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By Tom Sloper

June 25, 2006
Column #272

American mah-jongg (2006 NMJL card). Hot tile exercises (inspired by a recent bulletin board question). An opponent is showing the following exposures. What should you not discard? In each case, assume the wall is getting short, you see no signs that the player's hand is dead, and she looks confident of winning.

1. There are two hands this might be - Like Nos. #1 and 369 #4. The hot tiles are F, 9D, 3D, 6D.

2. There are only two sextet hands in the 2006 card: 2006 #3 and Consec. #5. Unless you'd paid attention to what numbers the player had thrown, any two sequential same-suit numbers are dangerous. And especially 2, 6, soap, N, E, W, S. Safe tiles: R, G, F, J.

3. Can't be 2468 #1 (that's a one-suit hand). Must be Consec. #4. Hot tiles: 3D, 5D, 3B, 4B, 5B. If you see the player discard any of those, you can eliminate its counterpart from the hot list as well.

4. Could be 2468 #5 or Consec. #1. Hot tiles are 6C, 6D, 8C, 8D, 1B, 3B, 5B.

5. Winds-Dragons, three possibilities: #1, #3, #5. The hot tiles are F, any wind, any odd number, and R. Safe tiles: G, soap, any even number. And J, of course.

6. Two possibilities: 13579 #7 and... Consec. #4 again. Hot tiles: 1C, 3C, 5C, 1D, 5D (for the odds hand); 2D, 4D, 2C, 4C (3C already on the hot list). Ambiguous hands can get real nasty sometimes. Your best hope with this one is a good memory for what the player has discarded. Hopefully she's one of those people who always bunches her discards in one place.

7. Could be Lucky 13 #3 or Consec. #5. Hot tiles: F, 1D, 3D.

8. There are just two hands in which twin pungs of threes could be used: Winds-Dragons #3, 369 #3. Hot tiles: N, S, 3B, 6B, 9B, 3D, 6D, 9D.

9. Quints #2. All numbers are hot, and so are flowers. Best to consider what's safe: winds, other dragons, and, of course, jokers are always safe to throw.


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© 2006 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.