Chombo 「冲合/錯和」 is a penalty for game rule violations. Some mistakes may be considered minor and correctable, like accidentally drawing the wrong tile from the wall. Chombo violations are usually severe enough to restart the current hand.

Chombo by Kyuu, ron called while having no yaku.


Chombo penalties are often severe enough to warrant a hand restart. For example, say you declare an incorrect ron and reveal your hand. By revealing the hand, you affect other players' strategy, because the available tile count would be adjusted. If you had a triplet of 3-pin, and someone was waiting on 3-pin, they now know that winning is unlikely. In addition, revealing your tiles can make certain other tiles safer. For this reason, a chombo is awarded. Minor infractions are given a dead hand penalty instead.

In all instances of chombo, the current hand is aborted and repeated. Players who have declared riichi during the aborted hand get their riichi bet back. Most rules leave the honba count unchanged for the repeat.

In casual settings, the game isn't as serious, so penalizing players for chombo can be skipped if desired.

Point Penalty

A player penalized with chombo must pay a specified point penalty. The most common is a mangan-sized penalty, i.e. a "reverse mangan tsumo". A non-dealer must pay non-dealers 2000 points and the dealer 4000 points. A dealer with chombo must pay 4000 points to each player. Some tournaments/professional leagues may have a higher penalty.

When chombo is applied will depend on the rules. The simplest case is to adjust points directly after the game ends. To save time, the chombo adjustment may be done after the entire game ends (along with oka and uma).

The 8000 point penalty is not flat, and may be adjusted as needed. For instance, intentionally committing chombo to disrupt another player's yakuman could be viable for the "cost" of 8000 points. In this case, a tournament judge could eject the player or increase the penalty value.

Infraction cases

A number of instances can place a player under chombo. All of these can be noted as "improper play" and a disregard of the game rules. Often, the penalties are accidental, but intentional penalized plays are also to be noted.


Cheating is very much possible, such as "wall rigging" (deliberating placing tiles so you can draw them), or switching tiles from the wall. Many of tricks involve the sleight of hand. The most skilled cheaters have the ability to perform these tricks with minimal detection, if any.

Tournament judges might decide on an even more severe punishment than chombo or disqualify the cheater.

Invalid win

Players cannot declare a win with an incomplete hand or on an incorrect waiting tile. The following conditions are deemed as invalid win:

  • The hand must have at least one yaku minimum to win. Therefore, declaring a win on a hand without yaku is penalized.
  • A player in furiten cannot win by ron. Instead, by the rule of furiten, a player is limited to winning via tsumo. Declaring ron while furiten is penalized.
  • Declaring a win with a noten hand is definitely subject to chombo.

Invalid call

Making an invalid call may be subjected to chombo. Showing the incorrect tiles for a certain call can be easily corrected if the player can still make a meld with that call, but if a call was made and the resulting meld is illegal, then chombo applies.


  • Shimocha drops   and player calls pon, then shows   : Minor mistake. Can be corrected by revealing the   
  • Shimocha drops   and player calls pon, then shows   : Chombo is applied.

Noten riichi

Technically, players may declare riichi at any time. However, it is only legal with a tenpai hand. Declaring riichi with a noten hand is not detected by the other players immediately. It may go unpunished if another player wins the hand, another player commits a chombo, or on an abortive draw occurs. When the game enters ryuukyoku, or when an incorrect ron is made, the noten riichi is revealed and chombo applied. Of course, if a spectator notices the noten riichi, the penalty would also apply.

Unrevealed riichi

If the hand ends in ryuukyoku, riichi declarers must show their hands as proof of being in tenpai. Depending on the specific rules, a player may refuse to show the hand and instead take the penalty, even when tenpai.

Invalid ankan

During riichi, a player may call kan with an ankan, or closed kan. However, this is invalid when the player's wait changes. Typically, this occurs when the four concealed tiles are connected to another tile grouping. Other players cannot detect this rules violation immediately, and it is punished at the same time as a noten riichi.

Example: Riichi is declared.

  •   If this tile is drawn, then it is acceptable to call kan in this instance.
  •   If this tile is drawn, then it is unacceptable to call kan. In fact, it is much better to simply call tsumo and win the hand.

Calling with a dead hand

Lesser infractions are penalized by agari houki, or a "dead hand". In this case, players are no longer allowed to make tile calls or win. Violation of the dead hand results in chombo, though.

Wall destruction

A player may not crash and destroy the wall, such that the tile arrangement cannot be recovered. This is by far one of the worst infractions, as the act ruins the game completely. The intentional act of destroying the wall may be considered to be extremely rude and renders an otherwise enjoyable game into a confrontational one. Here, a player may not just incur a penalty but also be ejected.

Other cases

A number of other instances may be included as penalties. These adjustments may differ from setting to setting, as hosts have the discretion to declare certain actions worthy of chombo penalties or less.

Rule variations

The enforcement of chombo may vary among different groups and play conditions. More casual games and/or with newer players, the rule of chombo may be completely disregarded. Many will adopt the mangan tsumo penalty, while others may enforce even stricter penalties. The enforcement of chombo itself may be applied immediately upon the incursion or reserved for after the game. Also, the amount penalized for chombo may vary. Some settings may punish offenders for amounts greater than mangan. Overall, the enforcement and implementation of chombo depends on the setting.

External links

Chombo in Japanese Wikipedia