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By Tom Sloper

January 2, 2005

Column #195

American mah-jongg (2004 NMJL card). In this first column of 2005, your humble writer would like to introduce the concept of the "reverse resolution." That's a resolution that I make, for other people. I guess I could have called it a New Year's "noituloser" ("resolution" spelled backwards), but, well, maybe you can see why that wasn't a winning option.

First, we are visited by a mah-jongg player from a New Year past; let's call her "Alberta." (Hey, it's a name that starts with A, okay?) Alberta wrote me about a situation in her weekly game. East had previously exposed a pung of dragons with a joker, and now she'd exposed a pung of fours -- also with a joker.

South called East dead: "That's a concealed hand." East slapped her own forehead and conceded the point. On her turn, Alberta tried to redeem her 4C for the exposed joker and was told she couldn't. Thus her emailed plea to me. I hereby "reverse resolve" that Alberta's group will pool their funds and buy a copy of the official NMJL rulebook.

Next, we are visited by a mah-jongg player from a New Year future; we'll call her "Babs." (Be cool; it's just a name that starts with B, see?) Babs had a question about when a discard could be taken back. West had two exposures: a kong of threes and a pung of fours in the same suit (but not in that order).

North was discarding a tile. She touched the tile to the tabletop and said, "One b..." When all of a sudden she noticed West's exposures. North hedged. "Um, no." She put the tile back in her rack and started to discard a different tile. West held up a hand. "The tile was down. You can't take it back." An unhappy event ensued, thus Babs wrote me. My "reverse resolution" for Babs is... that her group will buy a copy of the NMJL rulebook.

Finally, we are visited by a mah-jongg player from New Year present. Charlotte (as we choose to call her) was holding a ready hand.

With the jokers in her hand as shown above, she thought she was waiting for 8B. North discarded: "Flower." Charlotte was noshing, and it took a moment for this to register. West picked a tile and looked at it. Charlotte sprayed cracker crumbs: "Maj!" West objected. "Too late." Thus your humble writer's "reverse resolution" for Charlotte's group. Buy the NMJL rulebook. Every table should have a copy.

* * *

1. The Red joker is still alive but the 4C joker is dead. ...Okay, so this one isn't in the rulebook. It was given several times in the NMJL newsletter sent out every January (1997, 1999, 2000, 2002).
2. Once a tile has touched the tabletop, it is down. Read the rulebook. Page 18.
3. Looking at a picked tile does not close the window of opportunity. Read the rulebook. Page 18.

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Haven't ordered the 2005 NMJL card yet? Read FAQ 7i.

Need rules for American mah-jongg? Go to AND see FAQ 19 for fine points of the American rules (and commonly misunderstood rules). AND get the booklet from the NMJL (see FAQ 3).

© 2005 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.