was (still is) the way to play on (Dutch) tournaments.

I have two complaints against open tanyo:
1) It\'s relative easy and thus less skilled players tend to play that hand every time (from turn 1). Comparing to another easy Yaku, the Yaku pung (Dragon/Seat-/Roundwind), which you - most of the time - must be lucky to be paired up in the early stage of the game since the tendency is that those tiles are discarded early in the games, you have 84 of the 136 tiles (~61,8 %) with Tanyo. Especially when the dora is in the 2~8 range a player can get a modest/big hand with not a single effort.
2) But the biggest complaint is the \'dead money\' lying on the table in the form of Riichi bets which the open tanyo player can easily scoop up. A player who makes riichi has the following dis-/advantages:
- 1000 points
- fixed hand
- totally defenseless
+ (extra) 1 Yaku
+ chance of extra doras

I wouldn\'t mind open Tanyo if it\'s degraded to some kind of \'Chicken hand\', by which i mean if it\'s the sole Yaku of the whole hand (so no combining with other Yaku like mixed tripple Chow) all Riichi bets and dora tiles are nullified.
That or declaring riichi doesn\'t cost nothing (which i find a fair trade vs Open Tanyo, which they had before MJT adopted the EMA rules).

But this is offcourse only my opinion.

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Re:Open Tanyao

Post by silent observer » Wed Aug 12, 2009 7:07 am

GRDavies wrote:1) It\'s relative easy and thus less skilled players tend to play that hand every time (from turn 1). Comparing to another easy Yaku, the Yaku pung (Dragon/Seat-/Roundwind), which you - most of the time - must be lucky to be paired up in the early stage of the game since the tendency is that those tiles are discarded early in the games, you have 84 of the 136 tiles (~61,8 %) with Tanyo. Especially when the dora is in the 2~8 range a player can get a modest/big hand with not a single effort.
Whereas open tanyao can only use dora between 2-8, yakuhai hands can use dora across the board, with no limits. The argument that less skilled players will use it is dead, since if they COULD use it, they\'d get used to it and only use it when appropriate. Open Tanyao is also relatively easy to defend against, and winning on open tanyao only is quite a feat; if it happens the tiles are definitely with you, or your opponents are just really bad.
2) But the biggest complaint is the \'dead money\' lying on the table in the form of Riichi bets which the open tanyo player can easily scoop up. A player who makes riichi has the following dis-/advantages:
- 1000 points
- fixed hand
- totally defenseless
+ (extra) 1 Yaku
+ chance of extra doras
Riichi has NOTHING to do with open tanyao. The same applies for ANY SITUATION, not only open tanyao. You still pay 1,000 points for the declaration, you\'re still left defenseless, you still get an additional yaku, you still get ura dora, and you still get a chance for ippatsu (which you forgot). You still tell your opponents that you\'re in tenpai, so your opponents will play a lot more defensively when you do. Whether or not open tanyao is allowed or not does not, in any way, change the pros or cons of riichi. And seriously? 1,000 points? Looking at the past tournament records available, a difference of 1,000 points wouldn\'t even change the results any major way (a few people around the middle, near 0 points, might switch places).
I wouldn\'t mind open Tanyo if it\'s degraded to some kind of \'Chicken hand\', by which i mean if it\'s the sole Yaku of the whole hand (so no combining with other Yaku like mixed tripple Chow) all Riichi bets and dora tiles are nullified.
But yakuhai should be allowed to collect riichi bets, and add dora, and combine with san shoku? Yakuhai requires luck, knowing when to use open tanyao requires at least a modest amount of skill. Yeah, your argument is logically sound, I can see that.

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Re:Open Tanyao

Post by Robert » Wed Aug 12, 2009 7:42 am

Why won\'t I play closed tan\'yao?

Because without open tanyao, what do I do?

To me, not calling for tiles is like a woman sitting and waiting for Prince Charming instead of going out and trying to find a guy.

Hell, why not a house rule stating that all hands, not just tanyao, must be concealed, if you like concealed hands so much?


And if the other three players insisted on removing the open tanyao yaku, I would say let\'s also remove pinfu and riichi.

