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By Tom Sloper
June 18, 2017

Column #679

American Mah Jongg (2017 NMJL card). You know the drill: an opponent's progress is showing. Defend!

1. She could be working on Odds #2... or Quints #4. Her hot tiles are fives, threes, and R.

2. Gotta be Evens #2. Her hot tiles are 4D 6B.

3. Gotta be Odds #2. Her hot tiles are 1D 5C.

4. The mind leaps to Evens, and the eyes spot Evens #4. The inquiring mind also identifies Consec #7 but discounts it; a player doesn't have to defend against an exposed Concealed hand (if she calls for 4B or R or soap, she's dead and you can't be blamed for her death). Back to Evens again: her hot tiles are twos, fours, and eights in dots and craks. Twos and fours are key tiles; if you see one of her twos or fours dead on the table, you can cross off one of her options, which tells you which tiles are safe to discard.

5. Just one possibility: Odds #4. Her hot tiles are F 7D.

6. Consecutive numbers fairly scream the Consecutive Runs family. This one could be Consec #2... or it could be Consec #1. But you can look for clues on the table, since Consec #1 requires pairs. 5C and 9C are key tiles. Her other hot tiles are fours and fives and eights and nines in the other two suits. And 8C, too.

7. Not hard to find: Odds #1. Her hot tiles are 1B 5B 9B (the terminals* are key tiles).

8. First instinct should be Evens #5. But on second thought, don't forget Consec #1. But as discussed in problem #4 above, don't bother worrying about Consec #7. Her hot tiles are twos, fours, and dragons in craks and bams, as well as 5D 7D 9D (5D and 9D being key).

9. You're probably thinking Like Numbers, but what about 369 #5? Her hot tiles are F G 3B 6B 9B (bams are key).

10. Two possibilities: W-D #6, and 2017 #2. The hot tiles are F and G, and twos, ones, and sevens. And Lordy, if you get a soap, don't discard it (that would be dangerous!) - redeem it and take one of her jokers.

*In mah-jongg jargon, "terminals" are ones and nines. The tiles in between are called "simples."

A tip o' the hat to Barbara Marshall for spotting a typo!

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Join Johni Levene's popular Facebook group, "Mah Jongg, That's It!" for lively conversations about American mah-jongg and all things mah-jongg.

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.

© 2017 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.