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By Tom Sloper
April 5, 2015

Column #633

American Mah Jongg (2015 NMJL card). Charleston exercises with the new card. Use the Four Step system. What would you pass? Each problem is a stand-alone (not dealt concurrently with any other deals shown).

1. First, check for pairs: there are three (5C 6B R). Are they friends: yes, all three pairs go together to make Consec. #4 (six tiles). Are there any other friends for that hand: no. What other friendships are there here? 5C and 6B go together with F to make Consec. #2 (five tiles); 5C and R go together with F to make Consec. #3 (five tiles). That's enough analysis; move everything else to the right (2C 2B 9B 6D E S), and choose three passers. The Charleston is about elimination.

2. Four pairs (very rare): F 1B E S. Are they all friends: no; 1B seems to be odd man out, six tiles towards W-D #2 (not counting the joker). What other options are there (what other friends)? You could keep soap, 5C, and one of each 1 for a possible 2015 #1; it looks like a lot, but you'd have no more than five usable tiles. Or combine the ones and five and soap and flowers, and muster seven tiles towards 2015 #2. Focus your efforts on 2015; pass 7D E R.

3. Three pairs again; F 2C soap. Those are all friends for 2015 #4 (seven tiles not counting J) and #5 (the same seven tiles), and for Evens #3 (six). Choose three to pass from 6C 3D 9D N. Keep the 3C for now.

4. No pairs. Any obvious friends? No (other than 6B 7B G). Count highs vs. lows: six highs, two lows. Odds vs. evens: six evens, two odds. You can pass 1D W and soap. Soap might give an opponent ideas, but offense has to take priority over defense in the Charleston.

5. Three flowers, two 1Cs; those are friends for Consec. #3 (five tiles), Odds #3 (six) and Sevens #1 (six); including other friends 7C and R. Pass 3B 9D W. The soap is expendable, but better to pass it later.

6. Three pairs: 3D 2B 4B. Those can go together for Consec. #4 (you'll need some soaps). But you could also go for Consec. #1 in bams (six tiles; you'll need a 5B pair). Also: Consec. #5 in bams and craks (only five tiles). All those leave 7D 9D and F in the cold. Some authors say "never pass a flower," but I say "never say never."

7. Odds #3 or 2015 #2; pass 3B 6D S.

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