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By Tom Sloper
July 5, 2015

Column #638

American Mah Jongg (2015 NMJL card). I've been blessed this summer by an extra busy work schedule. I welcome the work and the pay, but it means I can't always post a new column every week. My apologies to loyal but silent readers who look forward to a weekly mind game. But enough about me. Let's do some defense by the numbers. What do you do when you see these exposures on an opponent's rack?

1. G and F are hot. Odds #3. F is key; what I mean by that is, if you see more than six of them dead on the table, you can call her dead. (And yes, you should; it's good strategy.) The only problem with F being key is that there are 8 flowers, so you have a lot more tiles you have to count. Keep an eye on the flowers.

2. Evens, right? Two possible hands: #3 and #5. Hot tiles are fours and sixes in dots and craks, as well as G and F. F, fours, and sixes are all key; if any goes dead, you know how her options are limited, and you can discard accordingly.

3. Don't bother looking in Odds. This is Sevens #3. 4B and F are hot. 4B is key.

4. Evens #1 or #4. Hot tiles are 2D 8D F (for #1), 2B 4B 2C 4C 8B 8C (for #4). Twos, fours, and eights are key; if you see more than two dead on the table, her chances are limited.

5. W-D #3; N and S are hot.

6. 369 #2. 3C and 9D are hot.

7. Odds #2. 5D and 9B are hot.

8. Like Numbers. 8B and F are hot; F is key.

9. Quints #2. She needs 7B 8B 9B. She needs only one 7B and one 8B, but she needs a pair of 9B. See FAQ 16 if you don't understand.

10. Quints #3. Don't throw any winds! All are hot.

11. Three possible hands: 2015 #1, W-D #2, and W-D #3. Figure it out.

12. Concealed hand; call her dead.

Thanx and a tip o' the Sloper hat to sharp-eyed readers Bee and Libby!

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Need rules for American mah-jongg? Tom Sloper's book, The Red Dragon & The West Wind, is the most comprehensive book about the American game, including official rules not included in the official rulebook. AND see FAQ 19 for fine points of the American rules (and commonly misunderstood rules). AND get the official rulebook from the NMJL (see FAQ 3).

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