Screen Shot 2015-06-06 at 11.46.42 AMIt’s been a while since I have posted the Q&A’s from Gladys Grad‘s Mah Jongg Academy™ but the newest issue just came out and I thought you would all enjoy reading this really great set of questions and answers. 

(Some “death defying” questions that deserve repeating….from our most recent tournament.)

Q. If I throw out a tile before East discards to start the game, am I dead? 

A.  Nope. You are not “dead,” because East hasn’t thrown out the 1st tile to begin the game.  Retrieve your tile, and wait for East to discard.

Q. 1) If I expose my tiles on my rack before I pick up the discard for my exposure, am I dead? 
     2) Q. If I expose my tiles for my MAH JONGG before I pick up the discard I claimed, am I dead? 

A.  In a tournament, you are not “dead”….(yet).  We are not that strict yet….but the day is coming when this rule will be enforced. However….literally, your turn does not start until you pick up your tile TO BEGIN YOUR TURN (either a discarded tile, or one from the wall); and subsequently either rack it or expose it.  

     Remember to always pick up the discard and place it on TOP of your rack, before you expose the tiles from your hand. 

Q. If I accidently look at a pass in the Charleston before I pass my own 3 tiles, am I dead? 

A.  Not dead.  The game hasn’t even started yet.  In a tournament, you will lose 10 points (minus -10) from your game-score for that hand.  For your social game, there is no official NMJL ruling and no official penalty.

Q. If I place my tile on the table in front of the player whose Joker I want to exchange, am I dead?  

A.  You are not dead.  If that tile touches the table it is considered discarded (not dead).  However, if you had REQUESTED the exchange VERBALLY (and NOT expected your opponent to read your mind) BEFORE THE TILE TOUCHED THE TABLE – then you and your tile were safe.  Remember to use language everyone understands…not like someone in our last tournament said “that’s mine.” (!!??)

Q. If I’m the next player in line when my opponent discards her tile, do I have to verbalize that I’m taking that tile before I make my exposure, or am I dead? 

A. Recently, the NMJL responded to this question and acknowledged that you should verbalize that you are claiming the discarded tile. 

     However, since we don’t usually verbalize that we are taking a tile from the wall when it’s our turn to pick….and because the NMJL did not indicate a penalty for failure to verbalize when claiming a discard….then (for the time being) we will allow this in our tournaments. 

     Remember, the NMJL also tells us to be aware of what is happening on the table….not just listen.

Q.  Why do I have to lose 10 points in a tournament if I throw someone their Mah Jongg, and they don’t have any exposures? I prefer to play in tournaments where they don’t penalize you. 

A. We get this question every day. 

     I’d like to ask you a question, Joan.  “When you play in your social game, and you give your opponent her Mah Jongg tile…..aren’t you always penalized….even if she didn’t have anyexposures?”  If you play according to NMJL rules, your penalty is doubled for giving someone their Mah Jongg – even if your first tile  – or the last tile thrown in the game – gave her Mah Jongg. 

     In a fair and equitable game there is always a consequence for giving someone Mah Jongg. If you are playing in a tournament that does not penalize you points for giving someone their mahj…then you are getting a gift. 

     I would hate to be the player who came in 2nd, if you won 1st place with 10 more points.