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By Tom Sloper
May 26, 2019

Column #723

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

1. No pairs, but it's evident we nearly have NEWS here. Those jokers mean don't go S&P. What NEWS hands work with our twos and nines? 2019! That makes it simple. Passers: 3B 5B 8C.

2. Pairs of same-suit fives and nines. And almost-NEWS. 2019 #4 is a reasonable target (seven tiles in hand), but made more challenging by its need to be played Concealed. And you have no soaps. You can pass 1D 4D 7BD, still retaining the craks for other options.

3. No pairs. Garbage hand. But see how many evens there are, and notice the eights in all suits. The 2468 options don't work so well with our tiles, but two S&P hands do. There are five tiles for S&P #6. There are six tiles for S&P #2. Well, they don't seem too likely, but this is where the Mah-Jongg Goddesses are pointing us (hope it's not another of their little tricks). Pass N 1B 5C.

4. Cowly ho! I mean, holy cow! Four jokers! Keep it in, cowgirl. Don't let'em see any signs of excitement. But be advised: getting that many jokers does tricks with your head. You have to go for hands that don't need pairs, since you have no pairs. You have an almost-2019 (missing a 9C). If you never get that 9C, won't you feel the fool sitting there with four jokers when the game is over. You could go for Any Like #2, but you have only four tiles (two different ones and two different dragons). You think those four jokers will get you the missing pairs? Better to go for something safe: Addition #2, in three suits. You have the 12 and the five and seven in the other suits, but you don't have any flowers. Your jokers are now a plus: you just need to make some kongs. Passers: 4D 6D 1B 4C (pass three).

5. That pair of eights suggests S&P #2 (five tiles), but the pair of jokers says no. The two winds suggest 2019 #4 (five tiles) or W-D #2 (five tiles). The latter is the only one of those that isn't marked C, so go that way. You'll need to get lucky, get singles for 2019 and a single E. Passers: 3C 4C 4B G.

6. No pairs. Five tiles for Consec #4, five for W-D #4. You could go for Addition, but no matter how you slice it, you've got only four tiles right now for that. Could also go for Consec #6 - again, just four tiles. This is going to be a struggle, unless the Mah-Jongg Goddesses smile on you. Pass 1D 2B 8B.

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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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