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By Tom Sloper
April 27, 2014

Column #602

American Mah Jongg (2014 NMJL card). In column 599, I discussed hand structures in the NMJL card. I'm currently discussing the defensive strategy of two-pung exposures, and I thought it would be good to examine two-pung exposures in conjunction with the hand structures of the 2014 card, in general. In column 599, I briefly mentioned the yearly alternating structure of Consec. #1. This hand traditionally alternates between a 2-3-4-3-2 structure and a 2-2-3-3-4 structure:

This year it's the latter. And, notably, this 2-2-3-3-4 pattern occurs quite a lot on the 2014 card. It occurs twice in 2468, twice in Consec., three times in 13579, and two times in Winds-Dragons. So, what is the impact of this recurring structure on defensive strategy? As it turns out, there are a few places where two pungs of a 2-2-3-3-4 hand can be confused for some other hand on the card.

The key to this defensive analysis is whether the two pungs are consecutive, or two numbers apart, and use one suit or two. First, let's consider consecutive pungs in one suit. Clearly, any such hand can only be found in the Consecutive Runs family. There is no 3-3-4-4 hand in the 2014 card's Consec. section, so look at Consec. #6 - the only times when it can be confused with Consec. #1 is when Consec. #6 is made with threes, fours, and fives, or sevens, eights, and nines. Any other one-suit consecutive pung combination cannot be confused for anything except Consec. #6.

Now consider pungs two numbers apart, in one suit: these combos are found only in Evens and Odds. The only opportunity for confusing (or being confused by) an opponent is when the pungs are fives and sevens (Odds #1 or Odds #5). Other than this combo, any two-apart one-suit two-pung exposure is a dead giveaway.

Now consider pungs two numbers apart, in two suits: these combos are found only in Consec. and Odds (Consec. #2 and Odds #2, neither of which is a 2-2-3-3-4 hand). So the only time a two-apart two-suit two-pung exposure can misdirect is when there are ones and threes or fives and sevens.

Due to the way this year's card is designed, then, there aren't a lot of places where two-pung exposures can mislead or confuse.

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