It’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.
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.
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.
Even more terrifying than the mysterious disappearance of the hotel guests is that every single one of the hands in the mahjong game is a dead hand! Ahhhh!
Well, that was true when that top photo was taken, but Disney tour guides now claim that the hands have been reshaped by “professional” mahjong players to be an accurate portrayal of a mahjong game in mid-play, and should the mysterious guests ever return, they could pick up where they left off.
With the joker tiles on the table, and flower tiles being held in the concealed hand, they could only have been playing National Mah-Jongg League rules. Assuming the dice indicate East and counting the melded pung of 3-dots she has on the table, East holds fourteen tiles and is waiting to discard. All this is acceptable, but not even the NMJL rules can account for the bizarrely melded pair of Souths and melded pair of red dragons on the near edge of the table. Is she playing with eighteen tiles in the hand and melding pairs? Ignoring the similarly unexlicable melds for the rest of the players, South at least currently holds the proper number of thirteen tiles in the hand, but West still has only twelve tiles, and North has only nine! The horror!
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I was invited back today to play Mah Jongg with the ladies who live in my apartment building. It is interesting to me to note how very different it is to play with a contrasting and divergent group of people from the OMs – nothing will ever be as wonderful as playing with my beloved OMs – and yet there is still the comfort of the NMJL card and the click clack of the tiles and the familiar cry of “Mah Jongg!” That is part of the allure and beauty of the game – no matter where you are and with whom you are playing, ultimately it is all comfortably familiar.
I had a very successful Mah Jongg day, which happens to be personally rewarding to me since this particular group of women has all been playing for so many years. Adele, and it is in her lovely apartment where we play, has been at this game for over 50 years. Her quiet game play offers much to be learned; Jan – who also has been playing for many, many years – offers a great lesson in how to play defensively and cleverly. I love the experience of still being able to learn new things each time I play.
My first Mah Jongg hand was this 13579 hand: 55 77 555 777 9999.
I earned $1.00 on this hand because East had rolled doubles and I picked the winning tile myself. That’s a nice way to start the day!
Barbara and Susan – also known as The Mah Jongg Doctors – spent this past Sunday at a tournament in Danbury, CT. The tournament was a benefit for AAUW (The American Association of University Women – AAUW – advances equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research). The venue sounds as if it couldn’t have been lovelier – a lakeside location with an outdoor area to sit and chat between games.
Q. I was East, and when I picked up all my tiles, I had Mah Jongg! Now what?
A. The NMJL rules state “First Charleston compulsory – three passes (right, across, left).” Unfortunately, it does NOT state “First Charleston compulsory – unless you have Mah Jongg.”
So unless – and until – the NMJL changes this rule….that’s how we will proceed. But WOW! In all my years playing Mah Jongg, I have never seen this happen. What a conundrum.
Thanks to Gladys Grad, “The Grand Master of American-Style Mah Jongg Tournaments.” Visit her site at Mah Jongg Madness.