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By Tom Sloper

October 10, 2004

Column #183

American mah-jongg (2004 NMJL card). Nora griped, "I should have won that hand. I started with nothing, turned it into a hand, and was waiting. Darn!"

Here's what she was dealt:

The problem with mah-jongg is you often get a hand like this. One pair, and a couple of jokers. It makes you think you have something, when you actually don't. Would you pass what Nora passed? See answer #1, below.

In return, she got W 8B 6C. Would you target the families she did? See answer #2. By the end of the Charleston and courtesy:

Either way she'd go with these, she'd need flowers. And maybe a pair of 3C. She'd have to see what she'd pick. Seven picks later:

A 3C went out but Nora couldn't take it. A short time later, an 8C went out. Decision time! Would you do what she did? See answer #3.

Twelve turns later, Sophia threw 9C.

No quiz this time. Of course Nora konged it. Discarding 6C, she needed F to win.

Then Sophia picked a tile and said "Maj."

Thus began Nora's griping.

1. The three worst tiles in Nora's hand were 2C 4C 2B. Just one problem - that's an awfully nice pass (Esther might well be able to build a 2468 hand from it). Nora's philosophy was to try to help herself over not helping others, so she passed it anyway.

2. At this point Nora had:

This could be 369 #1 or consecutives #4 (she knew she'd need flowers). She decided to pass W 7C 8B.

3. The 3Cs were not coming in, so she went for the run.

Note: one tile from the "nice pass" Nora initially gave to Esther made its way into Sophia's winning hand. But Nora's hand was far-fetched from the start.

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© 2004 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.