Sunday, January 29, 2012

Mah Jongg Doctors attend a Seminar: pronounced [tournament]

Whenever an excess of 150 Mah Jongg players converge for a weekend of competitive play, it's always a learning experience!

Here are just a few observations from this past weekend in Piscataway, NJ at Joanne Bourne's tournament.  See her schedule here.  BTW....we love Joanne's tournaments!  She provides a wonderful Mah Jongg experience!

Back to our 'seminar'....

1.  Lightening does strike twice!
            When a player makes the 'big' hand [FF 2011 2011 2011]
            TWICE in one round (four games) you know that it does!

2.  Don't Count your Chickens
           When you open with this (after the passing) [ F 22 44 66 88 8 8]
           Don't assume that you will make the hand.  Even if you pick up      
           another 8 BAM (which I did) .....Because while you're waiting for a
           flower or an 8 crack to set you for calling the last tile,
           all of the 8 cracks could go out...and they did!
           Even when you open with a beautIful hand,
           there are NO GUARANTEES!

3.  It's Not Over Till It's Over
         Keep your head in the game until the last tile is thrown.
        A player can make Mah Jongg on the last tile in the wall, or the last tile

4.  All's Fair in Love and Mah Jongg
           Yes, its a game.  We are friendly players.  We play by the rules,
           we live by the rules and sometimes we're called dead by the rules.
           That's how the game is played even by nice people!
           Don't be afraid to call a player dead who makes an incorrect exposure
           or has too many or too few tiles!

5.  It's How You Play the Game!
           Mah jongg is a competitive game.  We all like to win.
           But win or lose in the end we love playing good Mah Jongg.
           The doctors played 48 games of Mah Jongg this weekend.
           Each game was challenging, kept our adrenaline going, we played and
           strategized until the very last tile was thrown.

And you want to know how we fared at this tournament?   We had a great time!!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Question from a Reader

So, here's an interesting question from a reader.  The Mah Jongg doctors had to confer on this one....but we have the answer!

A player wanted to know if she could make the consecutive hand FFFF 1111 2222 DD using soaps for zero and the number one.  What she argues is that the numbers are consecutive, that is, zero precedes the number one.  

After some discussion, the doctors say NO.  Here's why.

1. A white dragon is used as zero only as a single digit as part of a larger number and as 0000 in the extended year hand:   FFFF 2222 0000 11.

2.  The consecutive number hands all start with the number one on the card.  If zero were an option, then it would be shown that way on the card.  ie.  FFFF 0000 1111 DD  This would also change the play of many of the hands under consecutive numbers.

3.  When the dragon is used as zero, it has no specific suit.  Therefore, there is no opposite or matching suit to be used in the consecutive hands. For example, if you played 11 22 111 222 DD with zeros as 00 11 000 111 DD....and used white dragons as the pair, what would you use for the pung of zeros?

3.  In all instances the card addresses unique situations for use of the tiles.  In absence of such information, we assume that soap is ONLY used as zero in the cases that are specifically mentioned on the card.  This year, that would be in the 'year' hands as zero in 2011 and also in the last hand under Singles and Pairs.

In years past, we've seen it used in multiplication and addition hands that require 10, 20 or 30.  For example:  FFFF 5555 x 6666 = 30.  But again, in this instance it's used as part of another number.

We hope this answers the question, and if anyone out there has any other input, please let us know!


Friday, January 20, 2012

Doctor on Call

Last night, just as I was beginning cocktail hour before a family dinner,  the phone rang and it was my long time friend Lorraine.  I thought she wanted to chat and I would have to cut things short since I had company, but no!  It was a call for the Mah Jongg Doctor!

She was playing MJ with a group of friends in Florida and a question came up. 

She had already exposed  a kong of 4 bams with no joker.  She had a joker but didn't use it.  Now she needed 2 singletons:  2BAM and 4BAM.

"I know the hand," I said.  "You're playing with an old card." 

"Yes,  we didn't have enough 2011 cards.  I should have used a joker in the exposure!" she said, "and saved the other 4 BAM."

"Yes," I said.

"So, am I dead?"

"Not if you can use the Kong of 4BAMS for another hand. don't call yourself dead.  That's up to another player to do.  If they're right, you stop picking and the rest of the table gets more picks.   If the other player is wrong, that player is dead."

You can only be called dead if the other players can tell from you're exposures that you're playing a hand that can no longer be made because tiles that you need are already discarded.  Ususally for pairs.
Or you can be called dead if you have exposed a hand that is concealed (and it couldn't be another hand) or if you do not have the correct number of tiles in your hand.

Note:  This year's card has a similar hand:

FFFF  3333  x  5555  = 15

Don't forget to save a natural 5  and 1 for the singletons at the end of this hand!

Enjoy the game and call or email if you have a Mah Jongg Emergency!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Get in the Game!

The game of Mah Jongg is coming into its own again.  More  and younger players taking up the game, more members joining the National Mah Jongg League, more realization that this game is fun, social, and a challenge to the mind!

Here's an article that vouches for that:

The Renewed, Surprising Appeal of Mah Jongg

This posted online by Marie Kohler  in a Milwaukee newpaper.

 Mah Jongg is not extinct!  It's on the rise.

Make it your resolution to get in the game in 2012.  

You won't regret it!