January 1, 2006
American mah-jongg (2005 NMJL card). For each of the following deals, what three tiles would you choose to pass in the Charleston? My answers in italics at the end - no peeking ahead!
1. The winds and dragons scream Winds #7, but the flowers and the 2-5B suggest 2005 #4. There are only three passers - 4B 4D 5D. If you keep getting even winds, and dragons, the 2-5 and flowers can be traded away. Sometimes things come back - and flowers and single tiles are easily replaced through picking.
2. The notable features of this deal are the 2C pung and the N pair. Problem is, these two groups don't go together - except in Quints #2. This doesn't look very good for Quints, though - just one joker. The pung is the strongest feature - and it might be used with 3B, 5B, or 7B for a Consec. or Sevens hand. The 6C isn't very strong for a 2468 hand. I'd pass W, 9B, 6C.
3. Three pairs, but no hand that can use all three. The fours and eights can be used together in just three 2468 hands. Four other tiles in the hand should be kept for these options: 2B, 8B, 2D, F. The 5B pair and 3C should be kept for the Consec. option. That leaves 9B and 1D as passable. One more must go - the 8B (no 2468 hand uses eights in multiple suits).
4. Only one pair, and it's an ill wind indeed. Preserve the winds for now, but find another option as well. The usual fallback is Consec., so compare highs vs. lows. Lows win. Pass 7C 9C 7B.
5. So many threes and fours! Bottom Consec. hand for sure. Pass honors first - the 9B and F will probably go soon.
6. This one's a real mess. Again, lows outnumber highs, so pass 7C 9C 9D and hope some clues come in.
7. Nice, three jokers - and two pairs of sixes. Go for Consec. or 369. Pass 4C 8D N.
8. Consec. or 13579 (low #s). Pass 7D, G, 6C.
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© 2006 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.