Please click here if you do not see a Nav Frame at left and Header Frame above - you'll need them!


By Tom Sloper

January 22, 2006
Column #250

American mah-jongg (2005 NMJL card). The Charleston is past, and the tile you just picked forces you to make a decision. It's a quandary. Which tile do you discard? See my answers in italics at bottom.

1. When I count tiles to solve a quandary, I don't count jokers. 369#1 - 7 tiles. 13579#1 - 8 tiles. 13579 #s 3,4 - 8 tiles each. Consec. #1, #6 - 6 tiles each. Focus on Odds (13579). Ditch the six.

2. Could be 2005 #1 or W-D#1 or #2. For 2005, gotta throw away two flowers and pick lucky (need another soap, another S, and a 5C (or a matching 2 and 5 in another suit). 2005 #1 - 11 tiles. W-D #1 - 8 tiles. W- D #2 - 6 tiles. Throw a flower.

3. Either Consec. #3 or Consec. #7. Count: #3 - 9 tiles. #7 - 10 tiles. Consec. #7 is closer (and is this year's easiest hand, to boot). It's painful, but the twos have to go.

4. The pair of reds makes Odds #5 seem within reach, but neither the bams nor the dots have any nines. So that hand is a red herring. Leaves Odds #6 or #2. #2 is not only much closer, but there are two possible ways to go for the pairs, making it flexible as well as fast. Throw 1D, 3D, or R - hold the R as joker bait, if the halfway point hasn't been reached yet.

5. Six possibilities: Sevens #1 (8 tiles), Consec. #1 (6 tiles), Consec. #6 (7 tiles), Odds #1 (5 tiles), Odds #3 (8 tiles), Odds #4 (7 tiles). Odds #3 really isn't worth pursuing since there aren't any threes. The only thing the eight works for is Consec. #1, which is far behind - get rid of it.

6. Bams and green equal craks and red for Consec. #6, so look elsewhere. No 369 hand uses two suits and flowers, so forget 369. The flowers have to stay for sure. Only one 2468 hand can use two suits and flowers - but only two flowers. Throwing a three or a nine will break the impasse. See what comes in.

7. Looks good for S&P #3 (11 tiles). Or Consec. #7 (11 tiles). Feeling lucky? Or wanna make your own luck? Throw 1C (or even J) to go for the gusto. Throw F or 2C to play it safe.


Click the entries in the header frame, above, to read other columns.

Question about this column? See an error? Email and the discussion will be posted on the Mah-Jongg Q&A Bulletin Board.

Haven't ordered the 2006 NMJL card yet? Read FAQ 7i.

Need rules for American mah-jongg? Go to AND see FAQ 19 for fine points of the American rules (and commonly misunderstood rules). AND get the booklet from the NMJL (see FAQ 3).

© 2006 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.