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By Tom Sloper
May 7, 2017

Column #673

American Mah Jongg (2017 NMJL card). Continuing defense by the numbers. Last week we had exposures of ones through sixes, so...

1. Like Numbers or 2017. Hot tiles are F 2C soap 1C 7C red. The key tile principle works better for pairs than singles, but obviously if you see any of her 2017 singles dead on the table, you know she's doing LN.

2. Sure looks like Evens #4. But could also be Consec #4. Hot tiles are 2D 4D 4C 6D 7D 7C. Both hands need pairs, which means there are key tiles to look for: the dots. If any one of her pairs is dead, she's doing the other hand (unless one of those pairs is dead too, in which case you can and should call her dead).

3. Nines and flowers. There are no 4-F hands in LN, Odds, or 369, so the only possibles here are Thirteens #1 and Consec #5. Her hot tiles are fours, ones, threes, 8D, soap. The s are soap, ones, and threes. As noted previously, the 13 makes for single keys.

4. Nah, I was messin' with ya when I said "by the numbers" and then followed nines with soaps, 'cuz these soaps aren't zeroes; they're just white dragons. The only section on the card where soaps can be zeroes (other than the bottom S&P hand) is 2017, and this doesn't fit there. This is Odds #3. Her hot tiles are 5B 7B 9C, with the bams being key.

5. Sequential kongs are at home in Consec only. Because this is a terminal sequence, it's obvious what she needs; 3D and F. Flowers make lousy keys (you'd have to see seven dead flowers).

6. Evens #2, no two ways about it. 4C and 6D are hot.

7. A kong with a subsequential same-suit pung; Consec #1. She needs 1B 2B 5B; ones and fives are key.

8. Again with the four Fs. And again, two possibles: Thirteens #2 and Consec #5. This time her hot tiles are eights, ones, threes, fours, sixes, and soap. What you need are clues. If Thirteens: one suit or three?

9. Top suspect: 369 #4. But don't ignore good old Consec #2. Hot tiles: 7B 8C 3D 6D 3B. Dots are key.

10. Too obvious; this can only be 2017 #1. She needs soap and 1D.

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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 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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