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By Tom Sloper
June 1, 2008

Column #366

American Mah-Jongg (2008 NMJL card). Defense by the numbers, part 4. An opponent had previously exposed a kong of fours. 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 hand on the 2008 card that uses a kong of fours and a kong of ones. She is dead, and the smart player would say so, as explained previously in this series.

2. 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 - always the easiest and most versatile hand on the card, year in and year out. The hot tiles are 1C and 3D.

3. No such hand. She's dead.

4. No such hand on the 2008 card. She's dead.

5. One possibility, and one possibility only: Consecutive Run #5. The hot tiles are 1C 2C 3C.

6. There's just one hand on the card she could be making with this, and again it's not in 2468. In fact, it's yet again that faithful standby, Consecutive Run #2. The hot tiles are 3B and 5D.

7. No such hand. The Sevens hand requires the fours to be a pair, not a kong. Call her dead.

8. Now we're talking 2468 (hand #2). The hot tiles are 2B 6D.

9. There's no "Thirteen" family on the 2008 card. That's the only way fours and nines could ever go together. She's dead.

10. Regardless of whether the player is treating the soaps as zeroes or dragons, there is no hand on the 2008 card this could be. Call her dead. If she denies being dead, let her keep playing to the end of the hand, then figure out where she went wrong - and she'll owe you a quarter.


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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.