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By Tom Sloper
Juneteenth, 2022

Column #764

American Mah Jongg (2022 NMJL card). Charleston exercises. What would you pass on the first right?

1. Step one: check for pairs. Fives, sixes, and reds. Dangit, it's two suits, not three (that's a problem for both of the Consec dragon hands, #4 and #7). But there's also Any Like #2 (which doesn't use the 5C pair). Keep the fives and sixes and reds, along with the flower. Pass a two, the nine, and a wind.

2. Flowers, ones, Easts, and Souths. Winds are easy to figure out: either everybody's passing them, or somebody's collecting them. This is a good time to be a collector, at least for the first Charleston. If after the first left, no winds are forthcoming, focus on ones for Any Like Numbers.

3. Flowers, twos, and soaps. Obvious, right? Ditch everything that doesn't work in the 2022 family. Pass numbers that are not twos, and N can go too.

4. No pairs. So look for other types of patterns, starting with high vs. low and even vs. odd. Six highs vs. two odds lows. And six evens vs. two odds. Evens wins, but there's no "high vs. low" aspect to 2468 (four numbers) as there is to 13579 (five numbers). Not having any twos is a problem. But all those high numbers are bunched closely, numerically speaking, which means Think Consec. Ditch W and low numbers.

5. A flower pung and a pair of ones make a great beginning. Think Any Like or Consec. Pass the wind (I just love saying that) and high numbers.

6. Threes, twos! Fours!! This is screaming Consec, and it's saying "Consec #6" at medium volume (missing 3C). Pass high numbers.

7. Pair of flowers, pair of ones. What's friends with flowers and ones? Look at all those low odd numbers. Pass the wind and high numbers.


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!" and Donna and Dara's newer group, "Mahjong Community for lively social 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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