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By Tom Sloper
July 3, 2022

Column #766

American Mah Jongg (2022 NMJL card). Dance the Charleston!

1. Two pairs: ones and soaps. It would be a shame if you can't make a hand with both. Should be able to, so give it a try. The available families are Like Numbers, Consec, and Odds. Eights, sixes, and E are out, so make a pass from those. Haven't chosen a hand yet. Too early for that.

2. Two pairs: threes and fours. That screams Consec, and there are other near-neighbor numbers, so 9B and W can go in the passers pile right off. Now to find a third. How about G?

3. Two pairs: ones and twos. Consec again. Know what? Consec is the most powerful family on the card. Embrace the power. Eights definitely don't work, and same for W. Sevens, threes, and nine are reasonable reserve Odds.

4. One pair: eights. It has friends: highs and evens. Anything low and odd, like ones, threes, and fives, can go, as well as N. Plenty passers to choose from.

5. Two pairs: ones and eights. They don't go together, so figure out which one has the most friends. There a lot of evens, and 2468 #3 in particular looks viable here. As for the ones, the only friends they have are the twos. The ones can go. Quints #2 is also a possibility. If you want to target 2468 #3 right away, go for it, you can set aside everything else and save the ones for joker bait, but it's way early. I don't like to pass soap in the Charleston. Pass W 1B 2B.

6. A pung of fives, and a pair of flowers. The sensible families include Like Numbers, Consec, and Odds. N and 8D can go, and I'm not crazy about 4C either.

7. Pairs of nines and twos. A mismatch if I ever saw one. Which has the most friends? Nines go with highs and odds (and threes and sixes). Twos go with lows and evens. The twos win the friends contest, so I would break up the nines right now, pass one of them and E and 5C.

8. One pair: fives. It has consecutive friends. The nine can go, and you can pass the winds, too.


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 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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