January 22, 2006
American mah-jongg (2005 NMJL card). The Charleston is past, and the tile you just picked forces you to make a decision. It's a quandary. Which tile do you discard? See my answers in italics at bottom.
1. When I count tiles to solve a quandary, I don't count jokers. 369#1 - 7 tiles. 13579#1 - 8 tiles. 13579 #s 3,4 - 8 tiles each. Consec. #1, #6 - 6 tiles each. Focus on Odds (13579). Ditch the six.
2. Could be 2005 #1 or W-D#1 or #2. For 2005, gotta throw away two flowers and pick lucky (need another soap, another S, and a 5C (or a matching 2 and 5 in another suit). 2005 #1 - 11 tiles. W-D #1 - 8 tiles. W- D #2 - 6 tiles. Throw a flower.
3. Either Consec. #3 or Consec. #7. Count: #3 - 9 tiles. #7 - 10 tiles. Consec. #7 is closer (and is this year's easiest hand, to boot). It's painful, but the twos have to go.
4. The pair of reds makes Odds #5 seem within reach, but neither the bams nor the dots have any nines. So that hand is a red herring. Leaves Odds #6 or #2. #2 is not only much closer, but there are two possible ways to go for the pairs, making it flexible as well as fast. Throw 1D, 3D, or R - hold the R as joker bait, if the halfway point hasn't been reached yet.
5. Six possibilities: Sevens #1 (8 tiles), Consec. #1 (6 tiles), Consec. #6 (7 tiles), Odds #1 (5 tiles), Odds #3 (8 tiles), Odds #4 (7 tiles). Odds #3 really isn't worth pursuing since there aren't any threes. The only thing the eight works for is Consec. #1, which is far behind - get rid of it.
6. Bams and green equal craks and red for Consec. #6, so look elsewhere. No 369 hand uses two suits and flowers, so forget 369. The flowers have to stay for sure. Only one 2468 hand can use two suits and flowers - but only two flowers. Throwing a three or a nine will break the impasse. See what comes in.
7. Looks good for S&P #3 (11 tiles). Or Consec. #7 (11 tiles). Feeling lucky? Or wanna make your own luck? Throw 1C (or even J) to go for the gusto. Throw F or 2C to play it safe.
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© 2006 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.