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By Tom Sloper
April 10, 2011

Column #483

American Mah Jongg (2011 NMJL card). Let's do some offense exercises with the new card. I had the computer deal me some hands. What would you pass in the Charleston with these deals?

1. The pairs of 1s and 9s suggest Odds, but there are no 3s, 5s, or 7s. But with those 9s I'm thinking Like Numbers. I'd pass evens and see what happens.

2. Pairs 5s and Ns suggest W-D #3 or Quints #3. Or possibly something in Odds. Again I'd pass evens.

3. No pairs. Nothing suggests any S&P hand. Count highs vs. lows and odds vs. evens. 6 highs vs. 4 lows, and 5 odds vs. 4 evens. Pass lows, see how it goes.

4. Pair 4s with lots of jokers. Look to Quints, Evens, and Consec. (in low numbers). Quints #s 1, 2, and 4 are all possibilities. 1C and 1D can go (they're too far from the 4s), and the dragons too. Choose one dragon to pass, doesn't matter which.

5. One pair: 4B. What friends does it have, though? Not much; the 5 and the 6 could make 3-4-5-6 (Consec. #3), or 6 and 8 could make an Evens hand. Keep the 4s and craks (and F -- you never know). Anything else can go.

6. One pair: 1B. Its best friends look like F, 2B, E, W, and 0. I'm thinking 2011 #4. As a backup keep 1C also. Pass high numbers.

7. One pair: 4C. Its friends are the other evens. Pass odds (but not 5C, for Consec. possibilities) and a wind.

8. Pairs 5s and 8s. The only thing that could use both is Consec. #3, but that doesn't look likely. So: what can we do with just the 5s, and what can we do with just the 8s? With the 5s, maybe Odds #1 & #8, can pass anything except craks. With the 8s, maybe Evens #2. Keeping all three options open leaves 9D and 0 to pass, but what else? Must think fast! Aw darn, I guess 9C will have to go, too.

9. Pairs 3s and Ws. They don't go together, so forget W. Think Odds #6, Consec. #6. 6B and 7B can go, together with a W.

10. The 7s and 8s suggest Consec. and Like Numbers. Pass 2C, 3B, 4D.

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Question or comment about this column? I often miss something; maybe you'll be the first one to spot it! Please be gentle. Email and the discussion will be posted on the Mah-Jongg Q&A Bulletin Board.

October 2010 article on American mah jongg's rise in popularity, from the WALL STREET JOURNAL: ?mod=WSJ_hpp_RIGHTTopCarousel_2.
There's a movie of the WSJ story too -- just click the Video tab on the above page, or go to ?mod=WSJ_hpp_RIGHTTopCarousel_2#articleTabs%3Dvideo.

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:

© 2011 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.