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).
Our friend Jan in beautiful Vermont posed a question and I would love to hear your thoughts on this. I will tell you that defensive playing seems to be one of the hardest concepts to get across to my Mah Jongg students. Frequently I see someone throwing out the needed tile for Mah Jongg when a rack has three exposures and it is beyond obvious what tile is needed. Newer players believe hope springs eternal and, even if there is only one tile in the final wall, they are unwilling to break up their hand. As seasoned players always say, you can’t win second.
I try – and I say try because clearly the students aren’t listening to me! – to teach newbies to never throw a “hot” tile to a third exposure, particularly when we are down to the last wall. But do they listen? Oh, I see the pain on their faces, trying to decide what they should do. And I will say that they almost always decide to save their hands and throw out the tile that ends the game with someone else’s Mah Jongg!
I like a defensive game and when another player throws out a tile that gives Mah Jongg to someone else, I can’t help but ask why they did so. As Jan says, there is no second place in Mah Jongg.
How many of you have experienced exactly what Jan is finding at her table:
“There’s one half of the last wall left. Player throws out a 3 Bam when the player to her left has exposed a Kong of 9 Bams and a Pung of Greens. Player to the left obviously calls it and exposes a Kong of 3 Bams. The same gal is up and says “I have her tile.” I say, “you can’t win second.” She throws a 6 Bam. Needless to say, I’m not happy and I say that is why we should start playing that if you throw into 3 exposures, you pay for the table. Yes, I saw eyes roll, but seriously???? Am I that wrong?”
The Bird Wars have settled down a bit ( although I still have some more to show you!) but how about some equal time to showcase some dazzling Dots…
Wow and wow! Much thanks to Katie for sharing these with us…along with just a few Birdie Bams…
Oh, okay – just one more…here’s another gorgeous one, courtesy of Caren:
An aside here and a big favor to ask of you – if you have received a copy of our book, Mah Jongg The Art of the Game, please write a review on Amazon. I can’t begin to tell you how much I would appreciate it!
Yesterday I hosted our game and it seems that it had been such a long time since everyone was chez moi. We started out the day by opening a lovely hostess gift of a bottle of wine from G so I knew right away that this would be a great day! Lunch was yummy especially since heirloom tomatoes are so delicious right now. We had an heirloom tomato tart along with a salad of arugula, watermelon, and parmesan. This tart was not only delicious but also really beautiful.
Read on for more about our lunch and for some of the hands we played. As always, the recipes will be published tomorrow. Continue reading →
We are so very fortunate to see the following tiles from a recent acquisition of a Chinese Bakelite set by Mah Jongg teacher extraordinaire, Johni Levene. Johni, in her inimitable generous style, agreed to share these exquisite tiles with us. Not only does Johni have a fabulous Mah Jongg collection but she also sells vintage Mah Jongg sets. In addition to this, Johni will repair your tiles as well as having a huge (and I have see pictures of it – it is HUGE!) orphanage for matching any tiles you might be missing from your set. When my friend S1 was recently in Southern California, she gave Johni a call – Johni immediately invited her over to her beautiful home to join in a game of Mahj. S1 has raved about Johni and her friends – they couldn’t have been more welcoming or friendlier and, just as we expected, they were great Mah Jongg players. If you are ever looking for a teacher, or for a beautiful vintage set, or repairs to hurting tiles, or a match for a missing tile, contact Johni at Lajohni@aol.com – you won’t be sorry!
And now, sit back and enjoy these glorious tiles, courtesy of Johni Levene.
I started to write here that this is one of my very favorite Mah Jongg sets but then I had to stop myself because every one of my sets is a favorite. How lucky am I to be able to say something like that?! I must admit that this 1-Bam just knocks me out – I love it so much!