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By Tom Sloper
December 13, 2015

Column #646

American Mah Jongg (2015 NMJL card). Some years, there are no exposable dragon pungs. But not the 2015 card. Although there are only a few such hands, there are a lot of ways they can manifest themselves. Let us focus on those this week. I guess we can call this the Week Of The Dragon. Or something.

1. Surely it can't be 2015 #5, right? Because that's a concealed hand (and surely she wouldn't be making that mistake!). But when you look at the other dragon pung hands, there's nothing else that fits. Can't be Consec. #4 because the number pung has to be a middle number of a three-number sequence, and One is a terminal. So... call her dead. Readers often question this, but you really should, because if you don't, she can mess with everybody's chances (not to mention yours).

2. Surely it can't be 2015 #5, so look for other possibilities. Like Consec. #4, for instance. Her hot tiles are ones and threes in the other two suits.

3. This one could never be 2015 #5, since it has red dragons in it. Consec. #4 again? Perhaps. Or perhaps 369 #1. Her hot tiles are fives and sevens in the other two suits, and 3C and 9C.

4. Not 2015 or 369, so has to be Consec. #4. The hot tiles are fours and sixes in the other two suits.

5. Can't be Consec. #4, since nine is a terminal. Can't be 369 #1, since the pung has to be a six. Call her dead.

6. There are just three exposable dragon pung hands on the card, so this has to be Consec. #4. Her hot tiles are 3C and 2D, clearly.

7. Think this has to be 369 #1? No; that's a one-suit hand. This can only be Consec. #4, and her hot tiles are 1B 5B 2C 4C. Look for clues.

8. Her hot tiles are F 3B 6B 9B. Those are all key tiles, because she needs a pair of every one of them; if any one of them has gone dead on the table (you can see three or more of that tile), you can call her dead.

9. 369 #1; her hot tiles are 6D and 9D.

10. I'll bet you weren't expecting another 369 #1, were you? Well, nobody ever expects the Spanish inquisition! Haha! The hot tiles are 6B and 9B.

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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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