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Re:Open Tanyao

Post by GRDavies » Wed Aug 12, 2009 7:59 am

silent observer wrote:
But yakuhai should be allowed to collect riichi bets, and add dora, and combine with san shoku? Yakuhai requires luck, knowing when to use open tanyao requires at least a modest amount of skill. Yeah, your argument is logically sound, I can see that.
Sure, only 4 or 5 Yaku pung at the most to get your Yaku and as explained before most of the time, you have to get lucky to have paired up in the beginning.

I only wonder if you have ever played on a table with 3 players whom only go for open tanyo and the Yaku pung hands, which were most of the tables on MJT before they adapted the EMA rules (still not 100% correctly implemented, but that\'s another discussion). Those table experiences is why i advocate my suggestion.
Try playing 100 of games against these kind of players (3 of these opponents at the table) and then i want to hear your opinion about open tanyo rule again.

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Re:Open Tanyao

Post by GRDavies » Wed Aug 12, 2009 9:42 am

silent observer wrote:
2) But the biggest complaint is the \'dead money\' lying on the table in the form of Riichi bets which the open tanyo player can easily scoop up. A player who makes riichi has the following dis-/advantages:
- 1000 points
- fixed hand
- totally defenseless
+ (extra) 1 Yaku
+ chance of extra doras
Riichi has NOTHING to do with open tanyao. The same applies for ANY SITUATION, not only open tanyao. You still pay 1,000 points for the declaration, you\'re still left defenseless, you still get an additional yaku, you still get ura dora, and you still get a chance for ippatsu (which you forgot). You still tell your opponents that you\'re in tenpai, so your opponents will play a lot more defensively when you do. Whether or not open tanyao is allowed or not does not, in any way, change the pros or cons of riichi. And seriously? 1,000 points? Looking at the past tournament records available, a difference of 1,000 points wouldn\'t even change the results any major way (a few people around the middle, near 0 points, might switch places).
1000 on the dayscore no, but you forget in your argument it won\'t happen only once on the whole day, with open tanyo, most of your riichi bets will go down the drain, because of open tanyo MJ\'s. Even with the EMA rules you can go bust if you make a lot of riichi and don\'t get the chance to make MJ\'s, so even then you must consider if it\'s worthwile to go for Riichi or not. If there\'s the possibility of open tanyo it\'s a losing proposition in the long run (as i see it).

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Re:Open Tanyao

Post by Barticle » Wed Aug 12, 2009 5:24 pm

silent observer wrote:
Tom Sloper wrote:It\'s the same reason why there\'s a 1-fan minimum
But there\'s not - there\'s a 1 yaku requirement. You can get a han from dora, but that won\'t allow you to declare a win.
To be fair, it is referred to as an Ii Han Shibari rather than an Ii Yaku Shibari.

It would make more sense just to call it a one-Yaku minimum though, instead of having to explain "it´s a one-Fan minimum but not including dora"...

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Re:Open Tanyao

Post by Toby » Mon Aug 17, 2009 9:20 pm

I really don\'t like some of the reasoning behind your argument, Tina.
Expert players know when and how to use Tanyao (...). But if the field of players are less experienced they might simply go for the hand almost every time, in a way a pro player never would. It tends to spoil the fun of the game somewhat. In a way the concealed tanyao is there in order to increase the defensive element in the European riichi game.
This sounds to me like you\'re trying to educate players by forcing them into (or, as the case may be, preventing them from) playing a certain style. Sure, the field may not be comprised of experts, but almost everybody learns and improves. To use a poker analogy, this feels like banning all-ins before the flop in texas hold\'em. Which, as well as open tanyao, is abused by beginners, and also something that players who consider themselves more experienced gripe about constantly. On the other hand, over-agressive pre-flop play helps beginners to reduce the skill level gap between themselves and better players, as can open tanyao. Still, pre-flop all-in is not banned, even though pros gripe about it.
Pro players really ought to have no problem changing between rule sets(...)
I personally find that condescending, after Gemma stated she had trouble adjusting to the rules. Since Gemma is a very nice person, I\'m sure she won\'t take offence, so I shouldn\'t either.

It does jar a little with the next statement though.
Lastly I must say that I am strongly opposed to the idea of allowing different kinds of riichi rules sets in European ranked tournaments. It would kill the whole idea of a standard, unifying rule set. Standard rule sets is what allows mahjong to spread, and what allows us to play with each other across borders.
We need a single standard ruleset so we can play together, but we shouldn\'t have trouble with multiple rulesets?

