In the random choice and its alternative wave-front tracking methods, approximate solutions are constructed by solving exactly or approximately the Riemann problem in each neighborhood of a certain finite set of jump points depending on the time. In order to obtain global in time BV solutions, one has to get a priori estimates for the total variation in *x* at the time *t* of approximate solutions, which is, roughly speaking, the summation of amplitudes of waves at *t* constituting the solutions to the Riemann problems. Since amplitudes may increase through the interaction of neighboring waves, the crucial point is to estimate the amplitudes of outgoing waves by those of incoming waves in a single Riemann solution, which is called the *local interaction estimates*.

The aim of this note is to provide a detailed description of the Riemann problem to the equations of polytropic gas dynamics and a complete proof of the basic lemmas on which the local interaction estimates are based. Although all of them, except for Lemmas 4.2 and 5.1, are presented in T.-P. Liu (Indiana Univ. Math. J. 26:147–177, 1977), that paper is difficult and not well understood even at the present day in spite of its importance. For the sake of completeness, this note includes proofs of the local interaction estimates.