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SLOPER ON MAH-JONGG

By Tom Sloper
September 22, 2013

No. #578

American Mah Jongg (2013 NMJL card). First left. What would you pass? Blind passing is permitted. Would you stop the Charleston?

1. Looks vaguely Consecutive. Consec. #6 is no good, but Consec. #s 3, 4, and 5 are feasible. Pass G, 1B, 5B; don't stop the Charleston. You need more clues.

2. The pair of ones has precious few friends, but think odds and lows--chuck 8D, 8C, 6B (high evens).

3. Go for 2013 #1. Pass 4C 5C and 4B. Not having N or 3C is a bit nervous-making!

4. Consec. #3? No (no Fs). Go Evens; pass odds.

5. Evens, maybe low Consec. Pass 1D and 9D; pass R or blind pass one if you want to keep Consec. #3 open.

6. Three equal hands: Like Nos. #1: six +J. Odds #2: six +J. Odds #3: six +J. Don't hang onto all three; forget Like Nos. and focus on just one family. Blind pass 1C (one or both*), and don't stop the Charleston--not with two six-tile hands.

7. Odds #1, maybe. You can preserve that and other Odds options by passing soap, S, 6C.

8. Think 369 or Like Nos., not Odds (two-suit nines exist in 369, and you have no ones). Keep G (Like Nos. #2) and F. Pass 5C, 7C, 4D.

9. Three options: 2013 #1 or #4, or W-D #2. One N can go, and 1B, 2D.

10. Very 369. Pass 5C 8B and blind pass one tile. Don't stop the Charleston, but plan for the inevitable decision now. 369 #4: six +J. #2: seven +J. #3: seven +J. So when push comes to shove, the #4 option (and Dots) may have to go.

11. You could pass 6D G G *but there's the strategic principle that you should "never" pass a pair. That strategy could hurt you, though--the likelihood of getting anything useful is decreased greatly if you hang onto unwanted tiles. When a strategy hurts you, is it really good strategy? I say, "never say never." But if you feel so compelled, you could blind pass one.

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


Column 578

> From: C.G S
> Sent: Sunday, September 29, 2013 10:05 AM
> Subject: RE: Column # 578
> Hi Tom,
> I was working on this lesson and questioned your decision on # 6.
> Odds #6 is also a doable hand since there are 8 tiles + 2 J. Why wouldn't you suggest that this is also a potential hand? There are more tiles for this selection than the other ones that you suggest. I know the odds are greater that you won't make it because you can't call for pairs, but you never know till you try. I'm interested why you don't even consider it.
> Thanks for your response.
> C.G.

Hi, C.G.
The main reasons for not pursuing that one are the complete absence of any 1Bs in the hand, and the existence of three flowers that cry out to be used. It's also plausible that I couldn't go into that one due to the word count (my formula for determining word count is based on image size and how it would look in a newspaper column space). But let's assume instead that I totally overlooked that one.
Dropping Like Nos. is still the right thing. Blind-passing the 1Cs would be bad for Odds #6; passing Fs would be bad for Odds #3; but if I wanted to go for Odds #6 I'd have no choice but to pass Fs, or blind pass up to 3, and probably not stop the Charleston. Passing 3 Fs would not be a good idea, of course. Very tough choice!
Good call, C.G.!

May the tiles be with you.
Tom Sloper

Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
Los Angeles, California, USA
September 29, 2013


Column 579, problem #4. No, wait, column 578

> From: Cinda V
> Sent: Friday, October 11, 2013 8:07 PM
> Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
> My mah-jongg question or comment is: #579 #4. Why not go for #1 under 2013?

>From: Cinda V
>Sent: Friday, October 11, 2013 8:09 PM
>Subject: Mah-Jongg Q+A
>My mah-jongg question or comment is: I mean column #578

Hi, Cinda. You mean this one?...

The reason I didn't consider 2013 #1 with that (column 578, problem #4) is that it has no winds, and there's a pair of sixes, and a goodly number of even numbers. I think you must have had another problem in mind. #3 in column 578, perhaps?...

For that one, yes, 2013 #1 would be a reasonable option.

May the tiles be with you.
Tom Sloper

Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
Los Angeles, California, USA
October 11, 2013


Column 578

rom: Elizabeth T
> Sent: Wednesday, November 20, 2013 1:10 PM
> Subject: Column 578
> A friend just told me about your column, so I am looking at it for the first time. For Hand 3, why wouldn't you play
> N EE WWW SSSS 2013?
> Thanks,
> Elizabeth

Hi, Elizabeth.
As I said to Cinda when she too suggested that hand in her October 11 email (below, and at the bottom of column 578), that's a good option. Eight tiles towards that hand. So if you want to preserve that hand, pass 4B 4C 5C.
May the tiles be with you.
Tom Sloper

Creator of the weekly Mah-Jongg column and the Mah-Jongg FAQs -- donations appreciated.
Author of "The Red Dragon & The West Wind," the definitive book on Mah-Jongg East & West.
Los Angeles, California, USA
November 20, 2013



A tip o' the hat to Elizabeth T.! -- And a slight nod to Cinda V (since it was so difficult figuring out which column and which puzzle she was referring to).

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