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By Tom Sloper

April 23, 2006
Column #263

American mah-jongg (2006 NMJL card). Charleston exercises. Which three would you pass? My answers in italics. No peeking ahead!

1. Faced with junk, think Consec. or S&P. Or, when you have three winds, just hang onto those and see if more come around. I'd do that, and keep one other option as well. Comparing highs vs. lows and evens vs. odds, the odds clearly have it here. I'd pass 8B 4B 1D.

2. The ones and threes go well together, but the eights don't. Think Consec. or Odds. I'd pass 6C, 8D, R.

3. Wow, look at the two pairs of twos. Could do Like Numbers or (more far-fetched) the bottom 2468 hand. I'd pass 5B N W.

4. The two pairs, ones and sevens, suggest 13579. I'd pass 2D, 6D, and a wind. I don't like to pass a soap this early.

5. Should be obvious - 369. I'd pass 1C, 8B, and any wind.

6. Finally some jokers! But try not to broadcast your joy. Threes, sixes, and sevens. No hands use threes and sevens in two suits. Go for 369. I'd pass N, 1B, 4B (maybe the 7B pair can be used as joker bait later).

7. The winds are strong in this one. Think S&P #1, Winds #4, or Winds #6. I'd pass 3B, 1D, 8D.

8. Two pairs of twos, and a pair of nines. I'd go for Like Numbers or 2468. And Consec. shouldn't be disregarded just yet, either. Definite keepers: twos, flower, 3C, 4C. Keep 6C for 2468 #2. Pass 8C, 9D, and... wow, I hate to do it, but I'd pass the other 9D too. It's a crap shoot whether or not the player to my right will be able to use them, and I don't want to kill my own options with the first pass. You know what happens when you do that - you get the tiles that would've gone with what you threw away. I can't use the nines at all. Tough call to pass a pair, but once in a while you have to break the usual rules and go for it.


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© 2006 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.