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By Tom Sloper
May 4, 2008

Column #362

American Mah-Jongg (2008 NMJL card). Defense by the numbers, part 2. An opponent had previously exposed a kong of twos. Now she exposes a second kong. It's a kong of number tiles, and it's not in the same suit as the first kong. In each of the ten possible cases (illustrated below), what should you do? And how long would it take you to realize it?

1. There's no such hand. You should call her dead. And don't bother arguing the point - I wrote about the reasons for calling her dead in last week's column. Besides, you're putting her out of her misery, so to speak. She can go get something to nosh.

2. No such hand. She's dead.

3. Ditto. Consec. #3 is a one-suit hand, and Consec. #5 can't use kongs lower than fours and fives.

4. There's just one hand on the card she could be making with this, and it's not in 2468. It's the faithful standby, Consecutive Run #2. Don't discard 1C or 3D.

5. No such hand. She's dead.

6. 2468 #4 requires that the two kongs be in the same suit. She's dead.

7. She's making a Sevens hand. The hot tiles are 5D and F. You can check to make sure 5D is in fact alive. If you see more than two 5Ds among discards and exposures, call her dead.

8. 2468 #5 calls for kongs of the same suit. She's deader than a doornail.

9. There isn't any sort of door-related hardware that's less alive. There are no eleven hands this year.

10. The only hand she could be making is 2008 #2. But a couple of important points about this one. This kong has to include at least one joker. If it doesn't, she's dead (and you should say so). If you see this exposure (with one joker) and you pick the last soap, you should redeem it and then call her dead.


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

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

Haven't ordered the 2008 NMJL card yet? Read FAQ 7i.

Need rules for American mah-jongg? Tom Sloper's book, The Red Dragon & The West Wind, is the most comprehensive book in existence about the American game. AND see FAQ 19 for fine points of the American rules (and commonly misunderstood rules). AND get the official rulebook from the NMJL (see FAQ 3).

Jay Firestone of the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles has posted a nice video about a young man (himself) learning to play American mah-jongg. You can see it at

© 2008 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.