The CC Theory

A lengthy debate on the mahjong newsgroup (news:rec.games.mahjong) raged on for years (most heatedly between 2000 and 2002), the topic being whether CC or HKOS was the older form of mahjong.
  • Alan Kwan held that CC (Chinese Classical) was the original rule set and that HKOS evolved from it.
  • Cofa Tsui argued that it was just as likely that CC evolved from HKOS.
  • I argued that the evidence was overwhelmingly in Alan's favor, at least that HKOS was a younger variant that probably evolved from CC (if not that CC was the original rule set).

    The "debate" raged on for a very long time, with a lot of side arguments confusing the matter and with not a few insults being thrown around. So in an attempt to re-civilize the mahjong newsgroup, I created a web version of the arguments, neater and shorter, to both move the debate off the newsgroup and to provide a forum in which the argument could be debated in a more formalized manner.

    In 2006, new information emerged about pre-1920s mahjong rules, and non-CC 1920s rules. And, in the four years since I moved the debate from the newsgroup to the web, I've learned a lot about the early development of mahjong, largely thanks to scholars like Michael Stanwick, who wrote a series of articles in The Playing-Card (the journal of the International Playing Card Society), and Thierry Depaulis, who was interviewed in a most enlightening TV show about playing cards ("Secrets of the Playing Card") that was shown here in the U.S. on the History Channel. It was now apparent that CC was not the original rule set of mahjong. And some new information about some minor CC-like variants extant in the 1920s hinted at a possibility that HKOS could (just possibly) have evolved from those, rather than directly from CC.

    So at this point, looking back on this silly old debate, I didn't feel like it was necessary to keep the old debate page alive anymore. Especially since part of what Alan and I had claimed was no longer supportable (that CC was "the original" variant, which later discoveries, especially Stanwick's, clearly disproved). So now I have replaced the old debate page with this page you're looking at.


    (If you really want to see that old debate page, it's still here.)