A reader of this blog, Charlotte B., sent in several questions. At first they seemed to warrant very easy answers but on further analysis, we realized that the two questions were much more complicated than they initially had seemed. Fortunately, the question arrived at a perfect time – the day before the OMs (the Original Mahjettes) held our weekly Wednesday Mah Jongg get-together. We discussed the questions during lunch and then again at the Mahj table and we finally all agreed on the answer.

A follow-up phone call to the very helpful people at the NMJL validated our answer which follows.


Here is the question:

Could you please clarify this situation….
Player A has exposed WWWJJ for a quint hand.
Player B discards a W without redeeming it for a J.
1.  Can Player A claim the W for Mahjongg? (Replacing one of the J’s with the W and using the J
for Mahjongg).
2.  Can another player claim the W to use with 2 J’s to expose WJJ?
Thank you for your help!
And here is our answer:
1. No, Player A cannot claim the West for Mah Jongg because you cannot use a discarded tile to
exchange for a Joker. If that West tile could be used to call for Mah Jongg then she could
absolutely pick it up. But, again, it cannot be used for an exchange for a Joker, even if that
exchange would result in Mah Jongg.
2. Here’s the thing…there is no hand on the 2014 card that has three West tiles in it (except for a
concealed hand so Player B would end up being called dead if she exposed WJJ unless she was
declaring Mah Jongg). She could pick up the West if she has three Jokers in her hand and is then
able to expose WJJJ   – that is a legitimate exposure on the 2014 card.
Again, the only hand on the 2014 card that has 3 West tiles is a concealed hand so unless she is
picking up that discarded West tile to declare Mah Jongg, she cannot pick up a tile when playing
a concealed hand.
However, if you are still playing with that 2013 card (and why would you be doing that when the
2014 card is so much fun?) then Player B could pick up that discarded tile if she could expose
WJJ while playing the 2013 hand of N EE WWW SSSS 2013.
Charlotte – thanks so much for this great question and I hope our answers satisfy you and your
group. And if anyone else has a Mah Jongg-related question they would like us to answer,
please send it to this blog.