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By Tom Sloper
June 12, 2022

Column #763

American Mah Jongg (2022 NMJL card). Defend.

1. When that 8B kong went out, it didn't tell you a lot. But that pung of flowers does. Scan the left side of each pane looking for flower pungs. 2468 #1, yep... and 2468 #6... and Any Like #1... don't stop now... Consec #2... and that's it. Four possibilities. The opponent could be working any of those. The hot tiles are 2B 4B 6B, also 2C 2D 8C 8D. And F. And dang it, 7C 7D 9C 9D. That's a lot of danger tiles. Scan the discard floor and rack tops for clues, and watch that player's discards like a hawk! Oh, did I forget to mention the key tiles? If you see 2B or 4B dead on the table, you can forget about 2468 #1, and just worry about the other 3 hands.

2. The kong of fours didn't tell you anything, but the pung of ones does. It's that old favorite, Consec #5, the most powerful hand on the card. Easy defense, though; 2B and 3C are the hot tiles.

3. Pungs of threes and sevens can only be Odds #1. 1D 5D 9D are hot, with 1D and 9D as key tiles. If either of those is dead on the table, the player has no hope of winning. Not your problem!

4. Sixes and twos, eh? The sixes could've been just about anything except 2022 or Odds (no need to mention S&P). But the twos cinch it: this is 2468 #4, and the hot tiles are 4B 8C 8D - all key tiles.

5. Sixes in two suits. It's not a 2468 hand. Could be Any Like #2... or 369 #1. Two possibles. Hot tiles are 6B G R 3C 9D. Those dragons have to be paired, so they're key tiles.

6. Easts and ... sevens?! The League threw us a curve with this card (in years past, E and W were always paired with even numbers only). This has to be W-D #6. The hot tiles are W 5B 6B. Those latter tiles are key. Needs a single five and a pair of sixes. Scan the table for dead keys!

7. Is that a kong of nines? No, it's a quint. Can't be Quints #2, but the other three quint hands are viable. All dragons and winds are hot, and sevens and eights and nines. More specifically: 7B 7C 8B 8C 8D 9B 9C.

8. When the pung of zeroes went out, you thought "zeroes," but of course they could also just be soaps (white dragon). 2022 #2 went out the window when that kong of nines showed up. So did the whole left pane of the card. Could be either Odds #5 or 369 #4. 5D 7D F 3D 6D are hot. Flowers and 3D are key. the four steps joker bait


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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