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By Tom Sloper
October 26, 2008

Column #385

American Mah-Jongg (2008 NMJL card). What would you pass?

1E. The pair of 6C is key. It has to be Consec. (2468 and 369 both look too far away.) I'd pass E 2B 3D.

1N. Looking good for 13579. I'd pass 2C 4B G.

1W. The N pung and 7D pair are not mutually exclusive. The 6B 7D 8D suggests also Consec. #2. I'd pass 3B G, and after agonizing, R.

1S. Those flowers say either 2468 #1 or Sevens or Consec. #3. I'd pass S 2B 3B.

Game 1: The Charleston won't go well for East. West will get the S and E eventually, but not enough sevens to go for W-D #4. But she could get another R so she can go for W-D #2 (she'll have to pick flowers, though). South could get the G's and look good for Consec. #3 by the end of the dance.

2E. The craks suggest Consec. #1, but the F pair confuses things. Could also go for Consec. #3. I'd pass S, 2D, 6B.

2N. Looks like 13579 #1. I'd pass 2D S Wh.

2W. Those 2's say low Consec. Run. I'd pass 7D E 6D.

2S. The 8's could lead to 2468 or Consec.; no clear direction. I'd pass 1B 3B S.

Game 2: There are 3 S's going around, but nobody wants them. There will be much kvetching.

3E. The G pair doesn't go with anything. But I'd keep it and see. The winds can go, and... 2D.

3N. Consec. #2, clear as a bell (5678, craks/dots). I'd pass W 2C 9B.

3W. A real mess. 2008 is a long shot, but what the hey. I'd pass 5B 6C 8D.

3S. I'd go for 2468, could do dragons and 6's. I'd pass 1D 9B and... 4C.

Game 3: By the end of the dance, West will be good for 2008 #5 and South will be good for 2478 #5, but they'll be in each other's hair, both wanting soap.

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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).

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.