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By Tom Sloper

March 6, Year of the Rooster

Column #204

American mah-jongg (2004 NMJL card). This is the second-to-last column about the 2004 card. It's a good card, by all accounts - well balanced. For today's column, here's Wes's mess...

An obvious hand but no jokers. After the second left, Wes had a minor quandary.

Not much of a quandary, though - would you agree? See answer #1, below. After the Charleston, his first pick was S.

Threw S. Decided to make no calls until and unless he got more stuff. And now he identified a third hand. See answer #2.

Thence ensued a lengthy picking and throwing of too little substance (and too few jokers). Got 8B, 6C. Couldn't call when 4C, R went out. Wished he was doing a singles & pairs hand since the jokers were so elusive. 3C went out - couldn't do anything. Picked 8B, making a pair, but had to break it up. 4C went out - still couldn't do anything. Picked a third R but didn't need it, so threw it back. Shortly picked and threw 9C, then 6C went out - couldn't call. Picked F and then 8C.

There were now 30 tiles left in the wall. Clear decision? See answer #3.

Finally, he got a joker. Threw 8C - nobody called it. He jumped when 3C went out: "Call." Threw 6C - nobody called that either. Jokers weren't taking his bait, but at least he had safe discards.

Picked two more jokers. Finally he was waiting, but there were just five tiles left in the wall. His last pick was N. Wall game.

1. The bams are looking worthless. The hand would be either the top hand or the bottom hand in the evens family - all in craks. So Wes could pass 4B with the odd craks across.
2. He could now also go for the 4th consecutive hand (threes and fours).
3. He needed to decide between 2468#1, 2468#6, Consec. #4, or 369 #1. Four hands - all even! (Every hand has nine tiles.) Not a clean decision in the least. He'd made a mistake throwing R and 9C a few turns ago, so he had to forget 369. The consecutive hand seemed easiest to make now, so he threw 2C.

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© 2005 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.