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By Tom Sloper
June 15, 2008

Column #368

American Mah-Jongg (2008 NMJL card). Charleston exercises. What would you pass, and why? No peeking ahead!

1. The first thing I do is look for pairs. This deal has sevens and greens. Those can make Consec. #6 and Quints #3. The latter is unlikely with just one joker and one wind. The former doesn't look too great either. But this is a strong start for 13579 too, and there are three obvious or easy passers - 3D, 9D, N.

2. Sevens and norths suggest W-D #4. But again, 13579 is a standby family here. Passing E and 4B should be a no-brainer. For the third tile I don't want to give up 3D or 8D just yet - 1C or G can go too.

3. These sevens keep coming! And they don't even work for Seven Hands. But that's mah-jongg. With the reds, look to Consec. #3 or Quints #3. With the one joker and the two mismatched winds, the latter is still too far a reach. No flowers, though. As before, I want to preserve 13579 as a standby, so I pass 2B, 3D, S.

4. Sixes and easts suggest W-D #4. And with sixes in the other suits, this is a real option. I'd keep the dots for a possible Consec., and pass 3B Wh R. I don't like passing two dragons, but offense trumps defense here.

5. The eights and nines, together with the F and R, scream Consec. #3. But also consider Consec. #s 1, 2, and 6. Quints #1 too far away. 1B, 1D, and... 6C.

6. Threes and greens. 369 #3, #6 are best, with a Consec. option. Lots of stuff to pass. How about 5D, W, N for starters.

7. Pair of twos, with nothing to support it among the non-jokers. I'd lose the winds and 9D and hope for clues in the incoming pass.

8. Nines and wests - pretty bad. Might need to break up the wests, but not just yet. I'd pass 2C and dragons.

9. The fours cry out for Like Numbers, but that was a past card. Best bets are 2468 #3, Consec. #s 4 and 6. I'd pass winds and non-crak ones.


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© 2008 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.