By Tom Sloper

Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Column #81

On this date in 1876, George Armstrong Custer and 265 cavalrymen met their match at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. So it is fitting that today's column involves "Western" style mah-jongg.

This group requires special hands only (no regular hands allowed), thus they use jokers. Susan found three pairs in her deal.

She saw three or four possibilities with this hand, and chose three tiles to pass accordingly. What hands can she target with these tiles? Answer below.

After the across, she had a pair of 8C as well, and decided she didn't need the 4D anymore. Very soon after the Charleston, Easton threw 4B, and Susan had to make a decision. She counted her possibilities.

She saw clearly that Imperial Jade was her front runner, and taking the 4B definitely helped. So ... "Pung!"

Soon, a 6B went out. She didn't have any sixes, so the only way she could take it would be to use both jokers. And she hated to do that. Fearing she'd regret it, she picked from the wall instead. And was she ever glad she did. She got another joker! A couple of turns later she picked a Green. Soon, another 6B went out. This time she jumped on it. "Pung!" Now she was getting close.

The gods were smiling on her this day. Her next pick was 8B. Throwing the 8C, she was waiting two ways. She could call 3B or G. As it turned out, she picked 8B, konged, and the replacement tile was a Joker. It wasn't Imperial Jade because she didn't have a natural pair of 3B. But Jade Hand isn't bad at all!

Answer: The pairs of fours and eights suggest Up You Go, Imperial Jade, or Jade Hand. She could also target Numbers Racket if she foregoes one of the pairs. She decided to keep the bams, 4d, and G.

Links to sites where Western rules are described (every author's description varies somewhat):

Click the entries in the header frame, above, to read other columns.

Copyright 2003 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.