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By Tom Sloper
May 15, 2022

Column #759

American Mah Jongg (2022 NMJL card). While we try to build a hand from the card, it's also important to keep an eye on opponents' exposures. Here are some defense exercises for the ides of May.

1. Eights and nines are consecutive numbers, so this must be in Consec somewhere... but where? If the two exposures were in the same suit, it would be Consec #1. But a pung of eights and a kong of differently-suited nines is impossible. Doesn't fit any hand on the card. If she thought she was making Consec #5, there's no number higher than nine (for the second kong), and she's stuck. Call her dead.

2. Not many dragon pungs on the 2022 card. And only one that can be paired with a same-suit kong of ones: Odds #5. The hot tiles are 3B and 5B.

3. Sixes and nines, so this must be 369, either #1 or #2... or it could be the most powerful hand on the card, Consec #5. The hot tiles are 7D 8B 3D 6B F 3C.

4. Threes and nines have to be 369. This has to be #2. The hot tiles are F and 6C.

5. Fours and eights can only be Evens. This could be #3 or #7. The hot tiles are 2D 6B 4C 6C. 2D and 4C are key tiles. If either one is dead on the table, you can forget about Evens #7 because that hand cannot be made.

6. Very few dragon pungs on this card. How many dragon pung hands can use same-suit sixes? Two: Consec #7 and 369 #4. For Consec #7, the hand needs pairs of 4D and 5D (those are key tiles) as well as a kong of flowers. For 369 #4, the hand needs a pair of flowers and a pair of 3D (key tiles) as well as a kong of 9D. Keep an eye out for those key tiles - valuable clues there.

7. Two pungs of sevens. Could be Odds #6... or Any Like #2. For Odds #6, the hand needs pairs of 5C and 5B (key tiles) and a kong of 9D. For Any Like #2, the hand needs pairs of R and G (key tiles) and a kong of 7D.

8. Another dragon pung, this one with a same-suit kong of fives. It's Odds #5, but it could need ones and threes or sevens and nines. Look for clues on the discard floor. There are no key tiles for this hand but unless the opponent has a lot of jokers, large numbers of dead odd craks are probably a sign from the mah-jongg goddesses.


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, a good supplement to the League's 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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