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By Tom Sloper (湯姆 斯洛珀)
1月 19日 2014年 - The Year Of The Snake

Column #592

January 31st is Chinese New Year, the first day of the Year of the Horse. To give you plenty of time to prepare for the celebratory game, I present to you my "Year of the Horse hand" a bit early.

The hand is a concealed hand (none of the "sets" is a legally exposable grouping - the hand is all singles and pairs). For those not familiar with American mah-jongg practices, white dragon is often used as zero to represent a date.

The hand is made of "2014" in any suit (not only in craks), one of each wind ("NEWS"), "2015" in any suit (not necessarily in bams - and could even be the same suit as the 2014), plus a pair of any dragon (could even be white dragon).

Score the hand with maximum value used by your usual mah-jongg rules. In American mah-jongg, that would be 75 (or, if you like, 100). In Chinese Classical or Western/British/Australian rules, treat the Year of the Horse hand as a Limit hand. In Japanese rules, treat it as yakuman (or, if you like, double yakuman). In MCR, treat it as 88 points (maximum score)

In American-style notation, the hand would be written as follows:

2014 NEWS 2015 DD (years any 1 or 2 suits, pr. D any suit)

The Year of the Horse ends February 18, 2015.

Those born in the year of the Rat (like me) and those born in the year of the Ox, the Snake, the Goat, the Monkey, and the Dragon should have a good run this year. But it'll be a spectacular year for Pigs.

Tigers will get a mixed oatbag this year. Rabbits may experience good or bad, depending on the occupation (those in competitive occupations can find ways to transfer negative energy to opponents).

Roosters won't have much to crow about this year. Dogs won't have a lot going on, but it won't be a bad year.

Horses, though, are looking at a difficult run this year, but make the most of it; there are three even worse years coming down the pike. Don't ask me why.

A tip o' the Sloper hat to sharp-eyed reader Connie!


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