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By Tom Sloper
April 28, 2019

Column #719

American Mah Jongg (2019 NMJL card). Charleston exercises with the 2019 card. What would you pass?

1. Look for flower hands (step two of my Four Steps). Seven tiles for Consec #6; will need to get lucky on the pairs of twos. S&P #2, seven tiles. Odds #3, five tiles (two ways); will need to get lucky on the pair of threes. Addition #1, six tiles; will need to get lucky on the pair of 1B. Addition #3, six tiles, two ways. 369 #5, six tiles... and even more ways you can go with this. But you have to choose three tiles to pass, and do it quickly. Go Consec #6 (2-3-2-3), with a 369 backup (because you're keeping threes already). That leaves you these passers to choose from: 5D 8D 1B 4C. If you're worried about passing fives with this fives-hungry card, you can withhold the five for now.

2. No pairs. That soap should be telling you to consider 2019, so look for friends in 2019. And friends are found. Six tiles towards 2019 #1. You can also keep the winds and Red, for the other 2019 hands and the W-D 2019 hand (#2), and pass everything else. Yes, you have to get lucky to pick your own complete 2019, but you have some starters and the wall is long. Your passers are 3D 4B 6B 7B 5C; choose three as you will. (You can hang onto that 5C in hopes you can discard it right after the dance.)

3. Three pairs. Can all be used in one hand? Fives, nines, greens. Odds #4 jumps out. Count: five tiles add up for that hand. Odds in general looks good... but never overlook Consec! Check out Consec S&P #6: there are six tiles here for that one. The passers are 2B 3C 6C W.

4. Three pairs, and it's easy to see that the three don't go together. The twos and fours are friends, but the nines aren't friends with either other pair. There are three hands, each able to utilize six of your tiles. Evens #4 (an old favorite from the past), S&P #2, and S&P #6. These are perhaps the likeliest targets, but of course the Mah-Jongg Goddesses do enjoy thwarting our plans. Did I scare you with those S&P hands? You'll never make them if you never try! If you keep all evens, then you have 1D 9D 9D 1B 7C that you can pass.

5. Three pairs: fours, nines, and Wests. The Wests can go with either number, but not both at the same time. You could go for 2019 #4 (five of your tiles work for that), or S&P #1 (you have six tiles for that one). Either way, I want to collect winds, nines, ones, twos, soaps. Passers: 4D 4D 6D 8D 6B 8C. This is playing a long game; I'd hang onto the 4D pair for joker bait (one of my target hands is not an S&P hand), and pass from among the remainders.

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