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This column contains an error that was reported by a reader on the Q&A Bulletin Board, (see Comments section). Reporting goofs is fun! Maybe you can be the first to report one and get a tip o' the Sloper hat!


By Tom Sloper
May 23, 2021

Column #747

American Mah Jongg (2021 NMJL card). Defend!

1. There's just one possible hand, which can be easily determined by scanning the left side of each pane looking for a kong of flowers that can coexist with a kong of sixes. The hot tiles are sixes in the other two suits. Any likely guesses which hand?

2. The only place twos can coexist with fives is Consec, and it has to be a four-number run. Like Consec #2, for instance. The hot tiles are 3C 4B.

3. The suspects this time: Any Like #2 and Odds #5. The hot tiles are 1C 1D 3C 5C. Note that 3C is a key tile - if 3C is dead on the table, eliminate Odds because Any Like #2 is your opponent's only hope.

4. Your opponent is making W-D #5. The hot tiles are F G. The flower pair is this hand's Achilles heel.

5. Any Like is not the only possibility here - consider 2021 #3 as well. If your opponent is looking really miffed at himself, it may be because he's realized he can't make 2021 #3, because he should have exposed a joker with those twos. Your hot tiles are 2C 2D.

6. There are no identical twin number pungs on this year's card. Call your opponent dead, no such hand. She may be thinking of Consec #6 but goofed, using the same suit for both pungs.

7. The kong of flowers again, indicating possibilities we've already identified with previous problems above. Your opponent might be making Any Like #2 or Odds #5. The hot tiles are 9C 9B 5D 7D. And 7D is a key tile.

8. You're probably thinking, "hey wait a minute, there's no such hand in 13579." Which is true, because this is Consec #5. The hot tiles are F 6B.

9. Again with the flower kong. It's our old friend Any Like #2. Threes in the other two suits are hot.

10. Dragon pungs are rare on the 2021 card. As discussed in a previous column, the only exposable dragon pung hands are Odds #2 and 369 #2. But that kong of sevens doesn't fit. Kongs of fives or nines would work, but not sevens. She's dead, and you should tell her so.


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! Like this...

Column 747

On Thursday, May 27, 2021, 04:46:35 PM PDT, Julia S wrote:
Mah-Jongg Q+A
My mah-jongg question or comment is:
In Column #747, you say for hand #4 "Your opponent is making W-D #5. " Couldn't they also be trying for W-D #6 (with 2021 instead of the greens in #5)?

  囧   You are quite right, Julia!
So the hot tiles are actually F G and 2021 in any suit. It's a question whether or not your opponent already has the flower pair. If they discard a flower, you can discard an unwanted flower too. If they discard G, you can eliminate W-D#5.
Good eye, Julia. When I saw W-D #6 just now, I remembered seeing it when I was scanning, but apparently I forgot it when I was writing! :p
Play safely and stay healthy. And may the tiles be with you.
Tom Sloper
May 27, 2021
Los Angeles, California, USA

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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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