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By Tom Sloper
November 10, 2019

Column #731

American Mah Jongg (2019 NMJL card). Defend against these exposures, showing atop another player's rack.

1. There are two hands she could be making, but there's just one hand to defend against. Odds #7 is a concealed hand, so you have to defend against 2019 #1; F 2B 1B 9B and soap are her hot tiles.

2. Those are 9Bs, not 6Bs. And there are five of them, so she's in Quints, and it's crystal clear that she needs 9C and you should not discard it unless you're ready to risk paying double because your hand is this close to mahj, run-on sentence notwithstanding!

3. There are very few dragon pungs on the 2019 card. And only one that goes with sixes (369 #3). But she has made a mistake; the sixes must match the dragon's suit. Call her dead. Her second exposure must be returned to the rack. The joker in her first exposure is still redeemable (FAQ 19-P).

4. As with problem #1, there are two hands she could be making, but just one to defend against. Don't bother defending against Consec #7 (concealed). She's making Odds #4. But which way? Her hot tiles: 5B 7B 5D 7D G soap. The fives and sevens are all key tiles. If you can see three 5Bs, let's say, then you know she has to get dots instead. If you see that her bams and dots options are both dead on the table, then you can call her dead.

5. Sixes in two suits. There's a likely hand in 369 (#5). But what about Consec #6? Her hot tiles: 5D 5B F 3D 3B 9D 9B. Keep an eye out for key tiles (threes and fives and nines) that might be dead on the table.

6. She's making Any Like Numbers, right? Maybe. Maybe Consec #4. Is that everything? No. Also could be W-D #5. Her hot tiles: F E W 4B 5B 6B. Those bams are key tiles; if you see three 4Bs dead on the table, you can eliminate Consec #4 from your worries. If E or W is dead on the table, you can eliminate W-D #4 from your worries. Any Like #1 and W-D #5 both need a flower pair; a key tile, yes, but it's unlikely you'll see seven flowers dead on the table.

7. Look for a flower kong on the card (FFFF) - one that can coexist with a pung of sixes. Could be Consec #6, but don't stop looking there. The League pulled a fast one on us, by burying a flower kong in the middle of a hand instead of always putting them on the left side; could be 369 #5. Her hot tiles: sixes in bams and dots, and fives, threes, and nines in all suits. The threes and nines and fives are all key tiles. Keep your eyes peeled!

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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!

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

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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