Analysis of rules - A game of the year 1903

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Cofa Tsui

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Dec 9, 2006, 2:33:49 AM12/9/06
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Ithinc's post of Dec 6 is from Chapter 31 of "Guanchang Xianxing Ji"
(interesting this site has full contents of all ancient books displayed -
http://www.inncn.com/book/gd/l/libaojia/gcxxj/031.htm). The contents of
Ithinc's post can be displayed on my Outlook news reader - I understand it
is not properly displayed on the Google site (the site is set to display
UTF-8 only). Here I try to re-post Ithinc's original message with UTF-8
encoding - Hope this will display on the Google site as well.

"ithinc" <ith...@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:1165467157.8...@n67g2000cwd.googlegroups.com...
> Hello Cofa,
>
> I have found the "guan chang xian xing ji" book which was written in
> old Chinese and was published from 1903 to 1905 at a newspaper. I
> picked a paragraph from it below:
>
> ??????????????????,?????,?????????????????????????????,???????????,?????????????????,???????????????,??????????,??????,???????????????,????????????????????,?????,??????,?????????????????,????????????????,???????????,???????????,?????????????????,???????,???????????,???????,??????,???????????????????,?????:????,??????,??????,??????,????????,??????,?????,??????,????,?????????????,??????????????,????????????????????????,??????????,?????,???"?????,?????",????????,????,??:"???????,??????????!??????,?????,???????????????!"??????:"????????????????????,??????????"?????:"????!????????????,?????????"???:"???????????,???????????,???????!????????,???????!"
>
>
> From the above paragraph, I could find they were playing a CC-like
> mahjong and Red Dragon, White Dragon had exsited at the moment.
>

Hi Ithinc, thank you for pointing me to the site. I use your post to start
this new topic. As to what form they are playing, from the above
descriptions I can say they are CC-like, and also *not* CC-like (assuming CC
means Millington's rules). First let's see what the descriptions are
(perhaps Thierry could provide a better translated version from the book
"Officialdom unmasked" by T.L. Yang):

[ Note, use of the terminology in World Unified Mahjong Terminology ("WUMT")
is recommended ^_^
http://www.imahjong.com/maiarchives209.html ]

A. Descriptions of players:
Player Wu is the jonga (the "east").
Player Tian is the one who discarded the last winning pai.
The nexta of Wu wins on the discarded pai, which is an 8 Wan (W8).
"Red Dragon" is called "zhong feng" ("centre wind") in the descriptions.
(Background info: Player Tian has an escort girl sitting with him. The
girl's name is Cuixi, who is also known to player Wu in other occasion.
During the play, Cuixi provides influence as to how player Tian shall
discard. Player Wu is very jealous of the acts of Tian and the girl...)

B. Contents of the winning hand:
Red Dragon x 3 (RRR), North x 3 concealed (NNN), 7 Wan x 3 (W777), 123 Wan
(W123), 8 Wan (fishing).
Discarded as winning pai: 8 Wan (W8)

C. Calculation of payment - as per the descriptions:
RRR = 4 fu ("Fu" can be translated as "set" in English. I don't understand
why "fu" is used here. And remember, the book is not written in modern
Chinese writing.)
NNN (concealed) = 8 fu
W777 = 4 fu
W8 fishing = Nil
Win = 10 fu
TOTAL = 26 fu
1 double = 52
2 double = 104
Wan suit only 3 double = 208

D. Other descriptions:
(1) The jonga (player Wu) is going to lose two hundred something dollars.
(2) Wu was angry because Tian has discarded the winning pai; Wu pushes out
his hand of pais when he knows he is going to lose two hundred something
dollars.

E. Difference comparing to Millington's rules:
(1) No points for fishing in this game.
(2) According to Millington's, the jonga ("east") shall pay double the
hand's score, or $416 in this game. But the descriptions specifically stated
that he is going to lose "two hundred something dollars."
(3) There doesn't seem to have "settlement between the losing players",
given the act of Wu in item D(2).
(4) According to player Wu's quote: Player Tian is going to lose LESS THAN
him because Tian is not the jonga ("east").

F. My (Cofa's) comments:
(1) The calculation provided in the descriptions could apply to *any* form
of play in that time period (year 1903), be it "CC-like" or "HKOS-like".
(2) As well, all of the differences in E (1) through (4) could apply to
*any* form at that time.
(3) Major difference to Millington's is item E(3) - no settlement between
losing players.

This is a very interesting piece of info that records mahjong ("ma que pai")
being played a hundred ago. The way the escort girl "helping" or joining
player Tian in the game, may be an indication that people are very skilful
in the game, implying that the game could have been quite popular, that the
game could have existed, at that time, for quite a while.

Comments and feedback please.
--
Cofa Tsui
www.iMahjong.com


Message has been deleted

Cofa Tsui

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Dec 9, 2006, 3:54:10 AM12/9/06
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Too bad my post doesn't seem to show the Chinese texts. I have posted a
new page on my website containing the Chinese texts, in case any one
would be interested:
http://www.imahjong.com/maiarchives205d.html

Cheers!
Cofa Tsui
www.iMahjong.com

ithinc

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Dec 9, 2006, 12:35:51 PM12/9/06
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"Cofa Tsui 写道:

"
> A. Descriptions of players:
> Player Wu is the jonga (the "east").
Veraciously, he should be called Player Wuelabu, for he was a Manchu
and an officer. Wu was not his surname.

> Player Tian is the one who discarded the last winning pai.
> The nexta of Wu wins on the discarded pai, which is an 8 Wan (W8).

>From the context, I would think "di jia"(底家) pointed to the same
thing of "shang jia"(上家). So the winner was the lefta of Wu, who
sitted at the North place.

> "Red Dragon" is called "zhong feng" ("centre wind") in the descriptions.
> (Background info: Player Tian has an escort girl sitting with him. The
> girl's name is Cuixi, who is also known to player Wu in other occasion.
> During the play, Cuixi provides influence as to how player Tian shall
> discard. Player Wu is very jealous of the acts of Tian and the girl...)
>
> B. Contents of the winning hand:
> Red Dragon x 3 (RRR), North x 3 concealed (NNN), 7 Wan x 3 (W777), 123 Wan
> (W123), 8 Wan (fishing).
> Discarded as winning pai: 8 Wan (W8)
>
> C. Calculation of payment - as per the descriptions:
> RRR = 4 fu ("Fu" can be translated as "set" in English. I don't understand
> why "fu" is used here. And remember, the book is not written in modern
> Chinese writing.)

"Fu"(副) should be a mistake of "fu"(符). It meant points in
so-called CC mahjong. I also find the CC-like mahjong still being
played in some towns of Suzhou by the old. I'll make clear how they
call the game. For the author of the book was borned in Wujin,Changzhou
and lived in Shanghai, he should speak the similar localism to the
Suzhou localism.

> NNN (concealed) = 8 fu
> W777 = 4 fu
> W8 fishing = Nil
> Win = 10 fu
> TOTAL = 26 fu
> 1 double = 52
> 2 double = 104
> Wan suit only 3 double = 208
>
> D. Other descriptions:
> (1) The jonga (player Wu) is going to lose two hundred something dollars.
> (2) Wu was angry because Tian has discarded the winning pai; Wu pushes out
> his hand of pais when he knows he is going to lose two hundred something
> dollars.
>
> E. Difference comparing to Millington's rules:
> (1) No points for fishing in this game.

I don't know what is said in Millington's rules. I would say that it
was not a fishing, for he was holding 7778C waiting for either 8C or
9C. "八万吊头不算"(the fishing of 8 Wan doesn't count) maybe
indicated this.

> (2) According to Millington's, the jonga ("east") shall pay double the
> hand's score, or $416 in this game. But the descriptions specifically stated
> that he is going to lose "two hundred something dollars."

>From what player Wu said, I would say that the jonga would pay double.
Other non-dealer players maybe losed about one hundred dollars. 208 fu
wasn't equal to 208 dollars.

> (3) There doesn't seem to have "settlement between the losing players",
> given the act of Wu in item D(2).

Yes.

> (4) According to player Wu's quote: Player Tian is going to lose LESS THAN
> him because Tian is not the jonga ("east").

Yes.

Tom Sloper

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Dec 9, 2006, 1:21:27 PM12/9/06
to
"Cofa Tsui" <cofa...@hotmail.com> wrote:

>use of the terminology in World Unified Mahjong Terminology ("WUMT")
>is recommended ^_^

I disagree. For this reason, in scoring the example hand under HKOS rules
below, I referred to Amy Lo's book (commonly available and easier for most
people to read).

>(assuming CC
>means Millington's rules)

It doesn't. "CC" does not mean "Millington's rules." Millington describes CC
rules, but CC rules encompass much more than solely Millington's rules.

>E. Difference comparing to Millington's rules:
>(1) No points for fishing in this game.

I assume the 7C is exposed, not concealed? If the 7C was concealed, it's a
three-way call (6, 8, 9). Even if the 7C is exposed, the absence of points
for the one-way call are one of those things Millington lists as an optional
variation in his chapter 7. Also see below.

>(2) According to Millington's, the jonga ("east") shall pay double the
>hand's score, or $416 in this game. But the descriptions specifically
>stated
>that he is going to lose "two hundred something dollars."

I have often read English stories that take place in a mahjong game, in
which facts about the game are misrepresented. Do we know that the author
was someone known to be expert about the game? Also, see another possibility
below.

>(3) There doesn't seem to have "settlement between the losing players",
>given the act of Wu in item D(2).

Either the author merely omitted this, or it's only a fiction anyway (thus
he didn't need to describe extraneous details), or the players used an "only
the winner collects" table rule, or the "even non-winners can collect" rule
did not yet exist at the time.

>(4) According to player Wu's quote: Player Tian is going to lose LESS THAN
>him because Tian is not the jonga ("east").

Perhaps the payment rate is not one fu = one dollar. Maybe one fu = one half
dollar. This would explain why East has to pay two hundred something
dollars, not four hundred plus. I see that "ithinc" (who posted while I was
writing this) agrees with this explanation.

>F. My (Cofa's) comments:
>(1) The calculation provided in the descriptions could apply to *any* form
>of play in that time period (year 1903), be it "CC-like" or "HKOS-like".

I don't see how HKOS-like scoring can be seen here. Using Amy Lo's HKOS
("Cantonese") scoring for this hand (note: winner is South; round must be
either East or West):

Red pung (exposed) = 1 fan
Wind pung (not seat wind, not round wind, concealed) = 0 fan
Simple pung (concealed? exposed?) = 0 fan
Clean hand (won yat sik) = 3 fan
1-way call (a newer, non-"Old Style" optional rule, says Lo) = 1 fan if
allowed (and of course if 7C is concealed)

Total = 4 or 5 fan

Then house rules apply as to whether only the discarder shall pay or
discarder pays double what the others pay, and how 4 fan is to be converted
into a dollar amount.

This way of scoring is totally different from that used in the article, and
in the rules that were described (I mustn't use the word "documented") in
the 1920s.

>This is a very interesting piece of info that records mahjong ("ma que
>pai")
>being played a hundred ago.

Yes, it is. Thanks for translating it.

Tom


Cofa Tsui

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Dec 9, 2006, 3:24:13 PM12/9/06
to
ithinc wrote:
> "Cofa Tsui 写道:
> "
> > A. Descriptions of players:
> > Player Wu is the jonga (the "east").
> Veraciously, he should be called Player Wuelabu, for he was a Manchu
> and an officer. Wu was not his surname.

Hi Ithinc, thanks for providing the detail. It's always good to have
someone having the in-depth knowledge in the scrutiny ^_^

>
> > Player Tian is the one who discarded the last winning pai.
> > The nexta of Wu wins on the discarded pai, which is an 8 Wan (W8).

Ithinc wrote:
> >From the context, I would think "di jia"(底家) pointed to the same
> thing of "shang jia"(上家). So the winner was the lefta of Wu, who
> sitted at the North place.

>From my understanding of the paragraph (original Chinese texts can be
viewed at http://www.imahjong.com/maiarchives205d.html), Wu has
discarded a Centre Wind (Red Dragon) and his nexta ("di jia") has
punged it. Wu's lefta ("shang jia") discards a White Board (White
Dragon) and it is punged by his (Wu's) opposa (the player sitting on
Wu's opposite side, in this case the player is Tian). So I believe the
sitting sequence is:
Jonga ("east") = Wu, the winning player is Wu's nexta ("south"), player
Tian is the opposa of Wu. And Tian has discards an 8 Wan, and Wu's
nexta ("di jia") wins.

>>(assuming CC
>>means Millington's rules)

Tom Sloper wrote:
> It doesn't. "CC" does not mean "Millington's rules." Millington describes CC
> rules, but CC rules encompass much more than solely Millington's rules.

Since Ithinc first made the statement quoting "CC", I use Millington as
a reference. I guess it doesn't matter whether "CC" or "Millington's
rules" are used, since they both did not exist in 1903. Any name used
here is just for identification purposes (even though, any such
identifications could also be nowadays creations).

> > C. Calculation of payment - as per the descriptions:
> > RRR = 4 fu ("Fu" can be translated as "set" in English. I don't understand
> > why "fu" is used here. And remember, the book is not written in modern
> > Chinese writing.)

