|By Tom Sloper
June 23, 2019
American Mah Jongg (2019 NMJL card). Charleston exercises.
1. Going by the four steps, we see there's a pair of fours, and a pung of sixes in a second suit. They clearly go together for either Evens or Consec. Step 0 says since there are no jokers, consider S&P - okay, done (nothing that uses a pung, and nothing that uses pairs of fours and sixes in different suits). So stay with plan A. Keep all evens, keep 7B, and hang onto F and soap for now.
2. The only pair is S; it doesn't have enough "friends" to warrant going that way. Scanning the tiles for card patterns, there's a zero, but not a solid "2019," and not enough friends for that family. There are five lows and five highs, five odds and five evens. Garbage hand; look for Consec #2 possibilities. When desperate, think about the unthinkable: like for instance, passing S S 0. If you're not that desperate, choose to keep high or low by mentally flipping a coin.
3. Pair of F, pair of 3B. Where can those be used together with one another, and what other tiles in the hand can work with the combo? There's 369 #4. Trying out Consec #s 3, 5, and 6 gets us nowhere. Same with Odds #3 and Any Like. But we have just five tiles for 369 #4 (same for Consec #3). I'd keep all those dots, and the dragon. That leaves 7B 7C E to pass.
4. No pairs. A lot of low numbers, so 6B and 9D can go. I'm loath to pass dragons or flowers in the first pass, so a low number has to go. Keep the ones for Any Like, keep 4B 5B for Consec #5. Passers: 4D 9D 6B.
5. More evens than odds, more lows than highs. The E pair may be a red herring. Five tiles towards Evens #1. Pass E 1B 9B.
6. One pair: eights. What's friends with eights: evens and highs, of course. Keep them all, pass 1D 3D S.
7. Two pairs: ones and matching dragons. Of course they're friends with one another (Any Like, Consec #5, Odds #3). But no additional helpers at all (just those four tiles in all three hands). So: what's friends with just the ones? (Besides the dragons.) Answer: not much, maybe 3D. What's friends with just the dragons? (Besides the ones.) Answer: 3D 9D. Sometimes the mah-jongg goddesses don't give you anything to work with. Not much you can do. I'd pass 4C N E.
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