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By Tom Sloper
December 28, 2008

Column #392

Check out the hands below. Which variant is each from, and what does it need to win? To add to the challenge, I have not arranged the tiles in the most "viewer-friendly" manner.

1. American (2008 NMJL card). The giveaway is the inclusion of the flowers in the hand; no other variant does that. This hand is waiting for 8C (2008 #1, 30 cents). When obtained, the hand will be worth double for jokerless (60 cents) - double again if the player self-picks it (a dollar twenty).

2. British (Western) rules. This hand is called "Gertie's Garter," and it's missing 3B. It's essentially seven sequential knitted (mixed 2-suit) pairs, 1 to 7. It's worth the limit. If you answered "Wright-Patterson," you'd also be right!

3. Japanese. Thirteen unrelated tiles (shi-san puta). Problem is, this yakuman hand is only available to the dealer, on the initial deal. It's missing a duplicate of any tile in the hand, and since this player isn't the dealer, this is worthless and will be hard to play. With 8 unique honors and terms and no duplicate, the player can't request a redeal (nagare) unless he gets another unique term/honor on the first pick.

4. Mahjong Competition Rules. Knitted Straight (waiting for 9C), All Types, wind pung. 19 points plus any incidentals for flowers and method of going hu.

5. Wright-Patterson. "Independence," for double. 1776 in three suits, and a pair of 4s. It's waiting for 7B.

6. American (2008 NMJL card). Consec. #4, kongs of 2s and 4s in one suit, bracketing pairs of 3s in all suits. The jokers fill the kongs. This hand is waiting for 2C, 4C, or a fourth J. Worth 30 points, 60 if self-picked.

7. Wright-Patterson, "Civil War." 1861 in one suit, 1865 in another suit, and pungs of N and S. It's missing 5B and is worth double.

8. Mahjong Competition Rules. Pure Shifted Chows (234 345 456). It's waiting for 2C for All Chows, One Voided Suit, and a unique wait. 20 points.

9. American (2008 AMJA card). "Friends" (pair F, pair R, pair any 1s, pair E, pair N, pair any Dragon, pair S). It's missing an N, and will be worth 75 cents.

Thanks to sharp-eyed reader Andrew F. for spotting some errors in this column so they could be fixed.

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Links to sites where Western rules are described (every author's description varies somewhat):

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Copyright 2008 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.