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By Tom Sloper
April 17, 2016

Column #651

American Mah Jongg (2016 NMJL card). How would you defend against these exposures?

1. You're probably thinking Evens #1, but never forget Consecutives; this might be Consec. #4. In addition to F 2D and 4D, other hot tiles are sevens and dragons in craks and bams. Before you discard any of those, look for clues. 2D and 4D are key tiles (because she needs pairs, if either is dead on the table, she can't make Evens #1). Don't waste any time thinking about Consec. #6, because that's not a danger (it's a Concealed hand).

2. There are three possibilities with these exposures: Like Nos., Elevens, and Odds. With all those possibilities, it's very hard to know what tiles she's waiting for. Nines, twos, ones, fives, and sevens. There are pairs in each hand (nines, ones, and sevens), but otherwise clues will be hard to come by. Rotsa ruck!

3. Two possibilities. W-D #1, of course, and 2016 #2. Keys: she'll need a pair of S, or a pair of F and one soap (as well as some other things), and those are things you can be on the lookout for. It's unusual for flowers to go visibly dead since there are so many of them, but if that happens (or if all the soaps show up), you know she has to be going W-D #1. Or if more than two Souths make an appearance, you know she must be going 2016.

4. An obvious giveaway. There's only one hand she can be doing: 2016 #3. But how are you going to determine which suits she's using for the twos, ones, and sixes?

5. Sevens and nines. First thought: Odds #2, right? Don't stop thinking there; never forget Consecutives. It could also be Consec. #3. Eights are key tiles. Count every eight that comes out.

6. Sixes and nines; must be 369 #2, right? Or maybe #4. Yeah, well, never forget Consecutives! This could be Consec. #2, the most powerful hand on the card. 3D and 6D are key tiles; if either one goes dead on the table, you know she's not making 369 #4.

7. Sevens and nines. There are two Odds hands (#2 and #6), and two Consec. hands (#2 and #5). Key tiles to look for: 1C 3C 7C 8C. If either 1C or 3C is dead, Odds #6 is out. If either 7C or 8C is out, you can stop worrying about Consec. #5.

8. Could be Consec. #4 or Odds #4. Key tiles: 5C 9C 5D 9D. If one of those is dead, you can rule out one way of making Odds #4.

A tip o' the Sloper hat to sharp-eyed reader Libby S.!

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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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