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By Tom Sloper

February 13, Year of the Rooster

Column #201

American mah-jongg (2004 NMJL card). It was fun to give the 2005 AMJA card a whirl, but let's do some Charleston studies with the 2004 NMJL card.

There were way too many ways Esther could go with this, so she joined in with the post-deal kvetching along with the other ladies. Esther arbitrarily chose to keep the flower, soap, wind, all the evens, and the 129C (addition). That left her 1B 5D R to pass right. Got N 7B 8C. This left her with three possible hands. Counting the jokers, she had eight tiles towards 2004 #1, seven tiles towards the first 2468 hand, and only six tiles towards the first Addition hand (2+9=11).

The worst one was the Addition hand, so she discounted it. That left the 19C available to pass along with 7B 8D. Four to choose from now. Got more winds in exchange.

She now had two obvious passes (9C 8D) but was unsure what her third tile should be. She elected to blind pass. Got garbage. Not ready to stop the Charleston, she passed 6B 5D S.

This play netted her a 2D to go with her 4D (making a 204, if not a 2004). This wasn't nearly as good towards a 2004 #1 hand as she would've liked, but she decided to go that way (and to forget the first 2468 hand). Passed 47B 2C across.

Got junk, passed it, got S back. By the time the whole Charleston and courtesy pass were finished:

Not great, but not horrible.

Let's take a look at another Charleston play.

Nora got one of those hateful deals. Three pairs, but together they only made two hands.

Could go for winds and dragons, winds and eights, or the run with dragons. She had plenty of throwaways, and passed 79B 3D, got 3C 6D G. Passed craks and S across, getting 7D and junk in return. In the second across she got 9D.

Blind passed, and got another 9D. She was now well poised for the run-with-dragons hand - the one that had seemed least likely before the Charleston.

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© 2005 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.