American Mah Jongg (2019 NMJL card). The dance music has begun; it's the Charleston! What would you pass?
1. Following Sloper's Four Steps, we note the presence of two pairs: flowers and threes. Possible families to target: Consec, Odds, 369, S&P. Ignore Quints and the entire left pane, and W-D. There are flower hands in all the target families. Keep sixes, nines, and 5D. That leaves numerous passers: sevens, eights, E, G.
2. Step one bears no fruit - no pairs. So go to step two: Highs vs. Lows. Doing this analysis, I note that 4-5-6 run - but it has no friends. And it turns out that there are a lot more lows than highs. Passers: nines, G R S.
3. Where did all the jokers go? Step one: just one pair (E). But that's short on friends, so go step three: five lows, four highs (not a significant majority. Step four: same thing. It's always sad when the steps don't turn up anything. But this tells you I need to invent Step Five. There are friends for the E pair: G, R, F, the fours. Keeping fours, also keep all evens. Passers: 1B 3B 9B 9D.
4. No pairs again. But at least a joker. So: step three: high vs. low. Dang! Even. Step four: odd vs. even. That finally tells us what to do. Odds vastly outnumber evens. Passers: evens and E.
5. One pair: ones. Step two: it has friends, ones and dragons for Any Like. Pass anything except ones and dragons.
6. One pair: sevens. Friends? Not many. High vs. low? Five high, six low (no significant majority). Odd vs. even? Same. You could just get rid of winds and soap and stop dithering.
7. Pair of fours and pung of nines. They are not friends with one another. What friends are there for the nines? Plenty: F 5D 7C 9C. You can obsessively hang onto those fours if you want, but that's likely to cause trouble later.
8. Three pairs: F 5D 6B. The ideal thing would be to use all three. And there are three hands where you can do that! Lot of passers to choose from: 1D 9D 3B 3C G Wh S. Keep or throw whatever you want from those.
The Four Steps don't cover every situation. They're an opening book that you get to modify to suit.
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Question or comment about this column? I often, um... intentionally... "miss" something; maybe you'll be the first one to spot it! Email and the discussion will be posted on the Mah-Jongg Q&A Bulletin Board. Hit me with your best shot! Like this...
>On Thursday, November 7, 2019, 12:35:43 PM PST, Susan H wrote:
>On hand #2, I’d also keep the 9s – you have 2-19 in dots, a 9B and a 1C , so if you get a soap, the top 2019 hand is a real possibility (and I find that one the easiest to get, since the 1s and 9s can be called with just a pair).
>On hand #6, since there are so many things that don’t go with the pair of 7s, I’d hold onto the soap (in case 6Ds or 8Ds get passed) and the 1-2 of cracks (in case a 5B or two show up). And maybe even the 9D (for 5/7/9 or 7/8/9).
>Thanks for your blog- very thoughtful and analytic (just the way I like to play).
>Susan K H
>囧 Which column is that?
>On Thursday, November 7, 2019, 03:02:21 PM PST, Susan H wrote:
>Re: Column #7
That helps. It's #730. You wrote:
On hand #2, I’d also keep the 9s – you have 2-19 in dots, a 9B and a 1C , so if you get a soap, the top 2019 hand is a real possibility (and I find that one the easiest to get, since the 1s and 9s can be called with just a pair).
So you'd pass G R S. One cringes to pass such a grouping, of course - but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do! And I agree with you that singles are easier to get than pairs.
I want to thank you, Susan. Your comment reminds me that this is a flaw in my Four Steps, and the solution is suddenly clear. (I have to add "scan the other card sections, like 201X and the change-up section at lower left corner, and Singles & Pairs.")
On hand #6, since there are so many things that don’t go with the pair of 7s, I’d hold onto the soap (in case 6Ds or 8Ds get passed) and the 1-2 of cracks (in case a 5B or two show up). And maybe even the 9D (for 5/7/9 or 7/8/9).
Yes, I don't like to pass soaps, especially in the first pass. Although I wrote "you could just get rid of winds and soap, and stop dithering," I probably wouldn't. I'd pass the least-likely number tile with the winds.
Thanks for your blog- very thoughtful and analytic (just the way I like to play).
So glad you like it!
May the tiles be with you.
Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
November 7, 2019
Los Angeles, California, USA
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