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By Tom Sloper
July 22, 2012

Column #529

American Mah Jongg (2012 NMJL card). An opponent is showing two exposures. What's your defense?

1. No sweat - this is clearly 369 #2 - the hot tiles are 6C and 6D.

2. Consec. #3 or #4. Hot tiles are F 0 1B 1C 2B 2C. If soap is dead, you can forget about Consec. #4.

3. Consec. #5; hot tiles are F 2D 5D. F is key.*

4. Odds #2 - hot tiles are 1B 1D 3B 3D. Look for clues from what she discards and what she doesn't call.

5. This year's card has no four-number consec. hands with kongs at both ends, so this can only be 369. It's the third hand, in one suit. She needs 9D and F. F is key.*

6. 369 #3 in three suits. 9D and F are hot; F is key.*

7. Elevens in three suits. F and 1B are hot; 1B is key.*

8. Odds has no such hand this year, so this is clearly Consec. #5. She obviously needs 4C and F. F is key.*

9. Clearly Like Nos., with F and 3C the hot tiles. 3C is key.*

10. 369 #3, in three suits. 6C and F are hot. F is key.*

11. Elevens in one suit. F and 1B are hot. 1B is key.*

12. 369 #3 in one suit. 6C and F are hot. F is key.*

13. Could be Like Numbers, Elevens, or Consec. #4. Key tiles* are 3B, 3D, ones, and R. If any of those is dead on the table, you can eliminate a hand from consideration. If 1B is dead, 8D is safe. If R is dead, 2C and 4C are safe. If both 3B and 3D are both dead, you can forget about Like Nos.

* When I say a particular tile is "key," I mean that if that tile is dead on the table, the player's hand is dead; her tiles are safe to discard, at least as far as she's concerned. And if that's the only hand she could be making, you may call her dead and get more picks.

A tip o' the hat to sharp-eyed reader Belinda G.

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© 2012 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.