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By Tom Sloper
November 22, 2009

Column #432

American Mah Jongg (2009 NMJL card). Defense. What would you do if you see these on an opponent's rack?

1. Could be Consec. #2 or Elevens #3. The hot tiles are threes and fours in the other two suits, and F 1B.

2. Could be Consec. #5 or Elevens #3. The hot tiles are F 1C 4C 7C.

3. Could be 13579 #3 or Consec. #2. The hot tiles are 1D 3D 2C 4C 4D 5D.

4. Must be 13579 #3. The hot tiles are 3C 1B 3B.

5. Impossible. The only hand that needs a kong of fives and a kong of nines is 13579 #4, but that's a one-suit hand. Call her dead.

6. Quints #3, but made erroneously. It's supposed to be a one-suit hand. Call her dead.

7. Quints #2. All winds are hot; check the discard floor and the other players' exposures for clues.

8. Can only be 13579 #1. 1D 5D 9D are hot. Check the discard floor; if either 1D or 9D is dead, 1D 5D 9D are safe to throw. And of course you should call her dead.

9. 13579 #1. The hot tiles are 1B 7B 9B.

10. Quints #2; all numbers, in all suits, are hot. Hard to defend against this one.

11. Quints #2 again; flowers are hot.

12. W-D #3. The hot tiles are N W S. Look for N or S dead on the floor.

13. Could be 2009 #4 or W-D #6. Lots of hot tile possibilities: 2s and 9s in all suits, R, G.

It's up to you whether or not you want to risk throwing the hot tile. Depends on how close you are.

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Where to order the yearly NMJL card: 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). Linda Fisher's website is the only website that describes American rules:

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

© 2009 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.