Although our wall is a bit crooked, please take a look at the bottom of the photo where the last two tiles form a “T” – when the OMs play, we turn the last two tiles so that we know that is the end of the wall and we should be picking our tiles from the other end. Whether or not this is sanctioned, this is one of our table rules. But Gladys Grad has answered a question in her monthly Mah Jongg Madness newsletter concerning players who pick from the wrong end of the wall. Read on…Q. If a player picks from the wrong end of the wall, I know from your tournaments that they are dead. But I was told that the official rule is – the whole game ceases. And what happens if the next player does this too?
A. In a tournament, if a player picks from the wrong side of the wall, then that player is dead. The game does not cease; it continues; and everyone will continue to pick from the correct end of the wall. As a Director, you have to ask “what decision will benefit the game at hand.”
However, if there was some question about which side of the wall to pick from because the wall was askew (which happens more often than not)…then it should be up to the wall-pusher to apologize, straighten up the wall so the mistake doesn’t happen again, and call over the Director for a decision. In that case, I would likely grant the picker special consideration.
If two or more have picked from the wrong end of the wall (or the wrong wall), then the game continues with everyone continuing to pick from that end of the wall.
If the picker-from-the-wrong-end discards a tile that is claimed for Mah Jongg, then the Mah Jongg is good. If someone claims that tile for an exposure, and the error is discovered BEFORE the exposure, then the picker is dead. If someone claims that tile for an exposure, and the error is discovered AFTER the exposure, then the game continues with picking from the wrong end of the wall; and the picker remains in the game….by virtue of the fact that the picker’s error was COVERED by the claimer.
NOTE: Betty Ann, from her FB page WE LOVE MAH JONGG, has offered up a solution. “There are some people who….lay in wait for people to pick from the wrong end of the wall to call that person dead…. Add a rule that the person pushing out the wall MUST arrange/rearrange the tiles so all the tiles are visible and aligned; and if they fail to do so…and should a person pick the wrong tile, then the pusher is also dead. In this way. there is no hoping for an opportunity to call anyone dead for wrong-side-picking.”
Very cool idea. This is definitely something to think about.
If your Mah Jongg group has an idea on how to make sure everyone picks from the right end of the wall, send it to me and I will post it.
We play the old rules ala Babcock/Chinese style, so I don’t know NMJL rules.
But in all the old books the recommendation is to separate the last 14 (or 16?) tiles of the wall as a replacement cache, take the last 2 tiles from the end of that and place on top of the cache. So everyone knows where the end is, you can offset the cache across the real end of the wall.
Oh, Tony – thanks so much. I have never heard of this recommendation but I will certainly relay it to our group and also will post this method. This is fantastic!
Our group “turns the tail of the dragon”; the wall being the “dragon” and the last two tiles being the “tail” that is being turned to indicate the end of the wall. Sounds like the OM’s do the same thing.