Tuesday, March 19, 2013

We're at the halfway mark with our spring class in beginning Mah Jongg.  Last week our students started to play a game.  And in the beginning it's always a challenge to do the Charleston!

Let's review.  The order of passing is written on the back of your card:
1ST Charleston:
Right
Across
Left
 2ND Charleston (should you choose to continue):
Left
Across
Right
Then:  Courtesy Pass.

Earlier we posted some tips for passing which you can review here.

Before you pass, arrange your tiles in suits on your rack.  This helps you to see the strength in your hand...if there is one!

Last night I opened with this!

 No pairs, a real mix of tiles. Sometimes I rearrange to see the number families more clearly.  Like this:  Winds, even numbers, odd numbers.

Still not much to work with.  I decide to pass the last three tiles as my FIRST RIGHT.  5BAM, 7CRAK, and 9BAM.  Maybe I'll get winds...or more even numbers from the player on my left.


BUT....instead I get 5BAM, 7BAM and 9DOT.

I decide to be bold.  I keep the odd numbers and begin passing away the winds and evens....in appropriate mixtures.  A 2CRAK, SOUTH, and 6BAM together. You can only change course like this early in the passing.  I was hoping to get my first 5BAM back again.  What you pass on the FIRST RIGHT won't make it back to you again until the LAST RIGHT.  And maybe never, if another player decides to keep it.

Don't be discouraged if you don't decide on a hand in the passing!  You still have the whole game to play!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Some Controversy about claiming a tile for MJ

So, if you belong to the NMJL (National Mah Jongg League) and get their newsletter, you saw the question regarding claiming a discarded tile for mah jongg and putting it IN your rack rather than ON your rack.

The doctors have been teaching that to claim a discard for MJ you MUST put it on your rack, not IN your rack...because we teach "tournament rules" ...just so that you're ready for play in a tournament some time in the future.

Here's the question and an excellent answer from Gladys Grad of Mah Jongg Madness.  Gladys runs many tournaments and I think clarifies this question very well.  Tournaments DO have more stringent rules that social play.  If you're interested in MJ cruises or tournaments, check out the website at the link above. 

Here's the question from the league bulletin:
 
QUESTION: I just got the NMJL bulletin: "A player called for a discard and declared Mah Jongg. She put the discard in her rack amongst her other tiles and then made her full exposure for Mah Jongg. Is this acceptable?"


The League answer:
NMJL ANSWER. "Yes..a player may pick up the discard, put it amongst her other tiles in her hand and then put up all 14 tiles for Mah Jongg."

Gladys responds: 
MAH JONGG MADNESS RESPONSE:

Since the NMJL bulletin came out, we’ve had to respond to this issue a lot in the past few days.

Unfortunately, we have experienced a method of “cheating” in tournaments that directly relates to this rule. Several East and Northeast coast tournaments have been using this rule for a long time; and even though we’ve hesitated to use it for several years, we feel that now is the time to enforce the rule.

OUR TOURNAMENT RULE: If you claim a discarded tile for an exposure or for Mah Jongg, you must place the claimed tile ON your rack - not in your rack.

Tournament play, by its very nature, has to be more stringent with the rules. Our rationale for requiring you to place the claimed tile ON the rack- is that a claimed tile must be verified by the other players. After taking the discarded tile you claimed ON your rack – then everyone else has an opportunity to verify that this was the same tile that was discarded.

On the other hand, if you put a tile you picked from the table into your rack, moved your tiles around, and then exposed.....there is no way to verify that this was the same tile that was discarded. There are players who can do this rather nefarious move very quickly. Therefore, because this is an opportunity to “cheat,”......we now utilize the strict rule in tournament games (where higher prizes may be at stake).

As you know, the NMJL focuses on “gracious” and “sociable” games that usually take place in homes and club houses. By putting this rule in their new bulletin, they have now taken the League-position on this rule for social play. We do know they wish to help keep local social games amenable.

Unfortunately, although we defer to all-things-NMJL, we very respectfully disagree with them on this.
There are a lot of things that tournaments do that may appear to differ from the NMJL’s rules:

-requiring that the card be in front of all players during tournament play
-timed rounds
-bonus hands
-point penalties
-higher point penalties for giving mah jongg to 2 or 3 exposures
-point penalties for peeking at the blind pass
-point penalties for “dead” hands
-a penalty for not putting your exposed mah jongg hand in order – when requested to do so
-verifying scores
-replacing a miscalled tile if you have the correct tile in your hand (especially if it is claimed for an exposure)
-removing disrespectful and rude players; etc

As we strive to establish sanctioned and standardized rules for tournaments, we feel that clear-cut rules contribute so much to add to the credibility and integrity of what we do.

Wishing you a Happy New Year.

Gladys Grad

MAH JONGG TOURNAMENTS & CRUISES

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day Mah Jongg Players!

On this special day what do we LOVE about Mah Jongg?
(Yes, sometimes we think about everything in terms of MJ!)

We love:

  • time together with friends
  • a shared meal
  • a chance to 'escape' into a game that takes all of your concentrtion
  • the challenge of a different game every time you open a new hand
  • the sound and feel of the tiles as we mix them together
  • the excitement and anticipation of a new card each year
  • a chance to meet new friends through a shared interest
 What do you love about the game??