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By Tom Sloper
December 18, 2016

Column #661

American Mah Jongg (2016 NMJL card). Watched It's A Wonderful Life recently. George and Mary danced the Charleston while the floor opened up under their feet. Of course, they got all wet, but it still made me want to dance! Here's the deal (all four players):

1.1. Following the four steps, we first make note of the pair (R). What in this hand goes well with the pair? Maybe threes, sixes (for Like Numbers or 369). There are low evens worth hanging onto. Long shot: Consecutive Runs #4 (2-3-4-D, bams and craks). Of course the winds can go. Let's say the pass is W N 2D.

2.1. Here, the pair is flowers, which aren't used as much on this card as on past cards. Need more clues. Seven odds, only three evens. Seven highs, four lows (counting fives both times). So, low evens can go. Pass S 1C 4B.

3.1. The only pair is G. What's friends with that? Not much. Lot of high numbers, and the hand is more even than odd. Pass N 1D and that lone bam.

4.1. Pairs of threes, not bad. Could go odd, Like Numbers or 369. Pass W 5D 2C.

1.2. No progress on any of the three previously identified options (Like Numbers, 369, Consecutive Runs #4). Maybe something'll come in next pass. Must pass, must eliminate one of those three options. I'd forego 369; pass W 5D 6C.

2.2. High numbers predominate. Still not sure if those flowers are going to be useful. Pass 2D W N across.

3.2. 4B came back. If you'd kept your 4B before, now you'd have pairs of 4B and G; but to what end? Continue keeping highs. Pass S 1C 2C across.

4.2. The new tiles don't go with odds or Like Numbers or 369, and don't point to anything new and interesting; stay the course, and pass 1D 4B N across.

Next time we'll go on to the first right.

I've been writing columns irregularly because of my busy teaching schedule at the university. On break now, but I'm having cancer surgery. So I'm not promising that the next column will go up next week. If not, then the week after, hopefully.

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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Red Dragon & The West Wind, is the most comprehensive book about the American game, including official rules not in the outdated official rulebook.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).

Where to order the yearly NMJL card: Read FAQ 7i.

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