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By Tom Sloper

July 23, 2006
Column #276

American mah-jongg (2006 NMJL card). Charleston exercises. Pick three tiles to pass right.

1. It's rare enough to get three jokers. But to also get two pairs, and for them to be compatible, approaches miraculous. The real danger when getting three jokers is the temptation to attempt a high-scoring hand. Why's that bad? Because high-scoring hands usually have multiple pairs, in which the jokers cannot be used. So when dealt multiple jokers, pairless hands should not be ignored. The twos and sixes clearly indicate a 2468 hand, and the pairs are in different suits, and only one hand in 2468 fits: #5. You have six tiles to pass; choose any three that don't go well together. I wouldn't pass Wh just yet. 1C, 6D, S.

2. That's more like it - a typical garbage deal. Not a pair or joker in the mess. Look for a family, and consider S&P. There are seven tiles that fit with the 369 family, and six tiles that don't. Counting evens vs. odds, and highs vs. lows, there's not much to go on. I'd go for 369, leaving 6 tiles to pass. I'd pass 5B, 8D, S.

3. Two pairs, but without jokers they don't go together happily. You'll need jokers and more to make this into Winds-Dragons #3. I'd pass 8C, 4B, 7B. The other tiles might possibly have uses, depending on what the others pass.

4. A little better for Winds-Dragons #3, but not much. Similar thinking to the previous exercise. I'd pass 2B, 8B, and although I don't like it, 2D (too many Consec. possibilities to give any up).

5. Thank goodness, some jokers. And a natural pung. Have to go 13579, Consec., or Like Nos. Of course I'll pass N, but what else? The nines only work for 13579, and there are no hands that use those in two suits (both different from the fives), so one of those can go. Keep dragons and 5B for Like Nos., pass a six as well.

6. The 7C pair is key. Again, 13579, Like Nos., or Consec. (I also looked for a 13, but no.) The Wh has several possible uses, so don't pass that. I don't like passing F if I can help it. I'd pass 2B, 8D, S.

7. Three pairs, and they go together (Consec.). Pass 2C, 3D, 4B.


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© 2006 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.