European Riichi is not at the stage yet where we need a unifying ruleset. There are currently some efforts being put into devising alternative tournament formats, with different rules, many of which include open tanyao. Working out some EMA-scoring agreement with tournaments like these would allow Riichi to reach a wider range of players, which should be our first goal right now. A variety of tournament formats and rulesets can also bring about a democratic process, which will show which set of rules can stand the test of time. It\'s not just EMA\'s party. We\'re all here to play. And some of us prefer different rules.

That being said, I don\'t want to belittle neither your efforts, Tina, nor those of your colleagues. You did a great lot of good for Riichi in Europe. I learned Riichi in part from the EMA rules. Thank you for that.

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Re:Open Tanyao

Post by Tina » Tue Aug 18, 2009 9:30 am

Toby wrote: This sounds to me like you\'re trying to educate players by forcing them into (or, as the case may be, preventing them from) playing a certain style.
Yes, but please remember it\'s not like I (or EMA) invented a new rule. For the moment I believe this will give a better balance to the game play at Euro tournaments.
Pro players really ought to have no problem changing between rule sets(...)
I personally find that condescending, after Gemma stated she had trouble adjusting to the rules. Since Gemma is a very nice person, I\'m sure she won\'t take offence, so I shouldn\'t either.
I am sorry if anyone took offense; I can see that the wording is a bit harsh. No offense was meant. There certainly is strategic changes to your play depending on whether Tanyao must be concealed or not, and it takes a little time adapting to the one you\'re not used to.

I was not in fact referring to European players or Gemma for that matter, but rather reacting to a (devil\'s advocate, I know) statement that Japanese would have a severe disadvantage when playing in Europe. A pro Japanese player will know how long time to take to prepare for a tournament with different rules. (I don\'t even know if they normally need time for that, changing e.g. between A and B rules). I really doubt that a pro Japanese player would need more than a few games with concealed tanyao for adapting. Maybe just concentrating on the issue on the flight over will do it. The challenge for the Japanese is to adapt to the different play style seen at European tournaments. One might argue that a concealed tanyao is to the advantage of the Japanese pro playing in Europe.
It does jar a little with the next statement though.
Lastly I must say that I am strongly opposed to the idea of allowing different kinds of riichi rules sets in European ranked tournaments. It would kill the whole idea of a standard, unifying rule set. Standard rule sets is what allows mahjong to spread, and what allows us to play with each other across borders.
We need a single standard ruleset so we can play together, but we shouldn\'t have trouble with multiple rulesets?
That\'s right! I have no pretension that anyone is able to define one rule set that will unify the Japanese players. But Japan has pro players, and they read the rules and prepare for different tournaments (in Japan) with different rule variations. But Europe has a lot of social players and they are not going to read up on a new rule set every time they go to a new city to play.
European Riichi is not at the stage yet where we need a unifying ruleset.
A unifying rule set is quintessential. I cannot stress that enough.
There are currently some efforts being put into devising alternative tournament formats, with different rules, many of which include open tanyao. Working out some EMA-scoring agreement with tournaments like these would allow Riichi to reach a wider range of players, which should be our first goal right now. A variety of tournament formats and rulesets can also bring about a democratic process, which will show which set of rules can stand the test of time. It\'s not just EMA\'s party. We\'re all here to play. And some of us prefer different rules.
This is very interesting. I like the idea that people are discussing this seriously. And mind you, I am not against efforts devising alternative tournament formats, in DK we have also thought of experimenting with Open Tanyao, and we have in the past experimented with many different formats. But for official EMA tournaments, the rules should be the same.

I do not agree that more riichi rule variants played will lead to riichi spreading to more people than it would otherwise, on the contrary, a single rule set is stronger. And while I sympathise with your idea that a period of experiments will lead to a democratic process where the ultimate rule set will be the result, I still believe that a common standard is a necessary starting point.
That being said, I don\'t want to belittle neither your efforts, Tina, nor those of your colleagues. You did a great lot of good for Riichi in Europe. I learned Riichi in part from the EMA rules. Thank you for that.
Thanks for the nice words, and thanks for your nice post. I hope to meet you soon at a riichi event.

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Re:Open Tanyao

Post by Toby » Tue Aug 18, 2009 10:27 am

Thanks for your quick and very considerate reply.

I must admit you\'ve given me something to think about - while I\'m still not convinced that one standard is the best way to go, I concede the idea does have its merits.

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