Ithinc wrote:
> "Fu"(副) should be a mistake of "fu"(符). It meant points in
> so-called CC mahjong. I also find the CC-like mahjong still being
> played in some towns of Suzhou by the old. I'll make clear how they
> call the game. For the author of the book was borned in Wujin,Changzhou
> and lived in Shanghai, he should speak the similar localism to the
> Suzhou localism.

Although the original texts shows "fu"(副), what Ithinc says is very
reasonable. "Fu"(符) means mark, sign, symbol in English.

Ithinc, I am curious if you could ask those seniors you know who also
play this form of game, whether they settle scores/payments between
non-winning players in games in the earliest years when they began to
learn/start to play the game. Of course, whatever other info you obtain
from them is sure to be of interest to this group.

> >
> > E. Difference comparing to Millington's rules:
> > (1) No points for fishing in this game.

Ithinc wrote:
> I don't know what is said in Millington's rules. I would say that it
> was not a fishing, for he was holding 7778C waiting for either 8C or
> 9C. "八万吊头不算"(the fishing of 8 Wan doesn't count) maybe
> indicated this.

Tom Sloper wrote:
> I assume the 7C is exposed, not concealed? If the 7C was concealed, it's a
> three-way call (6, 8, 9). Even if the 7C is exposed, the absence of points
> for the one-way call are one of those things Millington lists as an optional
> variation in his chapter 7. Also see below.

Wu was holding 7778C (your terms used) as per the original texts. So
the "fising" is not counted. Agreed.

>
> > (2) According to Millington's, the jonga ("east") shall pay double the
> > hand's score, or $416 in this game. But the descriptions specifically stated
> > that he is going to lose "two hundred something dollars."

Ithinc wrote:
> >From what player Wu said, I would say that the jonga would pay double.
> Other non-dealer players maybe losed about one hundred dollars. 208 fu
> wasn't equal to 208 dollars.

Tom Sloper wrote:
> I have often read English stories that take place in a mahjong game, in
> which facts about the game are misrepresented. Do we know that the author
> was someone known to be expert about the game? Also, see another possibility
> below.

I think Ithinc's is a reasonable explanation. As to Tom's question,
from the way the game was discribed in the texts, I think the author is
quite qualified in reporting the game in its accuracy. Not to mention
the author is writing the stories in its mother language.

>
> > (3) There doesn't seem to have "settlement between the losing players",
> > given the act of Wu in item D(2).

Ithinc wrote:
> Yes.

Tom Sloper wrote:
> Either the author merely omitted this, or it's only a fiction anyway (thus
> he didn't need to describe extraneous details), or the players used an "only
> the winner collects" table rule, or the "even non-winners can collect" rule
> did not yet exist at the time.

In this case, I would prefer reading the texts AS IS. All of Tom's are
just hypotheses. Whether the book's stories are only fictions, I would
leave it to other learned persons to address. I personally thought the
book is a record of "activities in the societies among the officials in
that time period" - But how high the degree of correctness of the
record could be a question.

Respecting "only the winner collects" table rule: Whether its a table
rule or the basis, it's hard to tell from just this small piece of
info. But for sure this is the basis of the HKOS games. This is also in
line with some ancient Chinese games (refer to "item (D)" at
http://www.imahjong.com/maiarchives205.html) that are believed where
"mahjong" was evolved from.

As to "the 'even non-winners can collect' rule did not yet exist at the
time." I would 100% agree to it - Very the same as the story describes
^_^

>
> > (4) According to player Wu's quote: Player Tian is going to lose LESS THAN
> > him because Tian is not the jonga ("east").

Ithinc wrote:
> Yes.

Tom Sloper wrote:
> Perhaps the payment rate is not one fu = one dollar. Maybe one fu = one half
> dollar. This would explain why East has to pay two hundred something
> dollars, not four hundred plus. I see that "ithinc" (who posted while I was
> writing this) agrees with this explanation.

Agreed.

> > F. My (Cofa's) comments:
> > (1) The calculation provided in the descriptions could apply to *any* form
> > of play in that time period (year 1903), be it "CC-like" or "HKOS-like".

Tom Sloper wrote:
> I don't see how HKOS-like scoring can be seen here. Using Amy Lo's HKOS
> ("Cantonese") scoring for this hand (note: winner is South; round must be
> either East or West):

Terms like HKOS, CC, Cantonese etc., are terms in the mid- or
late-1900s. People nowadays attempt to try to put their "modern terms"
to fit back in the history. We don't have an established way for the
attempt like this. In my comments above, 'be it "CC-like" or
"HKOS-like"' can be changed to '"any variants" at all'.

> Red pung (exposed) = 1 fan
> Wind pung (not seat wind, not round wind, concealed) = 0 fan
> Simple pung (concealed? exposed?) = 0 fan
> Clean hand (won yat sik) = 3 fan
> 1-way call (a newer, non-"Old Style" optional rule, says Lo) = 1 fan if
> allowed (and of course if 7C is concealed)
>
> Total = 4 or 5 fan
>
> Then house rules apply as to whether only the discarder shall pay or
> discarder pays double what the others pay, and how 4 fan is to be converted
> into a dollar amount.
>
> This way of scoring is totally different from that used in the article, and
> in the rules that were described (I mustn't use the word "documented") in
> the 1920s.

I know the modern HKOS calculations, and the difference with what the
article describes. Since games in 1903 could have diverged and evolved
in the uncontrolled manners (no rule manuals, no proper documentation
to learn from), I would change my original comments to "The calculation


provided in the descriptions could apply to *any* form of play in that

time period (year 1903), 'any variants' at all."

I have said:
>>use of the terminology in World Unified Mahjong Terminology ("WUMT")
>>is recommended ^_^

Tom Sloper wrote:
> I disagree. For this reason, in scoring the example hand under HKOS rules
> below, I referred to Amy Lo's book (commonly available and easier for most
> people to read).

No problem! This group has the freedom for everyone. For those who wish
to learn how to get Amy Lo's book may refer to Tom's FAQs. For any
updates on World Unified Mahjong Terminology ("WUMT") please visit
http://www.imahjong.com/maiarchives209.html

----------------
Cofa Tsui
www.iMahjong.com

cymb...@free.fr

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Dec 10, 2006, 11:49:45 AM12/10/06
to
Great job, boys!

And thank you for translating this wonderful piece for us.

Cofa Tsui wrote:
>(perhaps Thierry could provide a better translated version from the book
>"Officialdom unmasked" by T.L. Yang)

There is unfortunately no access to Chapter 31 in the Google Book
Search version of "Officialdom unmasked" as translated by T.L. Yang.
I don't have this book, and there is only one copy in a Paris
University library I don't have access to. The central "Oriental
languages" library (BIULO) doesn't have it. (I have suggested them to
order a copy, which I hope they will do.)
I was tempted to buy the book, which is still in print, but its price
is over GBP30 (some EUR45, or USD60!) and I find it really too
expensive.

>C. Calculation of payment - as per the descriptions:
>RRR = 4 fu ("Fu" can be translated as "set" in English. I don't understand
>why "fu" is used here. And remember, the book is not written in modern
>Chinese writing.)

>NNN (concealed) = 8 fu
>W777 = 4 fu
>W8 fishing = Nil
>Win = 10 fu
>TOTAL = 26 fu
>1 double = 52
>2 double = 104
>Wan suit only 3 double = 208

<skip>


>E. Difference comparing to Millington's rules:
> (1) No points for fishing in this game.

> (2) According to Millington's, the jonga ("east") shall pay double the
>hand's score, or $416 in this game. But the descriptions specifically stated
>that he is going to lose "two hundred something dollars."

> (3) There doesn't seem to have "settlement between the losing players",
>given the act of Wu in item D(2).

> (4) According to player Wu's quote: Player Tian is going to lose LESS THAN
>him because Tian is not the jonga ("east").

This scoring system seems pretty consistent with that described in
Mauger (George E. Mauger, "Quelques considérations sur les jeux en
Chine et leur développement synchronique avec celui de l'empire
chinois", in Bulletins et Mémoires de la société d'Anthropologie de
Paris, 1915). In Mauger's description, similarly *East has no special
privilege*. It is only when he has three or four East "winds" that his
score is doubled (on winning).

Also, Mauger says that 3 similar dragons are rewarded 8 pts when
concealed, 4 pts otherwise; 3 own player's winds is also 8 pts when
concealed, 4 pts otherwise. Winning the game is granted 10 pts. Fishing
(claiming a discarded tile) is not scored. Final scores may indeed be
doubled, and doubled again according to certain combinations.
The only difference is that there is nothing for a simple triplet, eg.
W777. Only triplets of aces and nines are scored.

So it seems that Mauger described rules that were used some ten years
ago, which is not surprising since Mauger got his information from
Chinese friends (perhaps from Hankou), who were probably living in
Paris at that time and who must have come before the beginning of WWI,
i.e. before 1914.

Tom Sloper wrote:
> I have often read English stories that take place in a mahjong game, in
> which facts about the game are misrepresented. Do we know that the
> author was someone known to be expert about the game?

Most Chinese literati of the time were good mahjong players.
It seems Li Boyuan was no exception. It would be very tricky to assume
otherwise.

>>(3) There doesn't seem to have "settlement between the losing players",
>>given the act of Wu in item D(2).

>Either the author merely omitted this, or it's only a fiction anyway (thus


>he didn't need to describe extraneous details), or the players used an "only
>the winner collects" table rule, or the "even non-winners can collect" rule
>did not yet exist at the time.

It is interesting to note that Mauger does not say a word about it too.


Cheers,
Thierry

Tom Sloper

unread,
Dec 10, 2006, 12:22:27 PM12/10/06
to
Thierry wrote:

>This scoring system seems pretty consistent with that described in

>Mauger (George E. Mauger, "Quelques consid¨¦rations sur les jeux en
>Chine et leur d¨¦veloppement synchronique avec celui de l'empire
>chinois", in Bulletins et M¨¦moires de la soci¨¦t¨¦ d'Anthropologie de
>Paris, 1915). ...


>
>So it seems that Mauger described rules that were used some ten years
>ago, which is not surprising since Mauger got his information from
>Chinese friends (perhaps from Hankou), who were probably living in
>Paris at that time and who must have come before the beginning of WWI,
>i.e. before 1914.

Very interesting. Thanks, Thierry.

>Tom Sloper wrote:
>> Do we know that the
>> author was someone known to be expert about the game?
>
>Most Chinese literati of the time were good mahjong players.
>It seems Li Boyuan was no exception. It would be very tricky to assume
>otherwise.

OK, sounds good to me.

>>>(3) There doesn't seem to have "settlement between the losing players",
>>>given the act of Wu in item D(2).
>
>>Either the author merely omitted this, or it's only a fiction anyway (thus
>>he didn't need to describe extraneous details), or the players used an
>>"only
>>the winner collects" table rule, or the "even non-winners can collect"
>>rule
>>did not yet exist at the time.
>
>It is interesting to note that Mauger does not say a word about it too.

Then we can reasonably conclude that settlement between non-winners most
likely did not yet exist in the game as it was played in 1903-1915.

These rules as described by George Mauger and Li Boyuan are very similar to
CC (in that scoring begins with basic points, then doubling) but with
certain features not yet adopted as part of the overall rule set. I suppose
this rule set deserves its own "genus" place in the "taxonomy" of the game.
Seems reasonable to dub this variant "pre-classical"...?

Cheers,
Tom


msta...@aol.com

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Dec 10, 2006, 3:08:59 PM12/10/06
to

cymb...@free.fr wrote:
> And thank you for translating this wonderful piece for us.

And from me also.

> Cofa Tsui wrote:
> >(perhaps Thierry could provide a better translated version from the book
> >"Officialdom unmasked" by T.L. Yang)

> I was tempted to buy the book, which is still in print, but its price


> is over GBP30 (some EUR45, or USD60!) and I find it really too
> expensive.

I am going to try and get a copy. I'll post a message when I do so if
anyone wants wants to know specific info then I'll take requests.

Cofa wrote;
[snip]


"Red Dragon" is called "zhong feng" ("centre wind") in the
descriptions.

[snip]

I am a little confused here (pretty tired as well, so forgive my
obtuseness). Is there a triplet group listed as 'zhong', 'fa' and
'bai'? Are 'fa' and 'bai' described anywhere?

I presume 'zhong feng' is called 'red dragon' for convenience?

> Tom Sloper wrote:
> > I have often read English stories that take place in a mahjong game, in
> > which facts about the game are misrepresented. Do we know that the
> > author was someone known to be expert about the game?

> Most Chinese literati of the time were good mahjong players.
> It seems Li Boyuan was no exception. It would be very tricky to assume
> otherwise.

Thierry. Can you refresh my (at this time poor) memory as to the
evidence that tells us that most Chinese literati of the time were good
mahjong players?

What information tells you that Li Boyuan was no exception?

I have to admit that this new information from 1903 is very very good
news indeed. Especially in view of the contribution from Mauger's
'Hankou' friends some ten years later.

Cheers
Michael

Cofa Tsui

unread,
Dec 11, 2006, 3:14:35 AM12/11/06
to
"Tom Sloper" <tsl...@DONTsloperamaSPAMME.com> wrote in message
news:msudnT7O3MEC3-HY...@giganews.com...

[...]

> Then we can reasonably conclude that settlement between non-winners most
> likely did not yet exist in the game as it was played in 1903-1915.

OK.

> These rules as described by George Mauger and Li Boyuan are very similar
> to CC (in that scoring begins with basic points, then doubling) but with
> certain features not yet adopted as part of the overall rule set. I
> suppose this rule set deserves its own "genus" place in the "taxonomy" of
> the game. Seems reasonable to dub this variant "pre-classical"...?

Perhaps instead, we should say: CC is very similar to these rules as
described by George Mauger and Li Boyuan (in that scoring begins with basic
points, then doubling).

And we can also say: The basis of HKOS is the same as those rules as
described by George Mauger and Li Boyuan (in that there is no settlement
between the non-winning players).

And perhaps it is too early at this point to predefine the "taxonomy" tree
of mahjong and a more appropriate name for this game should be called "the
1903 ma que."

--
Cofa Tsui
www.iMahjong.com


Cofa Tsui

unread,
Dec 11, 2006, 3:40:36 AM12/11/06
to
<msta...@aol.com> wrote in message
news:1165781339.6...@73g2000cwn.googlegroups.com...

>
> cymb...@free.fr wrote:
>> And thank you for translating this wonderful piece for us.
>
> And from me also.

Thierry first brought up the topic "Officialdom unmasked"; then Ithinc
provided the article in Chinese - So thanks should be to everyone.

> Cofa wrote;
> [snip]
> "Red Dragon" is called "zhong feng" ("centre wind") in the
> descriptions.
> [snip]
>
> I am a little confused here (pretty tired as well, so forgive my
> obtuseness). Is there a triplet group listed as 'zhong', 'fa' and
> 'bai'? Are 'fa' and 'bai' described anywhere?

In this small paragraph only "zhong feng" (centre wind) and "bai ban" (white
board) are mentioned. And "zhong feng" and "bai ban" are the Chinese terms
used. No "fa" is found. This paragraph illustrates only a small portion of a
game (or "hand") but in very details I've ever seen (among the earliest
available literature).

>
> I presume 'zhong feng' is called 'red dragon' for convenience?

Here in this discussion, yes.

>
> Thierry. Can you refresh my (at this time poor) memory as to the
> evidence that tells us that most Chinese literati of the time were good
> mahjong players?
>
> What information tells you that Li Boyuan was no exception?

From the way the game is being described in this paragraph, I can tell Li is
qualified to tell the game in its trufullness.

--
Cofa Tsui
www.iMahjong.com


msta...@aol.com

unread,
Dec 11, 2006, 8:45:26 AM12/11/06
to
Cofa Tsui wrote:
> <msta...@aol.com> wrote in message
> news:1165781339.6...@73g2000cwn.googlegroups.com...
> > cymb...@free.fr wrote:
> >> And thank you for translating this wonderful piece for us.
> >
> > And from me also.
>
> Thierry first brought up the topic "Officialdom unmasked"; then Ithinc
> provided the article in Chinese - So thanks should be to everyone.

Hello Cofa. I snipped the 'well done boys' bit which I presumed applied
to everyone. But I thought the translators should be singled out for
extra praise! ^_^

> > Cofa wrote;
> > [snip]
> > "Red Dragon" is called "zhong feng" ("centre wind") in the
> > descriptions.
> > [snip]
> >
> > I am a little confused here (pretty tired as well, so forgive my
> > obtuseness). Is there a triplet group listed as 'zhong', 'fa' and
> > 'bai'? Are 'fa' and 'bai' described anywhere?
>
> In this small paragraph only "zhong feng" (centre wind) and "bai ban" (white
> board) are mentioned. And "zhong feng" and "bai ban" are the Chinese terms
> used. No "fa" is found. This paragraph illustrates only a small portion of a
> game (or "hand") but in very details I've ever seen (among the earliest
> available literature).

The mere fact that the 'zhong' tile is included in the 'Directions' or
'Winds' has made my jaw drop. By the way, is the group called 'winds'
or 'directions'? I know 'feng' is mentioned but i was not sure if this
is the translators interpretation of what it should be or is the actual
sinogram for 'feng' actually in the book's text?

> > I presume 'zhong feng' is called 'red dragon' for convenience?
>
> Here in this discussion, yes.

Thanks.

> > Thierry. Can you refresh my (at this time poor) memory as to the
> > evidence that tells us that most Chinese literati of the time were good
> > mahjong players?
> >
> > What information tells you that Li Boyuan was no exception?
>
> From the way the game is being described in this paragraph, I can tell Li is
> qualified to tell the game in its trufullness.

I am sure Li is being very accurate Cofa. That was not the reason for
my question.

Now, I am not sure what you mean by 'tell the game'. Do you mean
'describe' the game? If so, what is it about his description that tells
you he was a *good mahjong player*?

I am just interested to get your views on the type of pewrson he was in
relation to ma que and the reasons why you think so. If i came to write
up about this individual I could then cite your views etc.

Cheers
Michael

cymb...@free.fr

unread,
Dec 11, 2006, 9:50:20 AM12/11/06
to
Tom Sloper wrote:

> These rules as described by George Mauger and Li Boyuan are very similar to
> CC (in that scoring begins with basic points, then doubling) but with
> certain features not yet adopted as part of the overall rule set. I suppose
> this rule set deserves its own "genus" place in the "taxonomy" of the game.

> Seems reasonable to dub this variant "pre-classical"...?

"Pre-classical"? Or should it be called "Real Chinese Classical"? :-))

It's a question of perspective.
We call "Chinese Classical" a set of rules of the 1920s for which we
only have books that were written for Westeners (including a few
manuals written by Chinese authors in China, in French, German or
English). In his 1977 book Millington offered a good survey of these
rules which were then presented as the "authentic" Chinese rules.
(While two years later, Perlmen and Kai-Chi Chan, living in Hong Kong,
described the modern (aka HKOS) rules as "old" in their book "The
Chinese game of Mahjong").

In a post to the "A Millington critique (fairly long)" thread dated 9
Dec 2006,
Cofa Tsui wrote:
>And I certainly believe the "CC-like" form (or whatever name you prefer)
>does not deserve the highest level of the family tree/chart at this point in
>time.

I fully agree. From a Chinese point of view CC appears now, from what
we have recently dug out, as a side-branch of the tree. The illusion
comes from the wealth of manuals we have, opposed to the scarce Chinese
information. And what a pity Cornell University Library has lost its
only copy of Shen Yifan's "Huitu maquepai pu" (Shanghai, 1914)! (BTW
there is another copy in the Mahjong Museum at Chiba, awaiting
translation or summary...)

Now let's turn to interesting comparisons.

If the main features of the "Chinese Classical" set of rules may be
summed up as:
- East pays and receives double;
- there are ALSO settlement of scores between losers;
- a distinction in scoring is made between "exposed" and "concealed"
sets;
- winner gets 10 pts for going out; basic sets are rewarded by point
scoring;
- one first calculates the base points, then doubles appropriately;
- there is no reward for the way the winner goes out (self-drawn, or
"robbing" / "fishing");
- there are many bonus points for special hands (tile combinations);

those of "Hong Kong Old Style" as:
- East has no particular privilege;
- only the winner is paid: there are NO settlement of scores between
losers;
- "open" and "concealed" are irrelevant;
- base points are ignored; one merely counts the doubles;
- doubles, or 'fan', no longer multiply scores linearly, but in a way
that is regulated by a settling table;
- the way the winner goes out (self-drawn, or "robbing" / "fishing") is
rewarded;
- there are very few bonus points for special hands;

and those of the pre-1914 Li Boyuan/Mauger rules as:
- East has no particular privilege;
- only the winner is paid: there are NO settlement of scores between
losers;
- a distinction in scoring is made between "exposed" and "concealed"
sets;
- winner gets 10 pts; basic sets are rewarded by point scoring;
- one first calculates the base points, then doubles appropriately;
- going out self-draw is rewarded (Mauger: "Quand on ne peut tirer
qu'une carte pour terminer elle s'appelle le "reste" et vaut deux
points." = When one can draw but one "card" for going out, it is called
"the rest" and is worth 2 points.); but there is no reward for
"robbing" / "fishing";
- no bonus points for special hands (at least Li Boyuan and Mauger say
nothing);

we can see that, judging from the first two features - which have been
claimed as decisive - the Li Boyuan/Mauger rules are closer to HKOS
than to CC... In all case Li Boyuan/Mauger appears as a "mix" of both.
Since Li Boyuan/Mauger is earlier we could say it is CC which appears
as a "mix" or a "variation" from a central trunk whose base could be
the Li Boyuan/Mauger rules and HKOS a linear evolution, while CC could
well be a side-branch.

The early Japanese rules ("Japanese Classical"), assumed to represent a
Chinese original of around 1920, are still closer to the pre-1914 Li
Boyuan/Mauger rules:
- East has no particular privilege;
- only the winner is paid: there are NO settlement of scores between
losers;
- a distinction in scoring is made between "exposed" and "concealed"
sets;
- winner gets 20 pts; basic sets are rewarded by point scoring;
- one first calculates the base points, then doubles appropriately;
- the way the winner goes out is rewarded
- there are bonus points for special hands (tile combinations).
thus making 5 features out of 7 that are identical.

So an over-critical observer could claim the CC rules are neither
Chinese nor Classical...

However, I do think the CC variant is Chinese, but I tend to think it
is not so "Classical": at the same time we have evidence of other sets
of rules.

Even Babcock knew of them. Here is what he writes in "Babcock's rules
for Mah-Jongg : the red book of rules. Second edition" (San Franciso,
1923), pp. 78-9:

<<New Method: In the New Method which is fast finding favor in certain
Chinese communities, East does not pay out nor receive double stakes.
The player who discards the tile which allows another player to
complete his hand, pays the winner double stakes. No double stakes are
paid between any of the three losers. If the winner draws the winning
tile from the wall, he receives double stakes from each of the three
other players.
In the New Method a player is not liable for the insurance penalty, if
he holds any Waiting hand at the time he discards the winning tile.
The New Method of play has a great deal of merit, and is favored by
more advanced players, as it puts more of a premium on skill and a
penalty on carelessness or lack of foresight in discarding. However,
this method is not recommended for beginners.>>

At the same time the Chinese scholar Tchou Kia-Kien, writing in French
(Le jeu de mah-jong tel qu'il est joué par les Chinois, Paris,
1924), pp. 34-6, writes (my translation):

<<Of the two methods for determining the application of scoring
multiples ["coefficients"] in payments.
The old method ["L'ancien mode"] consists in taking the 'elder' (East
wind) as a landmark. When he wins, all losers pay him basing themselves
on the highest multiple; when he loses, he accordingly pays the sole
winner.
The new method ["Le nouveau mode"] wants the winner to be considered as
a landmark, but with a further complication: that of knowing how he has
completed his hand. If the winner goes out with a self-drawn piece, all
losers pay him according to the highest multiple; otherwise, the loser
who has offered him the last piece pays him alone according to this
multiple. As for the other losers they pay him according to the lowest
multiple only. Payments between losers are always stated according to
the lowest multiple and with a point scoring compensation.
It is to be remarked that the new method is fairer in a sense that an
unskilled or unwise player must pay double. It is why the Chinese
players have adopted it.>>

So it seems that by 1924 the "old method" was simpler than CC and had
no payments between losers while this was an innovation of the "new
method"... Tchou's New Method sounds very much like... Japanese
Classical!
The new method is also one of the earliest evidence of the typical HKOS
system rewarding the way the winner goes out.

Thus the situation in the 1920s was not of a Chinese "standard"
gameplay which CC would reflect but of more confusion, with old rules
looking lile HKOS, new ones being closer to Japanese rules...

Cheers,
Thierry

J. R. Fitch

unread,
Dec 11, 2006, 7:13:49 PM12/11/06
to
"cymb...@free.fr" wrote:
> Perlmen and Kai-Chi Chan, living in Hong Kong,
> described the modern (aka HKOS) rules as "old" in their book "The
> Chinese game of Mahjong").

For those who do not have a copy of Perlmen & Chan's "The Chinese Game
of Mahjong", I just want to make the aside that in Hong Kong in 1979
some players were already experimenting with the pattern-based scoring
systems that finally culminated in COMJ. In their ending chapter, P & C
give a short overview of one such "new style" system of that time.
Although Cantonese/Hong Kong mahjong had long been the current style of
play, they foresaw the possibility that a pattern-based system might
become a standard someday, so they coined the term "Hong Kong Old
Style".

--
J. R. Fitch
Nine Dragons Software
San Francisco, CA USA
http://www.ninedragons.com

Cofa Tsui

unread,
Dec 11, 2006, 10:07:49 PM12/11/06
to
<msta...@aol.com> wrote in message
news:1165844726.2...@j72g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...

>
> The mere fact that the 'zhong' tile is included in the 'Directions' or
> 'Winds' has made my jaw drop. By the way, is the group called 'winds'
> or 'directions'? I know 'feng' is mentioned but i was not sure if this
> is the translators interpretation of what it should be or is the actual
> sinogram for 'feng' actually in the book's text?

In this small paragraph, the Chinese writing is really "zhong feng" (centre
wind). Personally, I used to consider East South West North as *directions*,
not "winds". It is from my understanding of the language. Now since you see
"zhong feng" is used in the article, I certainly understand why you are
surprised. I however have no clue as to why "feng" is used here. (Both
"zhong feng" and "bei feng" were used. The Chinese writing can be viewed at
http://www.imahjong.com/maiarchives205d.html)

>>


>> From the way the game is being described in this paragraph, I can tell Li
>> is
>> qualified to tell the game in its trufullness.
>
> I am sure Li is being very accurate Cofa. That was not the reason for
> my question.
>
> Now, I am not sure what you mean by 'tell the game'. Do you mean
> 'describe' the game? If so, what is it about his description that tells
> you he was a *good mahjong player*?

I did not say that - Those are Thierry's words ^_^

I said "from the way the game is being described in this paragraph, I can
tell Li is qualified to tell [= describe] the game in its trufullness." You
know, when you know a game well and when you read an article about the game,
you know how good the knowledge the author has about the game.

--
Cofa Tsui
www.iMahjong.com


Tom Sloper

unread,
Dec 11, 2006, 10:23:48 PM12/11/06
to
Thierry wrote:

>If the main features of the "Chinese Classical" set of rules may be

>summed up as: [snip]
>
>those of "Hong Kong Old Style" as: [snip]
>
>and those of the pre-1914 Li Boyuan/Mauger rules as: [snip]

I was finding it difficult to read and compare these when listed linearly as
necessitated by the Usenet format, so I made an Excel spreadsheet out of it.
Furthermore, I added an 8th feature which I see as significant (whether the
discarder is penalized or not).

That resulting chart would be difficult to show here on Usenet (one's news
reader would need to display it in a uniform-size font such as Courier), so
I've put it online at http://www.sloperama.com/mahjongg/analysis.html

>we can see that, judging from the first two features - which have been
>claimed as decisive

I don't follow. To me, the most essential features of CC (which
differentiate that form from every other form except Western, a much later
variant of uncertain origin) are features 4 and 5 in Thierry's list:
- (4) the winner gets 10 (or 20) points, plus points for sets of similar
tiles
- (5) then first calculates base points, followed by doubling appropriately.
Without these 2 features (which could simply be called one feature, IMO) the
variant is no longer CC. The first 2 features listed by Thierry were "East
pays/gets double" (or not), and "only winner is paid" (or everyone scores).
Those, IMO, are "optional" features - one could play CC with or without
those features, and still be playing a form of CC.

Accordingly, I have reorganized the features, making Thierry's features 4
and 5 my features 1 and 2. And I have also "weighted" those features
(assigning each of them 2 points rather than 1).

>- the Li Boyuan/Mauger rules are closer to HKOS
>than to CC...

I don't think so, especially if one agrees with me that my features 1 and 2
are essential to the character of 1920s CC.

For the purposes of this discussion and the spreadsheet, I call the Li
Boyuan/Mauger rules "pre-1920s," I call the well-documented 1920s rules
"1920s standard (CC)" and I call the "New Method" mentioned by Babcock and
Tchou Kia-Kien "1920s 'New Method.'"

I find it most interesting that Babcock and Tchou Kia-Kien both discuss a
method they call "new," yet it is nearly identical to the method that was
described prior to the 1920s.
- Millington, in his chapter 7, mentions that the game was played more
strictly "classically" in Canton (Guangdong) and the south (that includes
Hong Kong) than it was played in Shanghai and the north.
- So it may be that Babcock and Tchou Kia-Kien were only writing about a
variant that was played concurrently, but regionally (could it be Millington
was right?).

Thierry wrote:

>However, I do think the CC variant is Chinese, but I tend to think it
>is not so "Classical": at the same time we have evidence of other sets
>of rules.

So it appears.

As a parallel that occurred within the past year, astronomers collected more
and more knowledge about the bodies of our solar system. They eventually
concluded that it was necessary to decide and agree on whether or not Pluto
should be classified as a planet.
- Similarly, we may need to reclassify what we call certain mahjong
variants.
- But note, the astronomers had to create a taxonomy for the solar system.
We would need to do the same for mahjong variants.

>Thus the situation in the 1920s was not of a Chinese "standard"
>gameplay which CC would reflect but of more confusion, with old rules
>looking lile HKOS, new ones being closer to Japanese rules...

I'm not so sure. Please take a look at the Excel chart I posted at
http://www.sloperama.com/mahjongg/analysis.html - I welcome feedback so we
can try to sort this out. I probably need to change the feature names, so
that one can add numbers in each column to arrive at a score of CC-likeness
versus HKOS-likeness.

Cheers,
Tom


Cofa Tsui

unread,
Dec 12, 2006, 1:41:29 AM12/12/06
to
"Tom Sloper" <tsl...@DONTsloperamaSPAMME.com> wrote in message
news:WYadnZkxvMnGvOPY...@giganews.com...

>
> I don't follow. To me, the most essential features of CC (which
> differentiate that form from every other form except Western, a much later
> variant of uncertain origin) are features 4 and 5 in Thierry's list:
> - (4) the winner gets 10 (or 20) points, plus points for sets of similar
> tiles
> - (5) then first calculates base points, followed by doubling
> appropriately.
> Without these 2 features (which could simply be called one feature, IMO)
> the variant is no longer CC. The first 2 features listed by Thierry were
> "East pays/gets double" (or not), and "only winner is paid" (or everyone
> scores). Those, IMO, are "optional" features - one could play CC with or
> without those features, and still be playing a form of CC.

Tom, before we go further to deal with the chart (comparisions table), I
would suggest you review what you have held in the past (unless you have
changed, which I do not recall):

Your "Rebuttal to arguments against the CC Theory"
(http://www.sloperama.com/cctheory/cctheory.htm), item D.3:

"D.3. The most important differences between HKOS and CC are the way players
settle the scores when a player wins a Game...

Agreed. In fact, this significant point adds considerable weight to our
arguments in favor of the theory, as referenced several times in this
debate. "

In the newsgroup archives on my website
(http://www.imahjong.com/maiarchives205c.html), message 23 (by Alan Kwan,
Dec 16, 2000):

"By "Chinese Classical" I do not mean the precise form described by
Millington. I mean collectively any version which has these important
features:

1. Triplet-points, with 2 points for minor exposed triplet, 4 points
for minor concealed triplet, etc.

2. Settlement between losers. East pays and receives double. The
discarder is usually immaterial. Minimal bonus (2 points) for
self-draw except perhaps for Totally Concealed hands.

3. Low faan or no faan (point value only) for most patterns (except
for limit patterns). 1 faan for Mixed One-Suit instead of 2 or 3
faan. Simple limit system (when a limit is used at all).

Millington's version is a refined Chinese Classical version. I
maintain that HKOS has been developed from some original version which
had these features (thus I would call 'Chinese Classical')."

Obviously, the "must have" CC components ARE the follow two:


- there are ALSO settlement of scores between losers;

- east pays and receives double;

I have changed Thierry's order a little bit (as above), to reflect what you
have agreed before.

In my opinion, whether a component is defined as "significant" or "a must",
shall depend on whether it will change the fundamental game play of the
form. For example, in your proposed list of 8 items, all but the above
specified two, when applying to a different form, will not change the
fundamental game play of that form. So I support that the above specified
two components ARE essential to distinguish whether a form can be called
CC - Besides, this also has your prior agreement, is it true?

--
Cofa Tsui
www.iMahjong.com


Tom Sloper

unread,
Dec 12, 2006, 2:15:50 AM12/12/06
to
Cofa wrote:
> In the newsgroup archives on my website
> (http://www.imahjong.com/maiarchives205c.html), message 23 (by Alan Kwan,
> Dec 16, 2000): [snip]

>
> Obviously, the "must have" CC components ARE the follow two:
> - there are ALSO settlement of scores between losers;
> - east pays and receives double;

That's not obvious to me, especially the second. The first (settlement
between non-winners) is most definitely a biggie - but (for the sake of
comparing CC to HKOS) not as significant a differentiating factor as "count
points, then double" versus "count fan, then see chart."

> In my opinion, whether a component is defined as "significant" or "a
> must", shall depend on whether it will change the fundamental game play of
> the form. For example, in your proposed list of 8 items, all but the above
> specified two, when applying to a different form, will not change the
> fundamental game play of that form.

If a table is playing "count points first, then double," but does not settle
between non-winners, that could rightly be called a simplified form of CC. I
would have to place settlement between non-winners in third place behind
"count points first, then double." Accordingly, I've re-ordered the features
in the chart.

I have also re-written the features to permit entering a "yes" value
(weighted for more important features by making a "yes" greater than 1) for
each feature of CC. This way, all blank cells indicate "HKOS-likeness,"
while populated cells indicate "CC-likeness."

The weight values are still subject to discussion, of course.
Tom


Cofa Tsui

unread,
Dec 12, 2006, 3:07:34 AM12/12/06
to
"Tom Sloper" <tsl...@DONTsloperamaSPAMME.com> wrote in message
news:HqSdnUQMHpCaxOPY...@giganews.com...

> Cofa wrote:
>> In the newsgroup archives on my website
>> (http://www.imahjong.com/maiarchives205c.html), message 23 (by Alan Kwan,
>> Dec 16, 2000): [snip]
>>
>> Obviously, the "must have" CC components ARE the follow two:
>> - there are ALSO settlement of scores between losers;
>> - east pays and receives double;
>
> That's not obvious to me, especially the second. The first (settlement
> between non-winners) is most definitely a biggie - but (for the sake of
> comparing CC to HKOS) not as significant a differentiating factor as
> "count points, then double" versus "count fan, then see chart."

I said "obvious" because this also has your previous agreement ("the most

important differences between HKOS and CC are the way players settle the

scores when a player wins a Game"). I guess you are now also going to change
what you have agreed upon before, right?

>
>> In my opinion, whether a component is defined as "significant" or "a
>> must", shall depend on whether it will change the fundamental game play
>> of the form. For example, in your proposed list of 8 items, all but the
>> above specified two, when applying to a different form, will not change
>> the fundamental game play of that form.
>
> If a table is playing "count points first, then double," but does not
> settle between non-winners, that could rightly be called a simplified form
> of CC. I would have to place settlement between non-winners in third place
> behind "count points first, then double." Accordingly, I've re-ordered the
> features in the chart.

No! If a table is playing "count points first, then double," but does not
settle between non-winners, that would be the "1903 ma que" form, as
recorded by Li Boyuan. What you called "CC" is a form that is seen popular
almost 20 years later!

--
Cofa Tsui
www.iMahjong.com


Edwin Phua

unread,
Dec 12, 2006, 4:19:12 AM12/12/06
to
Tom Sloper wrote:
> I don't follow. To me, the most essential features of CC (which
> differentiate that form from every other form except Western, a much later
> variant of uncertain origin) are features 4 and 5 in Thierry's list:
> - (4) the winner gets 10 (or 20) points, plus points for sets of similar
> tiles
> - (5) then first calculates base points, followed by doubling appropriately.
> Without these 2 features (which could simply be called one feature, IMO) the
> variant is no longer CC. The first 2 features listed by Thierry were "East
> pays/gets double" (or not), and "only winner is paid" (or everyone scores).
> Those, IMO, are "optional" features - one could play CC with or without
> those features, and still be playing a form of CC.
>
> Accordingly, I have reorganized the features, making Thierry's features 4
> and 5 my features 1 and 2. And I have also "weighted" those features
> (assigning each of them 2 points rather than 1).

I play Singapore rules, which is highly similar to HKOS (I think). As I
read up about "Western" rules (CC and similar), the things that strike
me most as different is the settlement between losing players, as well
as the fact that East pays/gets double.

Why is this so? All right, in most Asian countries, mahjong is a form
of gambling, so there are stakes involved. Hence, there is a minimum
stake (say 1 dollar) which forms the base points for doubling. In this
case, the stake can be viewed as base points, although pungs and kongs
are not special in thise case. Singapore mahjong does not exactly
follow the faan/laak system of HKOS but sets a limit (usually 5 or 6
doubles) for reasonable gambling.

There is a special hand that deserves some notice. This is the pinghu
(pinfu, ping woo), where it is an all-chow hand worth one double (four
if no flowers or animals present), but this hand must be won without a
unique wait and the pair of eyes cannot be of any dragon, prevailing or
seat wind. In this case, I can see that there is some evidence of
(now-absent) base-point counting, where the pair of eyes cannot be
worth any points in order to score one double for this hand. In
addition, to win, there cannot be any unique wait as well, which is
also worth some base points, I believe.

Hence, the base counting is not particularly special in CC, in my
opinion.

However, having settlement between losing players and East paying or
getting double changes the strategy of play. For example, when I was
reading David Pritchard's Teach Yourself Mahjong, his pointers on
strategy often involves play decisions against East, for example,
preventing him from getting extra chances to draw, in order to avoid
losing more points. This is vastly different from HKOS (and Singapore
mahjong, and I am sure, most other Asian varieties). Hence, this has to
be an important and defining characteristic of CC.

Secondly, when there is settlement between losing players, where a
losing player can actually stand to win more points than the winning
player, the dynamics of the game is changed as well. Players can try
for more difficult hands (pungs of winds/dragons, concealed pungs)
which can earn them points even if they do not win. In contrast,
players in Singapore typically go for fast winning hands like all chows
(though they may be low scoring), because they are easier to complete.
Pungs are not worth anything anyway.

All that said, I personally believe that both CC-related and
HKOS-related variants are not derived from one or the other, but indeed
from some earlier form (perhaps similar to that of the 1903 maquepai),
with each group of variants losing some or gaining some features that
ultimately result in fairly different groups.

Cheers!
Edwin Phua
Singapore

cymb...@free.fr

unread,
Dec 12, 2006, 5:35:04 AM12/12/06
to
Tom Sloper wrote:

> I was finding it difficult to read and compare these when listed linearly as
> necessitated by the Usenet format, so I made an Excel spreadsheet out of it.
> Furthermore, I added an 8th feature which I see as significant (whether the
> discarder is penalized or not).

No objection!
Indeed it gives a clearer view for comparison.

> I don't follow. To me, the most essential features of CC (which
> differentiate that form from every other form except Western, a much later
> variant of uncertain origin) are features 4 and 5 in Thierry's list:
> - (4) the winner gets 10 (or 20) points, plus points for sets of similar
> tiles
> - (5) then first calculates base points, followed by doubling appropriately.

You've changed your mind, Tom!
I still think features 1 and 2 are the most relevant (and see Edwin
Phua's interesting post.

Anyway at this stage it is very difficult to "weigh" features as you
did.
I suggest we drop any "weighing", and fill in the cells with simple
YES/NO marks, preferrably using a colour background, like YES-blue,
NO-red or whatever you like.

I think it will give us something we can further discuss.

Ah, and please fill the cells for HKOS too.

> For the purposes of this discussion and the spreadsheet, I call the Li
> Boyuan/Mauger rules "pre-1920s," I call the well-documented 1920s rules
> "1920s standard (CC)" and I call the "New Method" mentioned by Babcock and
> Tchou Kia-Kien "1920s 'New Method.'"

Agreed.

> - Millington, in his chapter 7, mentions that the game was played more
> strictly "classically" in Canton (Guangdong) and the south (that includes
> Hong Kong) than it was played in Shanghai and the north.
> - So it may be that Babcock and Tchou Kia-Kien were only writing about a
> variant that was played concurrently, but regionally (could it be Millington
> was right?).

I don't trust Millington. As Julian Bradfield has revealed it to the
group, Millington does not seem to have gone beyond a few books. His
mentioning of other variants is very vague and confused, and I don't
think Canton played a great role in the development of mahjong.
PS: Canton is Guangzhou. (Guangdong is the name of the province.)

Greetings!
Thierry

msta...@aol.com

unread,
Dec 12, 2006, 6:14:29 AM12/12/06
to
Cofa Tsui wrote:
> In this small paragraph, the Chinese writing is really "zhong feng" (centre
> wind). Personally, I used to consider East South West North as *directions*,
> not "winds". It is from my understanding of the language. Now since you see
> "zhong feng" is used in the article, I certainly understand why you are
> surprised. I however have no clue as to why "feng" is used here. (Both
> "zhong feng" and "bei feng" were used. The Chinese writing can be viewed at
> http://www.imahjong.com/maiarchives205d.html)

Thanks for that extra comment Cofa, regarding 'bai feng'. This is even
more astounding for me, and very welcome additional data.

> I did not say that - Those are Thierry's words ^_^

Yes, I know. ^_^ I ran two questions together. The 1st was about what
you said and the second was that I wanted to know what it was in the
way he described the game that would lead you to think he was a good MJ
player. I was not suggesting you said he was a good MJ player. Sorry
for the confusion. I was interested to know your knowledgeable
opinions.

> I said "from the way the game is being described in this paragraph, I can
> tell Li is qualified to tell [= describe] the game in its trufullness." You
> know, when you know a game well and when you read an article about the game,
> you know how good the knowledge the author has about the game.

I would agree with your sentiment. I don't suppose you could tell me,
briefly, what quality(s) in his description would lead you to think he
was a good MJ player? (I presume you would agree that he was a good MJ
player? Or maybe you can't reach this conclusion?

Cheers
Michael

Tom Sloper

unread,
Dec 12, 2006, 11:24:50 AM12/12/06
to
Edwin wrote:
>
>I play Singapore rules, which is highly similar to HKOS (I think). As I
>read up about "Western" rules (CC and similar), the things that strike
>me most as different is the settlement between losing players, as well
>as the fact that East pays/gets double.

I can see the first as highly significant, more than the second.

>(pinfu, ping woo), where it is an all-chow hand worth one double (four
>if no flowers or animals present), but this hand must be won without a
>unique wait and the pair of eyes cannot be of any dragon, prevailing or
>seat wind. In this case, I can see that there is some evidence of
>(now-absent) base-point counting, where the pair of eyes cannot be
>worth any points in order to score one double for this hand.

Yes, this is clearly rooted in CC-style sets-scoring. The whole original
idea of this particular hand is that it should be a no-points hand, chows
being valueless (CC), a multiple wait being valueless (not CC), and certain
types of pairs being valueless (CC).

>However, having settlement between losing players and East paying or
>getting double changes the strategy of play.

Certainly. Every change in rules affects strategy. The key to making an
effective taxonomic system is to determine which rule differences are
essential to which genus.

>For example, when I was
>reading David Pritchard's Teach Yourself Mahjong, his pointers on
>strategy often involves play decisions against East, for example,
>preventing him from getting extra chances to draw, in order to avoid
>losing more points. This is vastly different from HKOS (and Singapore
>mahjong, and I am sure, most other Asian varieties). Hence, this has to
>be an important and defining characteristic of CC.

Pritchard doesn't describe CC. The variant he describes is the one I call
Western (perhaps a better name for the variant would be "British Empire").
That variant is the closest relative of CC, but no data has been found yet
which clearly shows when it branched off.

>Secondly, when there is settlement between losing players, where a
>losing player can actually stand to win more points than the winning
>player, the dynamics of the game is changed as well.

Yes, absolutely.

>All that said, I personally believe that both CC-related and
>HKOS-related variants are not derived from one or the other, but indeed
>from some earlier form (perhaps similar to that of the 1903 maquepai),
>with each group of variants losing some or gaining some features that
>ultimately result in fairly different groups.

It is indeed possible that this is so. Most certainly, though, CC did not
evolve from HKOS.

Cheers,
Tom


Tom Sloper

unread,
Dec 12, 2006, 12:33:34 PM12/12/06
to
Thierry wrote:

>You've changed your mind, Tom!

I hope I am allowed to do so. (^_^) It would be exceedingly stubborn to
stick to a point of view when the fog has lifted and/or the landscape has
changed. But what have I changed my mind from, exactly? Are you referring to
that silly old debate from years ago? Certainly I've had a lot of fog lift
and a lot of landscape change since then.

>I still think features 1 and 2 are the most relevant (and see Edwin
>Phua's interesting post.

1 much more so than 2. "Payment to all" is probably one of the main things
that eventually caused dissatisfaction with CC so that other variants could
grow in popularity. But "count base points, then double" and "base points
are 10 or 20 for winning, plus points for sets of identical tiles" are
essential differentiating features. I am not discounting the importance of
the pre-1920s rules in saying this, and I am not discounting the importance
of the so-called "1920s new method." Their discovery is extremely
significant, and I'm grateful for the information. But their using the same
*way of deriving score* (as opposed to a way of settling score) shows that
they are near relatives of 1920s standard CC.

>Anyway at this stage it is very difficult to "weigh" features as you
>did.

Difficulty of doing a thing is not a good reason not to do it.

>I suggest we drop any "weighing", and fill in the cells with simple
>YES/NO marks, preferrably using a colour background, like YES-blue,
>NO-red or whatever you like.

I did consider doing it that way. But then I would need to insist that we
delete less-important features from the chart, so we can be talking only
about those features which are essential to a variant. And we would have to
decide what those are.

In determining whether Pluto is a planet or not, the astronomer community
had to consider size, orbit, composition, etc. To determine whether animals
should be grouped in the same classification or not, the biologist community
had to consider reproductive type, skeletal structure, oxygen intake type...
so although a whale seems like it ought to be classified as a fish, it's
actually classified with mammals. Similarly, we need to determine a system
whereby we can properly classify mahjong variants, regardless of superficial
or seemingly obvious features.

Some ways of creating larger classes (genuses) of mahjong games would be:

- Way of deriving score
- Way of settling score
- Number of tiles held in the hand (13/14 versus 16/17, for instance)
- Number of tiles used in the game
- Pattern-based versus freeform
- Number of patterns or scoring elements

The main problem will be that some variants fall into multiple categories,
thus it's important to prioritize those. That's why weighting is important.

>I think it will give us something we can further discuss.

Yes, it won't be a quick process. But it's a necessary discussion in order
to move this issue forward.

>I don't trust Millington. As Julian Bradfield has revealed it to the
>group, Millington does not seem to have gone beyond a few books.

OK.

>His
>mentioning of other variants is very vague and confused,

Yes, agreed.

>and I don't
>think Canton played a great role in the development of mahjong.

The vast majority of 1920s data seems to have come from Shanghai, with a few
mentions (and even one author) from the South. But I thought that this new
discovery of an old "new method" similar to this new discovery of the
pre-1920s rules - coupled with the fact that we have gotten less information
from the South (and the already documented fact that they scored 10 points
for a win in the South) - may add a little credibility to that particular
part of what Millington said about southerners.

And not to sound like a broken record, but these new discoveries add even
more strength to the evidence against the existence of HKOS in the 1920s.
HKOS could well have had its roots in these newly discovered rule sets, but
it looks even more unlikely now that HKOS existed yet in that timeframe.

>PS: Canton is Guangzhou. (Guangdong is the name of the province.)

I'm aware - I've been to Guangzhou. The name Canton was used in the past to
refer to both the city and the province. See Wikipedia entry for Guangdong.

Cheers,
Tom


Cofa Tsui

unread,
Dec 13, 2006, 3:27:13 AM12/13/06
to
<msta...@aol.com> wrote in message
news:1165922069.0...@79g2000cws.googlegroups.com...

> Cofa Tsui wrote:
>> In this small paragraph, the Chinese writing is really "zhong feng"
>> (centre
>> wind). Personally, I used to consider East South West North as
>> *directions*,
>> not "winds". It is from my understanding of the language. Now since you
>> see
>> "zhong feng" is used in the article, I certainly understand why you are
>> surprised. I however have no clue as to why "feng" is used here. (Both
>> "zhong feng" and "bei feng" were used. The Chinese writing can be viewed
>> at
>> http://www.imahjong.com/maiarchives205d.html)
>
> Thanks for that extra comment Cofa, regarding 'bai feng'. This is even
> more astounding for me, and very welcome additional data.

Hi Michael, it's "bei feng" (North Wind), not "bai feng", in case you are
not aware.

[...]

>
>> I said "from the way the game is being described in this paragraph, I can
>> tell Li is qualified to tell [= describe] the game in its trufullness."
>> You
>> know, when you know a game well and when you read an article about the
>> game,
>> you know how good the knowledge the author has about the game.
>
> I would agree with your sentiment. I don't suppose you could tell me,
> briefly, what quality(s) in his description would lead you to think he
> was a good MJ player? (I presume you would agree that he was a good MJ
> player? Or maybe you can't reach this conclusion?

This is an appraiser's work! But I'll try ^_^

My impression is only from the context, the way Li described the game. This
type of situations, i.e., a short mahjong game in a social gathering, is
very common among the Chinese communities. Although I mean today's world,
the story of 1903 in this small paragraph is very similar. I think you have
to have at least some experience and knowledge to tell the real atmosphere.
Four players, plus a girl sitting besides one of them. The details the two
major players react and how the girl plays her role; how the game processes
and how the scoring is presented - These are all in a way that is brief but
precise. To me these all indicate that the writer is skilful of the game.

So I can conclude, based on the impression I have with this small paragraph,
Li is skilful in the game and is qualified to tell the game in its
ruefulness. (I try not to use the word "good" as this could also involve
one's behaviour or attitude, to this I have nothing to rely on to make a
comment.)

I hope this would help.

--
Cofa Tsui
www.iMahjong.com


cymb...@free.fr

unread,
Dec 13, 2006, 4:03:38 AM12/13/06
to
Hi all!

If this can help, and assuming the game as described in Li Boyuan more
or less follows the same rules of scoring as Mauger 1915, here is the
scoring chart that can be retrieved from Mauger:

"Mahjong" (base) 10 pts
quartet of "dragons" (concealed) 32 pts / (exposed) 16 pts
quartet of the player's winds (concealed) 32 pts / (exposed) 16 pts
quartet of aces or 9s of the same suit (concealed) 32 pts /
(exposed) 16 pts
quartet of winds, not of the player's point : nil!
quartet of 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 or 8 : nil
triplet of "dragons" (concealed) 8 pts / (exposed) 4 pts
triplet of the player's winds (concealed) 8 pts / (exposed) 4 pts
triplet of aces or 9s of the same suit (concealed) 8 pts / (exposed) 4
pts
triplet of winds, not of the player's point : nil
triplet of 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 or 8 : nil
pair of "dragons" (concealed or exposed) 2 pts
pair of winds (concealed or exposed) 2 pts
any pair nil

It is not tabulated and is not presented like this, but it can safely
be inferred from Mauger's tables and many examples.

As for Mauger's important contribution there is a recent article by
Michael Stanwick in "The Playing-Card":

Michael Stanwick, "Mahjong(g) before and after Mahjong(g)", The
Playing-Card, Vol. 34, no. 4, Apr.-June 2006, pp. 259-268 + Vol. 35,
no. 1, Jul.-Sep. 2006, pp. 27-39.

The IPCS has recently reorganised its marketing so that anybody can buy
single issues (of course at a higher price than regular members) and
pay it (them) through PayPal. Just send an e-mail to our Secretary Ann
Smith (<secretaryATi-p-c-s.org>). She will guide you.
(But if you want to become a member, you're most welcome!)

Greetings!

Thierry

msta...@aol.com

unread,
Dec 13, 2006, 1:55:54 PM12/13/06
to

Cofa Tsui wrote:
> Hi Michael, it's "bei feng" (North Wind), not "bai feng", in case you are
> not aware.

Heck. You are absolutely right. I read the description so fast i
mistook 'bei' for 'bai'. It is a common error of mine when I am tired.
Thanks for the notice.

> > I would agree with your sentiment. I don't suppose you could tell me,
> > briefly, what quality(s) in his description would lead you to think he
> > was a good MJ player? (I presume you would agree that he was a good MJ
> > player? Or maybe you can't reach this conclusion?
>
> This is an appraiser's work! But I'll try ^_^
>
> My impression is only from the context, the way Li described the game. This
> type of situations, i.e., a short mahjong game in a social gathering, is
> very common among the Chinese communities. Although I mean today's world,
> the story of 1903 in this small paragraph is very similar. I think you have
> to have at least some experience and knowledge to tell the real atmosphere.
> Four players, plus a girl sitting besides one of them. The details the two
> major players react and how the girl plays her role; how the game processes
> and how the scoring is presented - These are all in a way that is brief but
> precise. To me these all indicate that the writer is skilful of the game.
>
> So I can conclude, based on the impression I have with this small paragraph,
> Li is skilful in the game and is qualified to tell the game in its
> ruefulness. (I try not to use the word "good" as this could also involve
> one's behaviour or attitude, to this I have nothing to rely on to make a
> comment.)
>
> I hope this would help.

Excellent. Thanks.

I don't suppose anyone can tell me whether there is any evidence the
players were likely to be of Confucian leanings.

Cheers
Michael

Cofa Tsui

unread,
Dec 14, 2006, 4:18:21 AM12/14/06
to
"Tom Sloper" <tsl...@DONTsloperamaSPAMME.com> wrote in message
news:gsSdnTxnqO2EdePY...@giganews.com...

> Thierry wrote:
>
>>You've changed your mind, Tom!
>
> I hope I am allowed to do so. (^_^) It would be exceedingly stubborn to
> stick to a point of view when the fog has lifted and/or the landscape has
> changed. But what have I changed my mind from, exactly? Are you referring
> to that silly old debate from years ago? Certainly I've had a lot of fog
> lift and a lot of landscape change since then.

The manners the "History of Mahjong" discussion ("The CC Theory" debate)
some years ago might have been conducted in a non-standardized form, the
cause of the discussion/debate was a serious one, nothing is silly at all.
As a result of the recent findings, the original claims of the "History of
Mahjong" discussion are now proved to be correct
(http://www.imahjong.com/maiarchives205.html) (unchanged as of April 7,
2002):
(1) Chinese Classical is not the origin of MAHJONG, or at least, Chinese
Classical is not the only origin of MAHJONG.
(2) Many variants, including Cantonese Mahjong or Hong Kong Old Style
("HKOS"), are simply not the descendants of Chinese Classical ("CC"). Many
variants, including HKOS and CC, could have co-existed altogether for the
long, undocumented history of the evolution and development of the game
MAHJONG.

Item (1) was now admitted by Tom when answering to Cofa's question, both
posted Dec 11, 2006 under thread "A Millington critique(fairly long)". Item
(2) was answered by the small paragraph of Chapter 31 of the book
"Guangchang Xianxing Ji" by Li Boyuan (1903), quoted under thread "Earliest
Chinese reference to 'ma que'" (posted Nov 30, 2006).

With "The CC Theory" debate:
The proponents claimed that (as noted on Dec 14, 2006 at 0052 hrs, at
http://www.sloperama.com/cctheory/detail.html:

(1) "Chinese Classical" mah-jongg is directly evolved from the original
rules (AKA "Proto Mah-Jongg" or "Ur Mah-Jongg");

(2) all other known forms of the game (including the so-called "HKOS")
evolved either directly or indirectly from the Chinese Classical (AKA "CC")
form.

[Note that the above contains may have been revised recently, as it is
different from their original claims, as per Alan's claim in message 21,
dated Dec 12, 2000 of the mj newsgroup archives
(http://www.imahjong.com/maiarchives205c.html):
"1. Chinese Classical (something the same or very similar to the form
described in Millington) was the original form of mahjong. It was the
predominant form of mahjong played all over China (including in
Cantona and Hong Kong) in the 20's.
2. All other styles, new and old, evolved directly or indirectly from
Chinese Classical."]

With "The CC Theory" debate, Tom has made a conclusion just recently
(http://www.sloperama.com/cctheory/about.html as at 0100 hrs, Dec 14, 2006):
"Looking back on this silly old debate, I didn't feel like it was necessary
to keep the old debate page alive anymore. Especially since part of what
Alan and I had claimed was no longer supportable (that CC was "the original"
variant, which later discoveries, especially Stanwick's, clearly disproved).
So now I have replaced the old debate page with this page you're looking at.
(If you really want to see that old debate page, it's still here.) I haven't
heard from Alan Kwan in several years (since we met in person in 2002),
sadly.

Clearly, CC was not the original form of mahjong - it was preceded by the
unknowable "proto-mahjong" rules and also by the pre-1920s rules described
by Li and Mauger (see timeline). Also clearly, CC was extremely well
documented as long ago as the 1920s. And to date, the earliest documentation
we have yet found about HKOS goes back no farther than 1979 (Perlmen and
Chan's first printing, see FAQ 3)."

Accordingly, the conclusion of the discussion/debate is what I've expected.
As to Tom's last two sentences, "Also clearly, CC was extremely well
documented as long ago as the 1920s. And to date, the earliest documentation
we have yet found about HKOS goes back no farther than 1979 (Perlmen and
Chan's first printing, see FAQ 3)." - With "CC" changed to "CC-like", I
certainly agree to what he says; but this shall have nothing to do with the
discussion/debate, I assume.

Cheers!

--
Cofa Tsui
www.iMahjong.com


msta...@aol.com

unread,
Dec 14, 2006, 6:20:21 AM12/14/06
to
Cofa Tsui wrote:
> The manners the "History of Mahjong" discussion ("The CC Theory" debate)
> some years ago might have been conducted in a non-standardized form, the
> cause of the discussion/debate was a serious one, nothing is silly at all.
> As a result of the recent findings, the original claims of the "History of
> Mahjong" discussion are now proved to be correct

Hello Cofa. I certainly do not agree with a view (I am not suggesting
yours) that a News Group discussion should be allowed to involve
'heated' exchanges. These types of exchanges are the antithesis to
clear and reasoned thinking in my view. They also stifle the
clarification of the issue being discussed.

My experience on this group has shown me that 'heated' exchanges are
usually, though not always, the result of a failure by either party to
seek clarification of what the other has said. I have made this error.
Misinterpretation is difficult to spot, especially when an exchange
involves vague or imprecise language. Nevertheless, I think we should
strive to seek clarification wherenever confusion appears. If
impatience or annoyance begin to boil up, then that is the warning
signal that we may have misintepreted something along the way.

With reference to your statement that your original claims are now
proved correct, well I would be more circumspect about claiming this.
As Tom has done, we should apportion our acceptance of a claim to the
evidence in its favour. For me, Tom was justified in making his claims
and he tried to put his claims in a tentative fashion to show they were
his best explanation of all the evidence he had at the time.

And as I said in another thread, even though Tom was justified in
accepting his claims, his justification does not ensure or certify that
his claims are accurate or correct, because he may have overlooked
something (or it hadn't come to light) that weakens his justification.
And so now it seems that further evidence has cast reasonable doubt on
the veracity of his claims and so he has modified them accordingly, as
I would have expected him to do.

Your claims, IMO, are also subject to the same principle. You may be
justified in making them etc (I haven't checked their veracity), but
you would also (I hope) realise that further data may come to light
that would cast reasonable doubt on them. ^_^

Cheers
Michael

Cofa Tsui

unread,
Dec 14, 2006, 11:25:48 AM12/14/06
to
<msta...@aol.com> wrote in message
news:1166095221.3...@f1g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...

> Cofa Tsui wrote:
>> The manners the "History of Mahjong" discussion ("The CC Theory" debate)
>> some years ago might have been conducted in a non-standardized form, the
>> cause of the discussion/debate was a serious one, nothing is silly at
>> all.
>> As a result of the recent findings, the original claims of the "History
>> of
>> Mahjong" discussion are now proved to be correct
>
> Hello Cofa. I certainly do not agree with a view (I am not suggesting
> yours) that a News Group discussion should be allowed to involve
> 'heated' exchanges. These types of exchanges are the antithesis to
> clear and reasoned thinking in my view. They also stifle the
> clarification of the issue being discussed.

Thanks Michael. No, I don't have any intention in bringing up any heated
exchanges. I only meant to express my view about the previous
discussion/rebate, that it is not silly but has a serious cause (at least,
this is my position).

[...]

>
> Your claims, IMO, are also subject to the same principle. You may be
> justified in making them etc (I haven't checked their veracity), but
> you would also (I hope) realise that further data may come to light
> that would cast reasonable doubt on them. ^_^

I certainly agree! And this was why I have insisted in holding my claims for
years, even though documented evidences at that time didn't seem to be in my
favour ^_^

--
Cofa Tsui
www.iMahjong.com


msta...@aol.com

unread,
Dec 14, 2006, 12:39:04 PM12/14/06
to
Cofa Tsui wrote:
> I certainly agree! And this was why I have insisted in holding my claims for
> years, even though documented evidences at that time didn't seem to be in my
> favour ^_^

Hello Cofa. Sure.

I wanted to ask you what you made of the apparent fact that the
'zhong', center or middle, was included in the four 'Winds'? Is it your
impression that the 'Honours' or so-called 'Dragons' group was not used
in the game described by Li?

Cheers
Michael

Cofa Tsui

unread,
Dec 16, 2006, 1:43:20 AM12/16/06
to
<msta...@aol.com> wrote in message
news:1166117944.2...@f1g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...

>
> I wanted to ask you what you made of the apparent fact that the
> 'zhong', center or middle, was included in the four 'Winds'? Is it your
> impression that the 'Honours' or so-called 'Dragons' group was not used
> in the game described by Li?

Hi Michael,

In this small paragraph, only the following "pais" were mentioned:
中风 "Zhongfeng" (Centre Wind);
白板 "Baiban" (White Board);
二三四万 (234 Wan);
七万八万 (7 Wan 8 Wan); and
北风 "Beifeng" (North Wind).

The purpose of this paragraph is to describe a game event; there is nothing
about rules. From the descriptions I can't tell if "Zongfeng" is part of the
"four winds". I even can't be sure, using your standards, if there are
really FOUR winds because only one (North Wind) is mentioned. Also be
reminded that 发 Fa (Green Dragon) is not mentioned here.

I also don't have any impression that those Zhongfeng, Baiban and Beifeng
are related or are as a group.

On the other hand, "Honours" and "Dragons" are terms of the western authors,
probably created in the 1920s.

Let me know if this has answered your questions. Or let me know more
specifically what exactly you want to know.

--
Cofa Tsui
www.iMahjong.com


msta...@aol.com

unread,
Dec 16, 2006, 6:08:51 PM12/16/06
to
> <msta...@aol.com> wrote in message

> > I wanted to ask you what you made of the apparent fact that the
> > 'zhong', center or middle, was included in the four 'Winds'? Is it your
> > impression that the 'Honours' or so-called 'Dragons' group was not used
> > in the game described by Li?

> In this small paragraph, only the following "pais" were mentioned:
> "Zhongfeng" (Centre Wind);
> "Baiban" (White Board);
> (234 Wan);


> (7 Wan 8 Wan); and

> "Beifeng" (North Wind).
>
> The purpose of this paragraph is to describe a game event; there is nothing
> about rules. From the descriptions I can't tell if "Zongfeng" is part of the
> "four winds". I even can't be sure, using your standards, if there are
> really FOUR winds because only one (North Wind) is mentioned. Also be

> reminded that Fa (Green Dragon) is not mentioned here.

That's right. I commented on the absence of the fa tile before as I
recall. But the fact that the game is called 'cha ma que' plus the
'zhong' pai is named as a 'wind' and there is also a 'north' wind, plus
the knowledge that the 1875 Glover description appears to lump the
'zhong' or 'center/middle' in with the four 'winds' or 'directions',
plus the evidence of all 6 tile sets known up to 1903, would lead me to
infer that there is a high probablility that this 1903 tile set has a
very similar construction of tile groups. We cannot infer that the 'fa'
tile is missing, only that the triplet 'honours' group is unlikely to
be present.

> I also don't have any impression that those Zhongfeng, Baiban and Beifeng
> are related or are as a group.

Sure. However, the mention of the 'feng' term, twice, would indicate
that perhaps that group was present - in keeping with all the other
tile sets we know of up to that date.

> On the other hand, "Honours" and "Dragons" are terms of the western authors,
> probably created in the 1920s.

That's right. I use the terms as a ready reference for other interested
readers. BTW, what do you call the triplet group of 'zhong', 'fa' and
'bai'?

> Let me know if this has answered your questions. Or let me know more


> specifically what exactly you want to know.

>From the limited description, that is about as specific as I want to
get. ^_^

Cheers

Cofa Tsui

unread,
Dec 17, 2006, 12:03:40 AM12/17/06
to
<msta...@aol.com> wrote in message
news:1166310530....@f1g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
>> <msta...@aol.com> wrote in message

>> On the other hand, "Honours" and "Dragons" are terms of the western
>> authors,
>> probably created in the 1920s.
>
> That's right. I use the terms as a ready reference for other interested
> readers. BTW, what do you call the triplet group of 'zhong', 'fa' and
> 'bai'?

We normally call them 三元牌 "Sanyuan pai" (The Three Scholars).

--
Cofa Tsui
www.iMahjong.com


ithinc

unread,
Dec 17, 2006, 1:40:41 AM12/17/06
to
In Shanghai Style Mahjong, there is a score element named "quan feng
xiang"(全风向, all winds) which is in fact all honors, in spite of a
complete hand or not.

msta...@aol.com

unread,
Dec 17, 2006, 9:18:20 AM12/17/06
to
Cofa Tsui wrote:
> <msta...@aol.com> wrote in message

> > That's right. I use the terms as a ready reference for other interested


> > readers. BTW, what do you call the triplet group of 'zhong', 'fa' and
> > 'bai'?
>

> We normally call them "Sanyuan pai" (The Three Scholars).

Thank you and ithinc for the info. That is very interesting. Do you
know of any explanation for why they are called 'The Three Scholars'?

Cheers
Michael

John (Z R) L

unread,
Dec 17, 2006, 4:58:48 PM12/17/06
to
> > We normally call them "Sanyuan pai" (The Three Scholars).
>
> Thank you and ithinc for the info. That is very interesting. Do you
> know of any explanation for why they are called 'The Three Scholars'?
>
> Cheers
> Michael

(Use Shift JIS)

The 3 Dragons in Chinese are called "Sanyuan Pai", with "Bai"
(White/Haku 白), "Fa" (Green/Hatsu 発) and "Zhong"(Red/Chun 中).

I was reading a Chinese website for the following info:
http://zhidao.baidu.com/question/2523466.html?md=3

"Bai/Fa/Zhong" are apparently abbreviations of the terms "Qing
Bai 清白", "Fa Cai 発財" and "Zhong Ju 中挙".

When a person passes the scholar exam and rises a rank, they "Fa Cai"
as in striking in rich because they get to go higher (green).

The "Zhong Ju" means they have struck the post as a "Jie Yuan"/"Hui
Yuan"/"Zhuang Yuan" (different ranks as scholarly people) (red).

The "Qing Bai" means clear (understood), dunno the relevance to the
scholars, maybe their wisdom and knowledge is like that. I think the
website's not sure about the real meaning of white (white).

The reference to these tiles being called "Dragons" wasn't a Chinese
thing, I think it was done by Westerners.

Alan Kwan

unread,
Jan 5, 2007, 12:35:05 AM1/5/07
to
The piece looks mundane to me. It is clearly "Chinese Classical" that
was played.

> E. Difference comparing to Millington's rules:
> (1) No points for fishing in this game.

I would also say that Millington's is not the definite form of CC, but
rather, just one of them. And as Milligton himself has written,
counting points for fishing was *not* universal among CC-players in that
period.

> (2) According to Millington's, the jonga ("east") shall pay double the
> hand's score, or $416 in this game. But the descriptions specifically stated
> that he is going to lose "two hundred something dollars."

> (4) According to player Wu's quote: Player Tian is going to lose LESS
THAN
> him because Tian is not the jonga ("east").
>
The passage explained the number of points, and then mentioned the
"rate" at which points should convert into money. I do not understand
the latter (quoted below), but do you? From the way the words were
written (and #4), I suspect that the game did have East doubling: it
specifically emphasised that East lost a lot of money.

relevant quote: 打的是五百块洋钱一底的么二架

> (3) There doesn't seem to have "settlement between the losing players",
> given the act of Wu in item D(2).

It may be a local omission (house rule), or even just a dramatization by
the writer.


> F. My (Cofa's) comments:
> (1) The calculation provided in the descriptions could apply to *any* form
> of play in that time period (year 1903), be it "CC-like" or "HKOS-like".

Definitely not. "HKOS" doesn't count triplet-points. The description
is obviously counting triplet-points.

> (2) As well, all of the differences in E (1) through (4) could apply to
> *any* form at that time.
> (3) Major difference to Millington's is item E(3) - no settlement between
> losing players.

It is possible that, in the development of mahjong, settlement between
losing players got dropped earlier, and possibly gradually (locally),
than triplet-point counting. After all, in Japan, the former got
dropped for decades, while the latter is still in use.

Cofa Tsui

unread,
Jan 5, 2007, 4:10:58 AM1/5/07
to
Welcome back Alan!

"Alan Kwan" <notme@nospam> wrote in message news:459de387$1...@127.0.0.1...


> The piece looks mundane to me. It is clearly "Chinese Classical" that was
> played.
>
>> E. Difference comparing to Millington's rules:
>> (1) No points for fishing in this game.
>
> I would also say that Millington's is not the definite form of CC, but
> rather, just one of them. And as Milligton himself has written, counting
> points for fishing was *not* universal among CC-players in that period.

"No points for fishing in this game" has already been explained. Please see
earlier post.

>
>> (2) According to Millington's, the jonga ("east") shall pay double the
>> hand's score, or $416 in this game. But the descriptions specifically
>> stated that he is going to lose "two hundred something dollars."
>
> > (4) According to player Wu's quote: Player Tian is going to lose LESS
> THAN
> > him because Tian is not the jonga ("east").
> >
> The passage explained the number of points, and then mentioned the "rate"
> at which points should convert into money. I do not understand the latter
> (quoted below), but do you? From the way the words were written (and #4),
> I suspect that the game did have East doubling: it specifically emphasised
> that East lost a lot of money.

Why the payment of $208 by the jonga (player Wu) has also been explained by
Ithinc in earlier post. With your question, I have reviewed the context
again. Now I see that:

- Jonga might need to pay more than non-jonga.

- With "... player Wu's quote: Player Tian is going to lose LESS THAN him
because Tian is not the jonga ("east")." Could this be another indication
that there is for sure no settlement between non-winning players? (Otherwise
how could Wu tell Tian is going to lose less than him before working on the
settlements? Or can he? - I'll let the CC experts answer this.)

>
> relevant quote: 打的是五百块洋钱一底的么二架

I don't understand the last part ("么二架"). The first part is an element
similar to how (today's) HKOS would determin the value of the fan. 一底 ("yi
di") means "a base", or "a base for value". In HKOS, a base consists of 100
units (we use "chips" for the units). If won by selfmake, the winning player
will receive from EACH player the following:
1 fan = 4 units (chips)
2 fans = 8 units
3 fans = 16 units
4 fans = 32 units

Accordingly, 五百块洋钱一底 ($500 a base) means each unit = $5. I know how
to convert those fan values into dollar value in HKOS. With the 1903 game in
the article, since it starts with points, I can't figure out the
relationship between the points and the dollar value.

As Edwin Phua pointed out, HKOS must determin a base valus (value for the
base), before the value for the fans can be established. So I guess this
could be another HKOS feature being described in the 1903 game?!

>
>> (3) There doesn't seem to have "settlement between the losing players",
>> given the act of Wu in item D(2).
>
> It may be a local omission (house rule), or even just a dramatization by
> the writer.

This is possible, but highly unlikely, in my opinion. (See also previous
paragraph.)

>> F. My (Cofa's) comments:
>> (1) The calculation provided in the descriptions could apply to *any*
>> form of play in that time period (year 1903), be it "CC-like" or
>> "HKOS-like".
>
> Definitely not. "HKOS" doesn't count triplet-points. The description
> is obviously counting triplet-points.

The way I see the issue is quite different. I have to consider the terms
"CC" and "HKOS", and therefore their documented features, are those of the
1970s. Back in 1903, if there is only one form of play, all future variants
have evolved from it; if there are already more than one forms, we will have
to continue to look for the earlier form to determine how those forms have
been evolved.

With HKOS today, or HKOS in the 1970s, certainly it doesn't have
triplet-point counting. But if HKOS-like did start to evolve back from 1903,
saying the 1903 Ma Que "HKOS-like" becomes reasonable - At least no
settlement between non-winning players is an essential feature of HKOS. Also
we have to understand the background: There have been many books about
"CC-like", but seems to have none (or extremely rare) about the "HKOS-like."

>
>> (2) As well, all of the differences in E (1) through (4) could apply to
>> *any* form at that time.
>> (3) Major difference to Millington's is item E(3) - no settlement between
>> losing players.
>
> It is possible that, in the development of mahjong, settlement between
> losing players got dropped earlier, and possibly gradually (locally), than
> triplet-point counting. After all, in Japan, the former got dropped for
> decades, while the latter is still in use.

But are you talking about the 1903 game here?

--
Cofa Tsui
www.iMahjong.com

(Been busy these days. Will reply to some other posting later.)


cymb...@free.fr

unread,
Jan 5, 2007, 5:06:23 AM1/5/07
to
Gentlemen,

This discussion is extremely interesting.

We would be very grateful to you if you could give us, poor ignorant
Westerners, who have a limited or no knowledge of Chinese, a
translation of the passage in question.

I guess it is difficult, as are all gaming scenes taken from literary
sources, but I'm sure it would help us (and perhaps you) greatly.

With best wishes.

Thierry

Cofa Tsui

unread,
Jan 5, 2007, 11:45:16 AM1/5/07
to
<cymb...@free.fr> wrote in message
news:1167991583....@11g2000cwr.googlegroups.com...

> Gentlemen,
>
> This discussion is extremely interesting.
>
> We would be very grateful to you if you could give us, poor ignorant
> Westerners, who have a limited or no knowledge of Chinese, a
> translation of the passage in question.

Sure! I have thought of doing this but have suddenly become busy these few
days. I'll try this weekend if no other seems to have done this by then. If
anyone could provide some online translator sites (Chinese to English)
please let me have the URLs - This will help very much! Reply to here or to
IMJ \at\ COFATSUI \dot\ COM

>
> I guess it is difficult, as are all gaming scenes taken from literary
> sources, but I'm sure it would help us (and perhaps you) greatly.

It surely would, especially this is not modern Chinese writing. Anyone would
like to join me feel free to email me so we could work out a smooth,
readable copy!

Have a great day!

--
Cofa Tsui
www.iMahjong.com


Tom Sloper

unread,
Jan 5, 2007, 1:46:14 PM1/5/07
to

"Cofa Tsui" <cofa...@hotmail.com> wrote

> If anyone could provide some online translator sites (Chinese to English)
> please let me have the URLs - This will help very much!

http://babelfish.yahoo.com/


ithinc

unread,
Jan 17, 2007, 10:22:04 PM1/17/07
to

"Cofa Tsui 写道:

> >> (2) According to Millington's, the jonga ("east") shall pay double the
> >> hand's score, or $416 in this game. But the descriptions specifically
> >> stated that he is going to lose "two hundred something dollars."
> >
> > > (4) According to player Wu's quote: Player Tian is going to lose LESS
> > THAN
> > > him because Tian is not the jonga ("east").
> > >
> > The passage explained the number of points, and then mentioned the "rate"
> > at which points should convert into money. I do not understand the latter
> > (quoted below), but do you? From the way the words were written (and #4),
> > I suspect that the game did have East doubling: it specifically emphasised
> > that East lost a lot of money.
>
> Why the payment of $208 by the jonga (player Wu) has also been explained by
> Ithinc in earlier post. With your question, I have reviewed the context
> again. Now I see that:
>
> - Jonga might need to pay more than non-jonga.
>
> - With "... player Wu's quote: Player Tian is going to lose LESS THAN him
> because Tian is not the jonga ("east")." Could this be another indication
> that there is for sure no settlement between non-winning players? (Otherwise
> how could Wu tell Tian is going to lose less than him before working on the
> settlements? Or can he? - I'll let the CC experts answer this.)
>
> >
> > relevant quote: ´òµÄÊÇÎå°Ù¿éÑóǮһµ×µÄô¶þ¼Ü
>
> I don't understand the last part ("ô¶þ¼Ü"). The first part is an element
> similar to how (today's) HKOS would determin the value of the fan. Ò»µ× ("yi

> di") means "a base", or "a base for value". In HKOS, a base consists of 100
> units (we use "chips" for the units). If won by selfmake, the winning player
> will receive from EACH player the following:
> 1 fan = 4 units (chips)
> 2 fans = 8 units
> 3 fans = 16 units
> 4 fans = 32 units
>
> Accordingly, Îå°Ù¿éÑóǮһµ× ($500 a base) means each unit = $5. I know how

> to convert those fan values into dollar value in HKOS. With the 1903 game in
> the article, since it starts with points, I can't figure out the
> relationship between the points and the dollar value.
>
> As Edwin Phua pointed out, HKOS must determin a base valus (value for the
> base), before the value for the fans can be established. So I guess this
> could be another HKOS feature being described in the 1903 game?!
>
I'm very very excited to tell the following. I have got the meaning of
the "五百块洋钱一底的么二架". "一底"(one base) means 1000
fu. "么二架" means the dealer wins or loses two shares while the
non-dealer wins or loses one share. It exactly covers "East doubling".
So in this scene, the zhuangjia Wuelabu will lose:
208fu * $500/1000fu * 2 = $208.
I have read quite a few ancient Chinese novels written in the late Qing
and find a lot of descriptions of mahjong playing scenes. They played
many kinds of points-money rate, such as "五十块底二四",
"五百个钱四八解", "一千吊钱,二四", etc.I will post them
later.

ithinc

Cofa Tsui

unread,
Jan 18, 2007, 12:33:30 AM1/18/07
to
ithinc wrote:

[...]


> I'm very very excited to tell the following. I have got the meaning of
> the "五百块洋钱一底的么二架". "一底"(one base) means 1000
> fu. "么二架" means the dealer wins or loses two shares while the
> non-dealer wins or loses one share. It exactly covers "East doubling".
> So in this scene, the zhuangjia Wuelabu will lose:
> 208fu * $500/1000fu * 2 = $208.
> I have read quite a few ancient Chinese novels written in the late Qing
> and find a lot of descriptions of mahjong playing scenes. They played
> many kinds of points-money rate, such as "五十块底二四",
> "五百个钱四八解", "一千吊钱,二四", etc.I will post them
> later.

Excellent, Ithinc!

Can you tell us what novels you've read? (I'm sure Michael and Thierry
would like to know too ^_^)

Now you have "one base" = 1000 fu = say, $500 as an example
Therefore, 1 fu = $0.50
208 fu x $0.50 = $104 = non-East losers pay
East pays double = $104 x 2 = $208 (matching Li's story: "...for this
hand alone the zhuang had already lost two hundred plus dollars" -
refer to http://www.imahjong.com/maiarchives205d_2.html)

This would be similar to what I have quoted previously: "In HKOS, a
base consists of 100 units."

With: "么二架" ("one-two structure") means the dealer wins or loses
two shares while the non-dealer wins or loses one share...

I was told, in HKOS, we have "一二蚊" ("one-two dollar") (or
"five-dollar/ten-dollar" etc), meaning a payment structure in which the
winner will receive 1 dollar (or unit) if won on discard, 2 dollars
(units) if won on selfdraw.

Would this be an indication that when the older forms (as old as in
1903) evolved into HKOS (can't tell the exact date), the dealer
pays/receives double has evolved into payment is double (2 times) with
win by selfdraw and normal (1 time) with win by discard - i.e., the
determination has switched from the status of the zhuang (dealer) to
the manner win is achieved?

-----
Cofa Tsui
www.iMahjong.com

Edwin Phua

unread,
Jan 18, 2007, 2:41:24 AM1/18/07
to
Cofa Tsui wrote:
> With: "么二架" ("one-two structure") means the dealer wins or loses
> two shares while the non-dealer wins or loses one share...
>
> I was told, in HKOS, we have "一二蚊" ("one-two dollar") (or
> "five-dollar/ten-dollar" etc), meaning a payment structure in which the
> winner will receive 1 dollar (or unit) if won on discard, 2 dollars
> (units) if won on selfdraw.
>
> Would this be an indication that when the older forms (as old as in
> 1903) evolved into HKOS (can't tell the exact date), the dealer
> pays/receives double has evolved into payment is double (2 times) with
> win by selfdraw and normal (1 time) with win by discard - i.e., the
> determination has switched from the status of the zhuang (dealer) to
> the manner win is achieved?

Cofa, I hope I have interpreted your posting correctly.

It does seem quite possible. Players may feel that the discarder paying
double is more 'fair' than all losing players paying the same, because
there is an onus on players to be careful with discards. A more extreme
development will be "discarder pays for all", since the penalty for
discarding is wholly borne by the discarder now, rather than just
paying twice as much as the other losing players (and this rule appears
in two other variants as per Tom's analysis table,
http://www.sloperama.com/mahjongg/analysis.html).

>From Tom's table, it also shows that "East pays double" is not present
where "discarder pays for all" is present (this is for 1920s 'New
Method', Japanese Classical and 'modern' HKOS). Cofa's suggestion is
thus highly tenable. A way of disproving this is to find a variant
where both "East pays double" and "discarder pays for all" (or
"discarder pays double") rules are present.

In my personal opinion, East paying/receiving double is a rule that
rewards the dealer (and there may be historical and philosophical
reasons for the development of such a rule), but players may be unhappy
with such a rule and thus willing to change the rule accordingly, for
practical reasons.

Cheers!
Edwin Phua

ithinc

unread,
Jan 18, 2007, 11:00:59 AM1/18/07
to

"Edwin Phua 写道:

"
> From Tom's table, it also shows that "East pays double" is not present
> where "discarder pays for all" is present (this is for 1920s 'New
> Method', Japanese Classical and 'modern' HKOS). Cofa's suggestion is
> thus highly tenable. A way of disproving this is to find a variant
> where both "East pays double" and "discarder pays for all" (or
> "discarder pays double") rules are present.
In one of our online mahjong, "East Doubling", "Selfmake Doubling",
"Discard Doubling" and " Discarder pays for all" all exsit
simultaneously. That is to say, if a non-dealer discards a tile to
complete the dealer's hand, he needs to pay 1*2 + 1*2 + 1*2*2=8 shares.

Cofa Tsui

unread,
Jan 18, 2007, 9:48:41 PM1/18/07
to
Edwin Phua wrote:
> Cofa Tsui wrote:
[...]

> > Would this be an indication that when the older forms (as old as in
> > 1903) evolved into HKOS (can't tell the exact date), the dealer
> > pays/receives double has evolved into payment is double (2 times) with
> > win by selfdraw and normal (1 time) with win by discard - i.e., the
> > determination has switched from the status of the zhuang (dealer) to
> > the manner win is achieved?
>
> Cofa, I hope I have interpreted your posting correctly.
>
> It does seem quite possible. Players may feel that the discarder paying
> double is more 'fair' than all losing players paying the same, because
> there is an onus on players to be careful with discards.

Yes, this could be the reason for the change.

A more extreme
> development will be "discarder pays for all", since the penalty for
> discarding is wholly borne by the discarder now, rather than just
> paying twice as much as the other losing players (and this rule appears
> in two other variants as per Tom's analysis table,
> http://www.sloperama.com/mahjongg/analysis.html).

"Discarder pays for all" seems to be a quite "new" development (I guess
it's in the late 1980s and early 1990s). IMO this feature shall not be
included in the analysis table, for the purposes of this discussion.

>
> >From Tom's table, it also shows that "East pays double" is not present
> where "discarder pays for all" is present (this is for 1920s 'New
> Method', Japanese Classical and 'modern' HKOS). Cofa's suggestion is
> thus highly tenable.

Tom's table might need some correction:
"Discarder pays for all" doesn't seem to be features of the 1920s New
Method and Jappanese Classical, if according to Thierry's data (subject
"Analysis of rules - A game of the year 1903" and time "Mon, Dec 11
2006 6:50 am").

A way of disproving this is to find a variant
> where both "East pays double" and "discarder pays for all" (or
> "discarder pays double") rules are present.

Yeap, have both features "East pays double" and "discarder pays for
all" (or "discarder pays double") in one form of game doesn't seem to
make sense.

-----
Cofa Tsui
www.iMahjong.com

Tom Sloper

unread,
Jan 18, 2007, 11:23:51 PM1/18/07
to
"Cofa Tsui" <cofa...@hotmail.com> wrote

> Tom's table might need some correction:
> "Discarder pays for all" doesn't seem to be features of the 1920s New
> Method and Jappanese Classical, if according to Thierry's data (subject
> "Analysis of rules - A game of the year 1903" and time "Mon, Dec 11
> 2006 6:50 am").

That post seems never to have come through on my news server. I found it
only on Google. Is this the passage being referenced?...

>>The new method ["Le nouveau mode"] wants the winner to be considered as
>>a landmark, but with a further complication: that of knowing how he has
>>completed his hand. If the winner goes out with a self-drawn piece, all
>>losers pay him according to the highest multiple; otherwise, the loser
>>who has offered him the last piece pays him alone according to this
>>multiple.

If so, I'm not clear as to what that part of my analysis chart should say. I
would appreciate helpful input as to what that ought to be (I don't know
what "this multiple" is - is it "double"?). Also, the only sources I have on
Japanese Classical are Whitney and Kanai/Farrell - surely far later
descriptions (1960s), probably not consistent with the 1920s description.

Tom


Cofa Tsui

unread,
Jan 19, 2007, 12:29:36 AM1/19/07
to
"Tom Sloper" <tsl...@DONTsloperamaSPAMME.com> wrote in message
news:2Iqdnc4lDI471S3Y...@giganews.com...

Thierry's post was a long one (subject "Analysis of rules - A game of the
year 1903" and time "Mon, Dec 11 2006 6:50 am"). For the changes I
suggested, I repeat them below:

Changes suggested:
- Item 4 Discarder pays for all should be removed - a feature too "new" for

the purposes of this discussion.

- Otherwise "1920s New Method" and "Japanese Classical" should be marked
with "NO" for this item - see Thierry's post below:
- Also item 5 self-pick rewarded: 1903 (Li) should be marked "?" as we can't
tell from Li's story that we know.

About the Japanese Classical:

The early Japanese rules ("Japanese Classical"), assumed to represent a
Chinese original of around 1920, are still closer to the pre-1914 Li
Boyuan/Mauger rules:
- East has no particular privilege;
- only the winner is paid: there are NO settlement of scores between
losers;
- a distinction in scoring is made between "exposed" and "concealed"
sets;
- winner gets 20 pts; basic sets are rewarded by point scoring;
- one first calculates the base points, then doubles appropriately;
- the way the winner goes out is rewarded
- there are bonus points for special hands (tile combinations).
thus making 5 features out of 7 that are identical.

About the New Method [see my emphasis **]:

Even Babcock knew of them. Here is what he writes in "Babcock's rules
for Mah-Jongg : the red book of rules. Second edition" (San Franciso,
1923), pp. 78-9:

<<New Method: In the New Method which is fast finding favor in certain
Chinese communities, East does not pay out nor receive double stakes.
The player who discards the tile which allows another player to
complete his hand, pays the winner double stakes. No double stakes are
paid between any of the three losers. If the winner draws the winning
tile from the wall, he receives double stakes from each of the three
other players.
In the New Method a player is not liable for the insurance penalty, if
he holds any Waiting hand at the time he discards the winning tile.
The New Method of play has a great deal of merit, and is favored by
more advanced players, as it puts more of a premium on skill and a
penalty on carelessness or lack of foresight in discarding. However,
this method is not recommended for beginners.>>

At the same time the Chinese scholar Tchou Kia-Kien, writing in French
(Le jeu de mah-jong tel qu'il est joué par les Chinois, Paris,
1924), pp. 34-6, writes (my translation):

<<Of the two methods for determining the application of scoring
multiples ["coefficients"] in payments.
The old method ["L'ancien mode"] consists in taking the 'elder' (East
wind) as a landmark. When he wins, all losers pay him basing themselves
on the highest multiple; when he loses, he accordingly pays the sole
winner.


The new method ["Le nouveau mode"] wants the winner to be considered as
a landmark, but with a further complication: that of knowing how he has
completed his hand. If the winner goes out with a self-drawn piece, all
losers pay him according to the highest multiple; otherwise, the loser
who has offered him the last piece pays him alone according to this

multiple. **As for the other losers they pay him according to the lowest
multiple only. Payments between losers are always stated according to
the lowest multiple and with a point scoring compensation.
It is to be remarked that the new method is fairer in a sense that an
unskilled or unwise player must pay double. It is why the Chinese
players have adopted it.>>

--
Cofa Tsui
www.iMahjong.com


Tom Sloper

unread,
Jan 20, 2007, 12:41:58 PM1/20/07
to
"Cofa Tsui" <cofa...@hotmail.com> wrote...

>>> Tom's table might need some correction:
>>> "Discarder pays for all" doesn't seem to be features of the 1920s New
>>> Method and Jappanese Classical, if according to Thierry's data (subject
>>> "Analysis of rules - A game of the year 1903" and time "Mon, Dec 11
>>> 2006 6:50 am").

That particular point may not have been raised in that particular post.
There were several posts later, and some private discussion between Thierry
and me, in making the table. I don't care to search out and locate the exact
post in which that point came out. I yield to Thierry's judgment as to what
points ought to be in the table.

Tom


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