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By Tom Sloper

June 11, 2006
Column #270

American mah-jongg (2006 NMJL card). First pass of the Charleston. What would you pass?

1. Two pairs: twos and sixes, in two suits. Strongly suggests a 2468 hand. There are four odd passers, pick any three.

2. Three pairs: eights and nines in two suits, and N. The N pair can't be used with the eights, and is your weak link in the triad. Sixes and sevens in dots would be perfect for Consec. #2. Or consider Consec. #3 or #4. Keep the soap for Consec. #4. Keep the seven and the nines for Consec. #3. That leaves 4B, 5B, 6C, 7C, and the N pair for your passing options. I'd choose three from the suit tiles for now.

3. Two pairs: F and Wh. Most likely options are 2006, 2468 #3, or 369 #1. Quints #2 is far-fetched because you got no jo's. 13579 #4 doesn't look great either (no ones). S&P #2 also unlikely because you don't have enough dots. Process of elimination leaves three obvious passers: 4C, 7B, S.

4. Three jokers! Indicates quints or a pungs/kongs hand. No pairs, which makes this a tough call. Check the dots - 369 #1? Check the twos, three, and four - Quints #3? Don't pooh-pooh Consec. #2, either, although you're missing a number. That leaves three passers, which is all you need for now: 6C, 7C, 7B.

5. Dragon-heavy hand. With flowers. Strongly suggests 2006 #2. Second option is Like Nos. #2, but that one doesn't use the flowers. Third option is Consec. #6, with the 5C and 6C. I'd pass 1C, 7B, 4D.

6. Two pairs: threes and G. Suggests 13579 #7, or Like Nos. #2, or Consec. #4. Lots of stuff to pass.

7. Two pairs: twos and fours in two suits, no jokers. Consider Consec. #1, #2, and, since there are no jokers, S&P #4. I'd pass the winds and 9D.

8. Threes and nines, suggesting 369 or 13579 #3. Four passers: 3D, 7D, W, Wh. Pass any three.


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© 2006 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.