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By Tom Sloper

December 4, 2005

Column #243

American mah-jongg (2005 NMJL card). Charleston exercises. What are the best 3 tiles to pass with these deals? Answers at the end of the column (don't peek!).

1. Pass any odd suit tiles. Keep winds, dragon, flower, and even number suit tiles for starters. Targets: Winds #1, 2, 3, and 5.
2. You want to go for 369 and Consecutive Runs. The wind tiles are the only ones that don't fit into that plan. It's ugly to pass all the winds at once, but life isn't perfect. Sometimes you have to do the ugly thing.
3. Go for Odds (13579). Pass evens and dragons.
4. With a pair of R and no J, you can maybe go for S&P #2... and lots of other options as well. Consider 2005 #3, Winds #6, 13579 #3, 369 #2. You can pass any of the following: 5B, 8B, 7D, 8D. Process of elimination.
5. Two pairs of threes suggests three families: Consecutives, Odds, 369. Okay, so it also leaves S&P open as well (especially in the absence of jokers). You can pass 1C, 1B, 7B, W.
6. The 2334B combination suggests the bottom hand in Consecutives, with the 3rd Consec. being another option. All of the following tiles are passable: 7B, 8B, 9D, N, Wh.
7. Flowers, nines, and jokers. This fairly screams Quints #4, Consecutives #4 or #6, and Odds #4 or #7. Keeping those options open leaves five tiles you can choose your passers from: 4C, 6C, 3B, 8B, 9B. If you want to keep 369 as an additional optional family, pass 4C 8B 9B.
8. Don't let the pair of N fool you. It's a red herring dragged across your path by the mah-jongg gods (they're a tricky lot). You want to go for Consecutives. Pass N N Wh. Maybe another player will like them. But more likely, she'll moan at the fishy-smelling opportunity you've handed her.


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© 2005 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.