Mah Jongg is not just a game. It has become a part of my life that allows me to entertain my Mah Jongg-playing friends, cook great meals to serve to them and test my mental skills during our game play (which, hopefully, is often).
I won’t be playing Mah Jongg with the OMs tomorrow as I will be getting ready for the New Year’s holiday. I am going to a dear friend’s home and volunteered to make cookies, among other things. I did a little research and found two recipes that are specifically for Rosh Hashanah cookies and I thought I would share them with you.
The first recipe is a rugelach type cookie called Sfratti. What follows is the fascinating story behind these cookies…
I found the following photo and accompanying sentiment on Pinterest. I thought you all would enjoy this. I didn’t grow up playing Mah Jongg so I really related to what this person had to say! “I may not have grown up playing mahj but I will definitely grow old playing it….”
Here’s the last of the questions and insightful answers from this month’s newsletter from Gladys Grad, the Grand Master of American-style Mah Jongg tournaments. Both questions involve situations at tournaments.
Q. I’ve been playing for a year and am going to play in my first tournament in October. I was told by my teacher to play more defensively in the tournament than I do in my game at home. Do you agree? Sylvia
A. Uh oh. I really don’t want to disagree with your patient and knowledgeable teacher…but “No” I don’t agree. When you are playing in your game at home, you are likely playing for “gain” (spell that m-o-n-e-y). If you give someone else Mahj in your home-game then you are actually responsible for your opponents also paying for your “mistake.” However, in a tournament, you are the only one who will “pay”…in the form of minus-points. The others will only be disappointed that they didn’t get Mahj first. If you think you might have a pretty good chance of getting your own Mahj, then you should go-for-it. The way you win in a tournament is to accumulate those points.
Q. I was in a tournament, and the player to my left began to discard a tile. She laid it down but didn’t name it. When I saw it touch the table, I called it for Mah Jongg. Almost at the same time, she changed her mind and picked it up. She said she “didn’t name it, and she didn’t take her fingers off it, so she could take it back.” But no one would throw me my tile after that!. Is that right? Carol
A. That was the perfect time to call over the director of the tournament, who would have (should have) given the game to you. You had a legitimate Mah Jongg. A discarded tile is “down” when it touches the table or is named. Down-is-down. (This is not a game of checkers, where you can keep changing your moves until you take your finger off the checker!)
And as a final emphasis on this answer, just yesterday I received a message from Debbie, a reader of this blog. She definitely will agree with Gladys’ answer; her email said, In our games we play “once it’s up, it’s up” – no changes -and “once it’s down, it’s down.”
Here is a really interesting question from the most recent newsletter by Gladys Grad, the Grand Master of American-style Mah Jongg:
Q. My opponent discarded, and I claimed a 5 Dot – but did not pick it up…but I did expose a 5 Crak (which is what I really wanted). I was declared “dead.” What should have happened? Should I have been called dead? RW
A. Once you exposed, you started your turn. You then had the option of using the 5 Dot and correcting your exposure to one using 5 Dots….(and returning the 5 Crak to your hand). If you were unable to use the 5 Dot…even with 2 Jokers…then you should have been declared “dead.”
What are your thoughts on this situation? A somewhat similar situation happened last week – a tile was picked up and an exposure was racked but then the person realized that she didn’t really need that tile for the hand she was playing. But we determined – and rightly so – that once she had called for and touched that discarded tile and racked it, it was hers. In this particular case, all she had to do was now focus on playing a hand that would incorporate her exposure. Comments?