I have dreamed of declaring Mah Jongg just after the Charleston is completed and before the game actually begins. In her most recent newsletter, Gladys Grad, the amazing Grand Master of American-Style Mah Jongg, answers a question about just such a heavenly happening! Have you ever had this happen to you? Let me know about your own “Heavenly Happenings!”
Q. I am curious as to how you would rule in the following scenario: The Charleston was completed through last right pass and East declared MahJongg. You have mentioned many times that the game does not begin until East throws the first tile. Of course, East is the only player who could have Maj at that point. This happened at the table where I was playing in another tournament a few years ago. That director declared it a valid Maj. I’m sure you would not criticize another director’s ruling, but I’m wondering how you would rule. It will probably not ever happen again in my lifetime! Pat
A. It is a good mahj. It’s a “hole-in-one,” a “Celestial Mah Jongg “, a “Heavenly Mah Jongg,” and you name it . It’s even a good mahj for East if it happens during the Charleston. NMJL condones it, and so do we.
In my mah jong dreams
Ann, I keep dreaming too!! I have had a mahj on the first tile thrown, but never this!
If you are East and during the Charleston get MJ, can you stop the passing and declare or must you complete the Charleston? I wasn’t sure of your last sentence.
I have to disagree on this one. Rules state that “Play begins when East discards the first tile”. East must discard in order to start the game; therefore the game has not begun until that happens, and a mah jongg could not be declared before that toss. Each player must pick and toss as the game goes on. East had the first pick, the first and third tile, rather than just one as everone else takes. East then discards that “pick” to begin the game. The strategy would have to be to throw a tile from a pung, (or a kong if E has a joker) knowing that when the needed tile is thrown, E could pick that up for mahj. Quite possibly, the Mah Jongg Dybbuks who designed this game had just that scenario in mind … just IMHO.