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By Tom Sloper (湯姆 斯洛珀)
February 7, 2010
Column #439

Next Sunday is Chinese New Year. This is the last Sunday of the Year of the Ox. Next Sunday the Year of the Tiger begins. My yearly celebration of the Lunar New Year is to come up with a special hand that anybody can use (regardless of which kind of mahjong is played). I figure it's a good idea to post the Year of the Tiger hand a week ahead of time, for those who might want to permit it on the holiday weekend only.

The hand includes 2010 and 2011, using the American "white dragon equals zero" concept. The lunar calendar doesn't begin on January 1; the Year of the Tiger will end on February 2, 2011. The month of January 2011 will be part of the Tiger year. The hand can be made in one or two suits (the two and one of 2010 can be of any one suit, and the two and ones of 2011 can be in the same suit as the 2010, or a second suit). The 2010 and 2011 are not exposable prior to declaring mahjong, of course, because they're just single tiles and a pair. Pungs of East and South because wild tigers live primarily in southeast Asia.

The hand scores maximum. I suggest the following values:

For Taiwanese, since the game uses a hand of 17 tiles rather than 14, add a pung of green dragon.

Whatever you do, don't just make this hand and expect everybody to fork over! Discuss and agree first.

Wishing all my readers a happy and prosperous Year of the Tiger.


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© 2010 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved. Tiger image is from "Art Explosion 600,000 Images," © 1998 Nova Development Corporation. Used under license.