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By Tom Sloper
May 12, 2019

Column #721

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

1. Pairs of fives and eights in the same suit. Consec #1 is obvious: five tiles for that. Look for more. You can keep the dots below five and go S&P #4; you have seven tiles for that (but it's S&P, know what I mean?). And omitting the eights, you can go Consec #7; there are six tiles towards that one. Don't be intimidated by your fear of that capital C by the score; Consec #7 is a four-pungs-and-a-pair hand, one of the easiest types of hand on the card (that's why they marked it as a Concealed hand: to make it harder). You have a head start on it. The passers: 8B 6C 7C R.

2. Pairs of eights and Reds. Simple assignment: look on the card for dragons paired with same-suit numbers where eights will work. Evens #5 (six tiles for that one), Any Like #2 (five tiles), Consec #5 (six tiles), S&P #6 (whoa, seven tiles for that one). Passers: 1D 4B 7B. What comes in next may fix a target.

3. Pairs: fours and dragons in different suits. Looking for Ds on the card, you find the only ones that could work with different-suit fours: Any Like #2 (got five tiles), Quints #4 (just four tiles, and no jokers at all). Ignoring the dragons, and keeping all the evens, you can go for S&P #6 (got six tiles for that one). Passers: 9D 7B 9C N.

4. That pung of threes jumps out at you. And when you see that soap, you look for 2019, and there are pieces in two suits. You can go for using the threes, but without any 2019s. Or you can target 2019 and ignore the threes. I favor Consec, and I find #3; a three-suit three-number run, a frequent favorite. If you want to preserve 2019 tiles, your passers are 4D 7B 7C.

5. Just a pair of ones. There's a soap, so scan for 2019. Finding ones, twos, and nines sure enough. But also Like Numbers and Consec friendships. 2019 #1, six tiles. 2019 #4, five tiles. S&P #6, six tiles. Seven tiles towards S&P #7, the triple 2019 hand. Feeling lucky? Passers: 7C 6D 8D N.

6. Pair of sevens and pair matching dragons. Hands that can use both pairs: Consec #5 (six tiles), Any Like #2 (five tiles), Quints #3 (five tiles), Consec #2 (five tiles). Also S&P #6 (seven tiles). Passers: 4B 2D 4D 4C N.

Next column: Defense with two exposures. Besides Charleston and Defense columns, what else do you hope to see in a column?

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

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 every player should have a copy of Mah Jongg Made Easy, the official rulebook of the National Mah Jongg League (see FAQ 3 for info on mah-jongg books).

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