Tag Archives: mah jongg madness


Three of my “advisors” on sticky Mah Jongg issues:


When I am teaching “newbies” how to play Mah Jongg, one thing (among many!) that I stress is that a discarded tile may be called until the next player “racks” their tile. And by racking I mean putting the tile in the rack, not just touching it to the rack. This is a pet peeve of mine – it is important to RACK that tile. Now, I don’t mean that you should sweep in, grab the next tile, and quickly rack it. Let’s remember that in social games we play a friendly game and take a second or two to pick up our next tile, giving another player a chance to say, “um…” or “wait…” or “I’m calling that tile.”

Gladys Grad‘s newest Mah Jongg Madness newsletter reinforces my instructions:

Q. Here’s a question that has come up during our weekly play.  What is the “time limit” for calling a tile?  Quite often, someone will throw away a tile and almost before you have time to react, the next person has begun their turn.  If the next person has picked up the new tile and not looked at it, do they have to relinquish it to the claimer?  Or if they have picked it up and looked at it but not racked it?  What is the point where the tile cannot be called?  We’re pretty lenient when playing among ourselves but would like to know what applies for tournament play. Maddy

 A. You are able to claim a discard until the next player has actually racked their next tile.  Racking means that the tile picked from the wall is actually placed IN their rack…not in front of, on top of, or in back of the rack Sometimes a tile may be claimed at the same time as another player racks or discards their next tile.  This comes under the Mah Jongg Rule of “Simultaneous Occurrence.”  In this event, the claimant will receive the benefit of the doubt.


I’ve been so blue all day about missing Gladys Grad’s Mah Jongg Madness tournament in Las Vegas but when I received this wonderful email from Donna in California, my spirits were lifted to the sky! Thank you so very much to Donna and friends!!!

Donna wrote:

Dear Ann,

There were 12 of us who played at Mussell Center today and I read your morning blog post to everyone. They were very sad for you so we took a “sad photo” showing our disappointment that you couldn’t get there and then a “happy photo” because we love your book, love playing and love your blog!

Feel free to use however!

This group is mostly the newer group and not the one with all of the “old timers” (about 26 people). We did appreciate the suggestions from all of the readers!

Stay warm,






It’s always a good day when I check my in-box and find a new edition of Gladys Grad‘s Mah Jongg Madness Newsletter.

Here’s a question with an answer that, although we have seen it before, never seems to sink in – or as Gladys writes – it continues to vex many tournament players!

Q: I noticed a rule in the latest publication from the NMJL that differs from a rule you have used at your tournaments: A player discards a tile but miscalls it. However, she has the correctly named tile in her hand. Does she take the tile back and discard the named tile from her hand? NMJL Answer: No, You do not replace the tile with named tile….miscalled tile is only correctly named. Will you now use the NMJL rule in your tournaments?  Linda B. TX

 A. As you know, TOURNAMENT RULES are more stringent, especially since they may involve prizes, awards and Mah Jongg Master Points.  Unfortunately, ‘purposely misnaming-a-tile’ can be used as a devious “strategy” by a player….to determine if an opponent needs the misnamed tile for an exposure.         

    If the misnamed tile is claimed, the wily-discarder can then say ….”Oops, it was a mistake, I meant to say something else…,”thereby sabotaging their opponent out of a legitimate exposure.   

TOURNAMENT RULES are as follows: 




11. MIS-NAMING A TILE:  There is NO scoring penalty for mis-naming a tile. However… 

 a.  THIS RULE SPECIFICALLY APPLIES TO A TILE THAT IS CLAIMED FOR AN EXPOSURE.  If the discarder has the correct tile in their hand, the correct tile must be discarded in place of the incorrectly named tile.  (If necessary, contact the Director to ascertain that the correct tile is/is not in the discarder’s hand.) 

 b. If the discarder does not have the correct tile in their hand, the game proceeds, following the correct naming of the discarded tile.

 c. A MIS-NAMED discarded tile may be claimed for MAH JONGG. The discarder is penalized the appropriate amount of points. 

To further answer your question….we will continue to use the specific TOURNAMENT RULE noted above.”




Yet another tournament has been added on January 28th and also more information has been added to the December 28th tournament in North Bellmore. Read on…

Thanks to Donna in California, I have added a tournament being held February 3rd in San Luis Obispo. The list is now revised. But don’t hesitate to let me know if there are any other tournaments that you would like me to list.

I have put together a list of upcoming Mah Jongg tournaments but suspect that I might have missed a few. Please tell me if you know of other tournaments and I will post them. I am going to be at a few of these events so I hope to see you there!

And don’t forget that Linda Feinstein – Mah Jongg player and teacher exceptional! – holds a weekly meeting of the Manhattan Mah Jongg Club at Sarabeth’s Restaurant. Call 212.327.4620 (reservations required) if you are interested. All levels of player are welcome.

Read on for the tournament listings…

Continue reading



Yesterday I posted some common mistakes innocently made at the Mah Jongg table. Here’s a question from what we have to assume is an innocent mistake from a very new player (I can’t imagine an experienced player passing a Joker during the Charleston). This is from the current Mah Jongg Madness newsletter by Gladys Grad, the Grand Master of American-Style Mah Jongg.

Continue reading


I was so very happy to once again receive one of Gladys Grad’s Mah Jongg Madness newsletters yesterday – I know how difficult everything has been for her since she lost her darling husband Phil a couple of weeks ago. But Gladys – also known as the Grand Master of American Style Mah Jongg Tournaments – is a strong and wonderful lady, devoted to the game of Mah Jongg and to all of the people who look forward to her newsletter, her tournaments, and everything else she does to promote the game. Gladys, it’s great to hear from you again!


Here’s a picture of Gladys with her wonderful husband, Phil.
Continue reading