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By Tom Sloper

August 14, 2005 (Year of the Rooster)

Column #227

American mah-jongg (2005 NMJL card). The Charleston.

Pick three tiles to pass in the first right.

Pick three tiles to pass in the first across.

Stop the second Charleston? Or pass three?

Pick three tiles to pass in the second across.

You have to pass three in the last right. Blind pass?

Pick three to pass in the first right.

Pick three to pass in the first across.

First left. Blind pass?

1. It's a bunch o' nothin', and no jokers in sight. I'd say S&P, but there aren't any pairs. Odds outnumber evens, lows barely outnumber highs. But nothing is clear. So instead of targeting a family, pick some throwaways. N and G can go, and you need one other passer, so why not 1B.

2. The 7B pung is a good basis for several different hands. Since it's still early in the Charleston, it's best to eliminate tiles that don't go with sevens rather than try to pick a hand. Pass low evens - 24C and 4B.

3. Pass three for sure. N 1C, and either 3B or 3D.

4. You're probably going to do a 5-7-7-9 hand. Pass 2B 3D and either 8C or 8D.

5. Two possibilities now - a 5-7-7-9 hand or consecutive run #1 (high, dots). You can't pass any high dots. Pass 1D N 8B. Blind not necessary.

6. The jokers are darned nice, but your numerous singles aren't that great for an American hand. A player of an Asian variant would like them lots, but this is American mah-jongg. Lows vastly outnumber highs, so pass high numbers. Pick any two and pass them with R.

7. You want to keep all your ones, twos, and threes for a consec. hand. Get rid of the fives and the nine.

8. The hand is consec. #3, with pairs of twos (bookended by bams). Pass 7C 8D and 1D or 3C. Don't stop - keep dancing the Charleston.


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© 2005 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.