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By Tom Sloper
April 15, 2012

Column #515

American Mah Jongg (2012 NMJL card). What would you discard?

1. Consecutive Runs? Or Odds? There are six tiles towards Consec. #1, and seven tiles towards Odds #7. But check it out: 9D doesn't go with either hand. Ditch it now, and make a decision when the mah-jongg gods give you another sign.

2. Which Evens hand should you target? Those fours are the key to which tile(s) should be dispensed with. You won't be making hands 2, 6, or 7, since there are no dragons present. Toss the F. This eliminates hand #3--you would have to throw a 4C if you went for that, and now you can focus on fewer possibilities.

3. While there may be a 369 hand here, these tiles go more strongly for Consec. #5. Kill 3B, unless it's past the halfway point and G can go for joker bait now.

4. Flowers and NEWS and 2012? There's no hand that uses all three. For 2012 #1, you have seven tiles. For W-D #5, you have nine tiles. W-D is better, except for two things: it's a concealed hand, and you need to complete two pairs. If it was eight tiles versus nine, I'd say go for the 2012. But at seven tiles versus nine, I'm inclined to go for the closed W-D.

5. Perennial favorite, Consec. #3. The problem with Consec. #2 is that you have multiple eights, not sevens. Regardless, though, you don't need the 5C 6C in any case. But since this is a possible Consec. #1, I'd throw 5D or 6D.

6. Ouch, the all-pairs consec. hand is not on the card this year. The joker may have to go, but whether you go for S&P #2 or Consec. #1 or Odds #1, the flowers definitely need pruning.

7. You have pairs of nines in two suits. The bottom hands in 369 are indicated, and both are two-suit hands. Discard a bam. Keep R for top hand option.

8. Looks like 2012 #4. Discard 2D, 1D, or the superfluous soap. Bams and craks only.

9. You may have noticed that I keep coming back to Consec. #3, time after time. And that's because it's the most powerful hand on the card. Discard a bam, and keep the craks for a Consec. #1 option.

A tip o' the hat to EliseGK and Debbie K!

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© 2012 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.