Those of you who have begun playing with the 2010 National Mah Jongg League card may have noticed a confusing hand. The second hand under Like Numbers groups two pairs together without a space — 11DD (in green) and also groups two pungs together without a space — 111DDD (in Red). A strict reading of the card would indicate that the 111DDD is a sextet, and a tile in that sextet can be called only when a player has five of the six tiles in the sextet. However, since the hand is worth only 25 points, it seems strange that a player should need to collect a sextet before calling. Also, calling for that particular sextet would give away the player’s hand immediately since it is the only hand on the card with a sextet made up of pung numbers and pung matching dragons.
It turns out that there is a mistake on the card. I have asked the National Maj Jongg League how to interpret the hand, and they have told me that there should be s space between the “11″ and “DD” and between the “111″ and the “DDD.”
The interpretation of the 11DD is not affected by the lack of a space because with or without a space, the 11 and the DD are pairs that can be called only for mah jongg.
It is up to you and your friends how to play the sextet in the hand. You can play it as written — and call only for the sixth tile — or you can play it as intended — and call separately for the pung numbers and the pung dragons. Before you begin your game, you should discuss the hand and how your group will play it.
Filed Under (Mah Jongg in Popular Culture) by Elissa on April 18, 2010
I am very much looking forward to the upcoming mah jongg exhibit at The Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City. The museum has spent many months researching the origins of mah jongg in this country and in the Jewish community. The organizers have been taping real mah jongg games, including a game at the home of yours truly, and the recordings will play in the background of the exhibit. If you attend, you may hear my game and interview! There will also be games played in the center hall and mah jongg related events throughout the year. It should be great fun for everyone who loves this game, so grab your group or your mom and go see it! It opens to the public on May 4, 2010. The New York Times ran a great article about it. Check it out here: