7Fouls and penalties
7.1Types of penalties
3.4.6-7-8Chombo, Dead hand, Minor irregularities
Not penalized — For trivial offences.
Repeated cases or refusal to follow requests may lead to obstruction penalty at the referee’s discretion.
Point penalty — For minor offences or particular cases.
The points are removed from the offending player's overall score. They are not added to the opponents' scores. It doesn't change the table's score.
(1 overall score point is equivalent to 1,000 points at the table.)
E.g. if a player ends the first hanchan with a table score of 40,000 points and is the best ranked at the table, his hanchan score will be 25.
Since it's the first hanchan, his overall score will also be 25 for now.
He will start the second with a table score of 30,000 points (new hanchan) and an overall score of 25.
If he's calling with a dead hand, he gets a 20 points penalty to his overall score. After the penalty he will still have a table score of 30,000 points, but an overall score of only 5.
Minor irregularites are generally not penalized. Please refer to Section 5 on Etiquette and tournament rules
Dead hand — When the offending player's hand cannot continue normally.
The offending player can no longer make a chow, pung, kong, declare riichi nor win during this hand. This includes the interdiction to declare a concealed kong. If the player has not declared riichi, he can still choose the tiles he discards. The hand is noten.
Some irregularities that are not punished by chombo result instead in a dead hand. A player who has a dead hand is not allowed to declare a win, kong, pung or chow, and can never be considered tenpai.
The following irregularites result in a dead hand:
• too few or too many tiles on the hand
• exposing tiles from an opponent’s hand or from the dead wall
• making an invalid kong, pung or chow
Chonbo — When other players' hands cannot continue normally.
20 points penalty and the hand is re-dealt. The point penalty is handled as described in the point penalty section.
Riichi bets are returned to the players who declared riichi. No continuance counter is placed, and the dealer does not rotate. There is no "mangan payment".
• If a chonbo occurs simultaneously with a win, the chonbo is voided: the offending player is not penalized, the winning hand is scored, and the seat rotation is resolved normally.
• If a chonbo occurs simultaneously with an exhaustive draw, there is no noten payment and no continuance counters are added. The hand is re-dealt.
Disqualification — When the tournament cannot continue normally.
The offending player is not allowed to play anymore for the whole tournament.
He will not be listed in the ranking.
Relevant organizations, like the national federation he depends on, will be informed.
Severe offenses are punished by chombo, after which there is a re-deal of the current hand. If a win is declared at the same time as a chombo occurs, the chombo is voided.
The chombo penalty is the same size as a mangan payment: 4000 to East, 2000 to other players. If the offending player is East, 4000 is payed to each of the other players.
The following offences are subject to chombo penalty:
• invalidly declaring a win
• declaring riichi on a hand that is not waiting (determined only in case of a drawn game)
• making an invalid concealed kong after declaring riichi (determined only if the offender wins or in case of a drawn game)
• exposing more than five tiles from the wall, the dead wall, the player’s or opponents’ hands
• claiming a tile after the hand has been declared a dead hand
After a chombo riichi bets are returned to the players who declared riichi, and there is a re-deal. No counter is placed, and the dealer does not rotate.
5Etiquette and tournament rules
A player making a call, including riichi and concealed kong declarations, but being unable to perform the claimed action will be penalized for "empty call".
|• Empty call for a chow, pung or kong:||Not penalized|
|• Empty concealed kong declaration:||Not penalized|
|• Empty riichi declaration:||Not penalized|
|• Empty call for a win, if the hand is still concealed:||Dead hand|
|• Empty call for a win, if the hand has been shown:||Chonbo|
Swap-calling is determined when the player discards, and results in a dead hand. The melded group and the discarded tile cannot be changed.
Empty calls for kong, pung or chow (calling kong, pung or chow and regretting it immediately before revealing any tiles) are not penalized.
Empty calls for ron or tsumo (calling ron, tsumo or mahjong, but not showing the tiles before realising the mistake) results in a Dead Hand.
A player must use a valid term for calling a win. A player calling “Ippatsu” and revealing his tiles is subject to chombo penalty. A player immediately correcting an invalid term, e.g. “Hu –I mean tsumo” or “Ippatsu – I mean ron” have a valid hand. Players confusing the terms “ron” and “tsumo” have a valid hand, but it should be pointed out that a valid term should be used and repeated offenses of this type are subject to further penalty at the referee’s discretion.
Melding a group that is neither a chow, pung nor kong, or declaring a false concealed kong, results in a dead hand. After discarding, the invalid group cannot be changed.
The player can correct his mistake as long as he hasn't discarded. If he makes the claimed group, he will not be penalized. If he retracts the call, it will be treated as an empty call.
Changing a call:
Calls cannot be changed. If the player is unable to perform the first call, he will be penalized for "empty call". He cannot do the second call.
However, a player can correct himself if he used an incorrect word. The correction must immediately follow the call.
- A player saying "chii, no! I mean pon" have successfully corrected himself: he can make the pung and won't be penalized.
- Saying "ron", taking time, then saying "pon" will be considered as changing a call: the player must do the ron, or be penalized for "empty call". If he melds the pung, he will have to take it back.
Calls are not supposed to be changed. The first call should be the valid one. However, unless the call was for winning, a quick correction is allowed.
A player calling “pung, no ron” has made a valid correction of his call, and the ron call is valid.
A player calling “ron, no pung” has made a call for winning.The player can claim the tile for ron, but not for pung. If he doesn't have a winning hand, he has a Dead Hand if no tiles were revealed or if two tiles for the pung call was revealed. If the player has revealed all his tiles in this case, he receives a chombo penalty.
|The valid terms for calling a chow are:||"chii".|
|The valid terms for calling a pung are:||"pon".|
|The valid terms for calling or declaring a kong are:||"kan".|
|The valid terms for declaring riichi are:||"riichi", "reach".|
|The valid terms for winning on a claimed tile are:||"ron".|
|The valid terms for winning on a self-drawn tile are:||"tsumo".|
Players are encouraged to use the valid terms.
Using alternative terms is not penalized, as long as the player makes clear what he is intending to do.Calling with a dead hand (including concealed kong and riichi declaration):
|• If the hand was not formally declared to be dead:||Not penalized, the call is voided.|
|• If the hand was formally declared to be dead:||20 points penalty, the game continues.|
5.1Errors in claiming tiles
When claiming a tile for kong, pung or chow the player first calls “kong”, “pung” or “chow” clearly, The calls “kan”, “pon” or “chi” are equally valid. Secondly the player reveals the matching tiles from the hand and thirdly discards a tile from the hand and claim the tile called for. For the third step the order of the two actions is not important: the player can take the claimed tile first and then discard, or the other way round.
Errors in the order above when claiming tiles should be pointed out to the player, but there will be no penalty.
Wrong tile count:
|• Not taking a claimed tile before the next two players have made a discard: Dead hand|
|• Having too many or too few tiles: Dead hand|
5.1.1Failing to take the claimed tile
While a player who claims a tile can make a discard before placing the claimed tile with his revealed tiles, the player should take the tile before the next two players have made a discard. Failing to take the tile in a timely manner results in a Dead Hand, since the player will have a false set.
Wrongly revealing or picking tiles:
|• Few tiles:||Not penalized|
|• If the game cannot fairly continue:||Chonbo|
|• During dealing, if it's a problem:||re-deal, no penalty|
Wrongly revealed or picked tiles are placed back where they came from.
The penalty for wrongly revealing tiles does not apply while building the walls, before the dice are thrown to break the wall.
If too many tiles are exposed, the play cannot continue. If more than five tiles are revealed from the wall, the dead wall or from the player’s or opponent’s hand, the offending player receives a chombo penalty. If the mistake happened due to no mistake on a player’s part, there is a re-deal (like chombo, but without any point penalty).
5.2.1Exposing tiles from the wall
Exposed tiles are placed back in the wall where they came from.
5.2.2Exposing tiles from the dead wall
Exposed tiles are placed back in the dead wall. The offending player has a Dead Hand. The dead hand should be declared clearly immediately after the mistake, so that all players are aware of it, since it may not otherwise be obvious.
5.2.3Exposing tiles from player’s own hand
Exposed tiles are placed back in the hand.
5.2.4Exposing tiles from an opponent’s hand
Exposed tiles are placed back in the hand. The offending player has a dead hand.
5.2.5Picking a tile from the wrong part of the wall.
If the mistake is realised or pointed out before the discard, the mistake should be corrected. After the discard the error cannot be corrected. In either case there is no penalty, except if a tile from the dead wall was revealed. If the wrongly picked tile is from the dead wall, the offending player has a Dead Hand. The dead hand should be declared clearly immediately after the mistake, so that all players are aware of it, since it may not otherwise be obvious.
Wrong riichi declaration:
|• Not placing the 1,000 points bet:||Not penalized, the mistake should be corrected.|
|• Not saying "riichi" or "reach":||Not penalized.|
|• Not rotating the discard:||Not penalized, the mistake should be corrected.|
|• Declaring riichi on an open hand:||Not penalized, the riichi declaration is voided.|
|• Declaring riichi on a noten hand (noten riichi):||Chonbo. ※|
|• Invalid concealed kong after having declared riichi:||Chonbo.|
In case a player forgets to rotate his discard and if the tile to rotate is unknown, the earliest discarded tile among the supposed ones is chosen regarding furiten.
When a riichi declaration is voided, the player takes back his riichi bet and will not get a noten riichi penalty.
Cases of noten riichi and invalid kong are only determined if the player wins or if there is an exhaustive draw.
※ The noten riichi penalty does not apply if the player's hand is noten solely due to a dead hand penalty occurring after the riichi declaration. To prove this, the player will have to show his hand, else he would be penalized normally for noten riichi. The player still pays for being noten, and if he's East the deal rotates.
Penalty at the referee discretion. Minor cases would not be penalized.
It is permissible to correct a player who is about to commit a minor irregularity or etiquette error.
It is permissible to make it clear if a player has a dead hand.
Passing information or hints on opponents’ strategy in any way, e.g. on tenpai status, whether discards are dangerous or what yaku someone might be aiming for is bad behaviour and in serious or repeated cases the player is subject to dead hand or point penalties at the referee’s discretion. Normally the opponents should give the offending player a clear warning and in serious or repeated cases call a referee who can choose to penalize the player.
It is permissible to correct a player who is about to commit a minor irregularity or etiquette error, e.g. picking a tile from the wrong place in the wall, claiming a false set or forgetting to take a replacement tile.
It is permissible to make it clear if a player has a dead hand, e.g. too many or too few tiles.
A player caught cheating will be disqualified immediately.
Penalty at the referee discretion.
Repeated obstructive behaviour can result in disqualification.
Don't abuse the rules.
Don't exploit loop-holes in the rules.
Fault due to another player's fault:
In case a player commits a fault due to another player's fault, the suitable penalty is at the referee's discretion.
Point penalty at the referee's discretion, depending on the level of disturbance.
Using an electronic device (walkman, ...):
Penalty at the referee's discretion.
5.5Cheating and obstruction
Cheating and obstruction are disruptive disturbances of a tournament and deliberate disturbances should be punished hard.
A player caught cheating should be immediately disqualified; but it is a very serious accusation so the evidence must be clear.
Deliberate obstructive behaviour is penalized at the referee’s discretion with point penalties of 8000 or 12,000 points (chombo level), or in serious or repeated cases with point penalties between 12,000 and 48,000. These point penalties are deducted from the offending player’s score immediately, thus possibly affecting ranking at the table. The points are not added to the other players’s scores. Further repeated obstructive behaviour results in immediate disqualification.
Being late for a hanchan:
|• Being late by one to ten minutes:||One (1) point penalty per minute.|
|• Being late by more than ten minutes:||Replacement by a substitute player for the hanchan.|
5.6Being late at a tournament
A player who is late by 10 minutes or less is subject to a point deduction of 1000 points per minute he is late. Thus a player who is 1 minute late has 1000 points deducted from his score, while a player who is 10 minutes late has 10000 points deducted from his score. These point penalties are deducted from the offending player’s score immediately, thus possibly affecting ranking at the table. The points are not added to the other players’s scores.
A player who is late by more than 10 minutes is replaced by a substitute player.
Missing a hanchan and substitute players:
Substitute players are scored normally and then not included in the ranking.
The player missing the hanchan doesn't get any point and will have a 30 points penalty.
This penalty is not cumulative with the 10 points penalty for being late ten minutes. A player who is late by ten minutes and is substituted will only have a 30 points penalty for missing the hanchan.
At the head referee discretion, a player intentionally missing a hanchan without good reason can be disqualified for obstruction; especially if he leaves the table when his score is below the penalty, or if the penalty doesn't make a real difference regarding his current overall score.
If it is clear to the organizers that a player won’t be able to play, e.g. due to illness, a substitute player will take his place.
Substitute players’ session results will always be entered in the tournament score keeping as 0 points and -30,000 uma.
However, at the table the substitute’s score will count for determining the opponents’s uma if the substitute played from the beginning of the session (also if the substitution was due to more than 10 minutes lateness). E.g. if the substitute wins the table, the other players will get umas of 10,000, -10,000 and -30,000. So when enterering the results, two players will have uma of -30,000 and no one will have the winner uma of 30,000 in this case.
Substitute players who are substituted after the playing has begun at the table (e.g. if a player falls ill during the session, or in case a player is disqualified), will always receive the -30,000 uma, meaning that the other three players will get the 30,000, 10,000 and -10,000 uma even if the substitute scored the most point at the table. This is only the case in the session where the substitution occurs after play has begun. In later sessions, the substitute will play from the beginning of the sessions, and the substitutes result will count when determining the opponent’s umas.
A disqualified player will be ranked at the bottom of the result list and the result will count for the EMA ranking list.
A player who was substituted will receive 0 points and an uma of -30,000 points for each session missed. In case of illness the head referee and the tournament organizers may decide to remove the player’s name from the final results, so that it will not count for the player’s EMA ranking.