Inside Front Cover
Clearly, the book describes Chinese Classical mah-jongg (note the scoring), described in Cantonese terms.
I have read Mr. Winters' manuscript and
discussed it with several friends who are
expert players. In our opinion he has given
most exact rules and completely described
Ma Cheuk as the Chinese play it.
TSE TSOK KAI,
Sectetary, pro tem.
Canton Chamber of Commerce.
All of the above which greatly bolsters the CC theory, that the style of mah-jongg which today we call "Chinese Classical" (CC) predates the style of mah-jongg which today we call "Hong Kong Old Style" (HKOS).
Of further interest to those studying the origins of the game is what Winters writes in the first chapter.
ORIGIN OF THE GAME
called "Ma Cheuk" [Pronounced practically "Ma Juck"] by the Cantonese and Ma Jong by the Mandarin speaking Chinese, the English translation of which is Sparrow, is probably the most popular game in China. Although a recent development, it has supplanted Chinese Chess, which has been played for thousands of years, is covered by many textbooks, and is spoken of by Confucius and the scholar Mencius in the Classics. Ma Cheuk, on the other hand, is not mentioned in ancient literature and is covered by only a few textbooks, all of recent date. Since it is very popular among the educated classes and is played by officials throughout
China, the lack of literature on the game may be taken as proof of its recent origin, in spite of the fact that much has been written of an origin lost in the mists of antiquity.
The Cantonese credit Hung Sau Chuen, , the native of Canton who started the Tai-ping Rebellion and afterward established himself as Emperor in Nanking, with the invention of the game while there (about 1860). To substantiate this claim, the Chinese point out the fact that natives of Kiangsu, Anhwei, and Chekiang Provinces, which surround Nanking, are the most expert players of the game.
Chinese Chess is a typical war game, each side giving battle on foot, horse, elephant, and by cannon until a decision is reached. Ma Cheuk is just as typical of the Tai-ping Rebellion during which Hung Sau Chuen ravaged the country, sacking city after city until he reached Nanking.
The four players may be said to represent four of his generals attacking a city from different sides. A breach is made in the wall and the revolutionists enter. They may be
repulsed by the inhabitants (a Drawn Deal); they may get much plunder in sacking the city, fortune favoring the lucky general with some especially valuable finds (Typical Deal); or the inhabitants may pay ransom and buy the protection of a powerful general (Full Hand).
Onc can almost see Hung Sau Chuen drawing the parallel as he teaches the game in the midst of his pleasure-loving court in Nanking.
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