Please click here if you do not see a Nav Frame at left and Header Frame above - you'll need them!


By Tom Sloper
June 22, 2008

Column #369

American Mah-Jongg (2008 NMJL card). Defense by the numbers, part 5. An opponent had previously exposed a kong of fives. 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? Would you notice right away, or be too busy studying your own?

1. As I said in part 1 of this series (column 361), with kongs of ones and fives, the only hand she could be working on is 13579 #4. Flowers are hot hot hot! That said, as I discussed in part 3 (column 365), what you should do in the face of an obvious hot tile depends on the circumstances. How close are you? What do you see among the discards and melds?

2. Covered this one in part 2. There's no such hand. There's a benefit to you in calling her dead.

3. It's those two possibilities I gave in part 3. She might be making Consec. #2 (2C and 4B are hot), or she might be making 13579 #3 (1C and 3B are hot).

4. One possibility, and one possibility only: Consec. #5. The hot tiles are 1C 2C 3C. Just as I discussed in part 4.

5. You might think there'd be a hand on the card that this could be, but no. Call her dead so she can stop using up your possible picks.

6. One possible hand: Consec. #5. The hot tiles? 2C 3C 4C. That which is hot... you should throw not.

7. Look in 13579 all you want, but this ain't there. One possibility only: Consec. #2. The hot tiles are 4B 6C.

8. This is one of those times when you can say "you're dead" without guilt, as long as you say it kindly.

9. She's working in 13579, hand #4. Flowers are hot.

10. So, maybe she thinks these white dragons are zeroes, and maybe she thinks they're just "soaps." No matter which way she's thinking, she's 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).

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

© 2008 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.