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By Tom Sloper
May 9, 2021

Column #745

American Mah Jongg (2021 NMJL card). An opponent has two exposures atop the rack. Defend!

1. You're probably thinking 369, and you're right. It's 369 #6, and the hot tiles are 9C F.

2. This can only be Consec #2. The hot tiles are 3C 4D.

3. Number quints are found in only one part of the card: Quints. There is only one same-number quints hand this year: Quints #4. But it cannot be made with ones. Your opponent has misconstrued what is permissible, and you should call them dead. The second exposure must be returned to the sloping front of the rack, and your opponent can stretch their legs.

4. Twos and fours suggests 2468, right? But there is no Evens hand that supports kongs of differently-suited twos and fours. This has to be Consec. I'm always going on and on about Consec #2, and that is a possibility, but don't stop looking. Could also be Consec #5. The hot tiles are 1D 3B F 3C. Never stop looking when you've identified one possible hand.

5. Ones and threes suggests Odds, right? But only one hand supports a kong of ones, and a kong of threes doesn't fit. So once again, fall back on Consec. It's Consec #5, and the hot tiles are F 2C.

6. Kongs of nines. You won't find them in 369, nor in Odds. But you will find them in Any Like (#1 and #2) and Consec #7. The hot tiles are F 6B 7B 8B 9B and NEWS. There are a lot of key tiles there. If all of any wind tile is dead on the table, you can cross off Any Like #1. If 9B is dead, cross off Any Like #2. If any one of 6B or 7B or 8B is dead, cross off Consec #7. If seven or all eight flowers are accounted for, you can cross off Any Like #1.

7. Quints of flowers are found only in Quints #1, Consec #4, and 369 #4. The pung of eights fits Consec #4 only. The hot tiles are 7B 9B. And 7B is a key tile.

8. There's only one flower kong in Winds-Dragons: #3. Your opponent needs a pung of N and pairs of E and W. Those pairs are key tiles.

9. There are three numbers between one and five, and the only five-number run in Consec can't use a pung of ones. See Odds #3. The hot tiles are 3C 3D.

10. Pungs of ones look like Odds #7? That's a concealed hand, so this has to be Any Like #3. G and soap are hot.

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. Hit me with your best shot!

Join Johni Levene's popular Facebook group, "Mah Jongg, That's It!" for lively conversations about American mah-jongg and all things mah-jongg.

Where to order the yearly NMJL card: Read FAQ 7i.

Need rules for American mah-jongg? Tom Sloper's book, The Red Dragon & The West Wind, is the most comprehensive book about the American game, a good supplement to the League's official rulebook. AND see FAQ 19 for fine points of the American rules (and commonly misunderstood rules). AND every player should have a copy of Mah Jongg Made Easy, the official rulebook of the National Mah Jongg League (see FAQ 3 for info on mah-jongg books).

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