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By Tom Sloper
May 30, 2021

Column #748

American Mah Jongg (2021 NMJL card). Which three tiles would you pass with these? Use the four steps.

1. Pairs: fives and wests. They're not friends. One of those Ws can go; keep NEWS for Any Like #1. Pass 4C, too, and either 6C or 6B (keeping 6D for possible Consec #6). S&P #1 is too risky.

2. Sevens, nines, opp. dragons. Sure looks like Odds #4, but too bad there are no 5Cs. Pass 4D 3B 8B.

3. "Where o where are the jokers," you silently cry to the mah-jongg goddesses. Or maybe not so silently, if you unwisely want to share your misery with your opponents. No pairs, no obvious friends, so count highs vs. lows: highs outnumber lows. You can pass any mix of low lows (keep those fives for now) and winds.

4. Ask and ye shall receive: three jokers! Think Quints; but since you have no pairs, avoid Quints #2 and #4. So go Quints #3. Pass twos and 1D.

5. When it rains, it pours. Jokers, that is! Threes and W go together for Quints #1. Pass 4D 9D 2B.

6. Pairs of dragons and flowers. The only multiple-dragon hands this year are Evens #7, Any Like #3, Consec #8, and W-D #7. Weed out the tiles that don't work for any of those: 1B 4B and yes, G can go too. Basically, throw out anything green.

7. Very windy! Keep 5D 6D 7C 8C for the usual Consec #2 option, and pass 3D 4C 5B. But winds are looking likely here. S&P #1 not a great option with these numbers and no flowers.

8. Looks very 369, but if you want to keep 4C for a joker bait play later on, you can pass 8C W S.

9. Only one pair: 3C. Identify its friends - low numbers and R. You can pass 9C 8B and a wind.

10. Your only pair here is flowers. Scan the card for FFs: 2021 (#1), Any Like (#1 with the twos), Consec (#5, #8), W-D (#6). Pass 9B 6D R.


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!

Column 748

On Saturday, June 5, 2021, 08:04:10 AM PDT, lindaz wrote:
column 748
Hi Tom,
In column #748, number 9, I would keep the 9c and discard the 8b and either both winds or one wind and 2 c. It is a little risky to discard both winds in the Charleston, There are 7 friendly tiles for 3-6-9 section. A good beginning first dance step. Thoughts?
Thanks, Linda

Hi, Linda!
Yes, that's a valid approach too. I would keep 2C so I can preserve a Consec option, and if I want to keep 5B (which is by no means a certainty) then I'd need to pass both winds. I wouldn't say that's "risky" so much as "less than optimal."
Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
Tom Sloper
Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
Author of the Sloper On Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs
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June 5, 2021
Los Angeles, California, USA

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