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


By Tom Sloper
July 13, 2008

Column #372

American Mah-Jongg (2008 NMJL card). Defense by the numbers, part 7. An opponent had previously exposed a number kong. Now she exposes a second number kong in a different suit. In each case illustrated below (all other cases having already been considered), what should you do?

1. The 2008 card does not include a hand that permits kongs of different-suited sevens. As was discussed in previous columns in this defense series, your best course of action when a player's hand is dead is... to call her dead. Most players, when rightly called dead, simply acknowledge the fact. The instance reported by Julie on June 30 on the Q&A bulletin board was an unusual case. The player she rightly called dead took it as an insult! Must have been a novice player. Don't concern yourself about how the dead player will react to being called dead; that's her problem. Your only concern is to win or at least not throw someone else's winning tile.

2. The player is endeavoring to make Consec. #5. The hot tiles are 4C 5C 6C. Her problem is that those three numbers are all pairs. She doesn't have all three pairs yet, obviously, since she hasn't declared mah-jongg. So you need to scan the discard floor. See if you can spot more than two each of any one of those hot tiles. If you can, she's dead and you should say so.

3. Could be Consec. #2 or 13579 #3. Her hot tiles are 6C, 8B, 5C and 7D. Consider defensive options.

4. No such hand. She's dead.

5. 2008 #1. The hot tiles are 2C, 8C, Wh, F.

6. Consec. #5. The hot tiles are 5B 6B 7B. Scan the discard floor for three of any of those, as with #2 above. Tip: those online mah-jongg tile-matching games are very good practice for times like this.

7, 8, 9. No such hands exist on the 2008 NMJL card. Call her dead.


A tip of the hat to sharp-eyed reader "bgermain."
Question or comment about this column? Email and the discussion will be posted on the Mah-Jongg Q&A Bulletin Board.

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

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.