Jewish Journal

MY BAD!!!!

by Elaine Sandberg

March 27, 2011 | 7:55 pm

                              MY BAD!!!

Playing tournament mah jongg is much different than what I’ll call “social” mah jongg.  Mostly, the rules are very restrictive.  Each tournament makes its own rules, and time limits on games make it very fast—15 minutes are allowed for each game and each table plays four games—that’s 1 hour per round.  Each participant is given a direction—North, South, East and West and a number.  So you wear a tag that reads, for example, 45 W.  This means you are identified as player #45 and you sit at the table in the West position for the purpose of scoring.  The person with the highest score, wins.
There are many more differences, but this post is not really about the tournament.  It’s about something that happened.  Here is the story.
The game had started and player sitting West called an 8 Bam, but without taking the called tile, placed one 8 Bam and a Joker on her rack. She looked at her partial Exposure and said, “Oops, I don’t want it” meaning the 8Bam on the table.  Another player immediately called her hand dead. 
“But “ I said, “she didn’t take the tile from the table.  Her hand is dead only if she puts the called tile up on her rack.”  There followed a heated discussion about the status of the hand.  Finally, my argument prevailed and the player returned her partial Exposure to her hand and the game continued. 
But I was disturbed by the certainty the other player displayed about the call.  So, the next day I called the League’s office and after I explained the situation, was told, “Yes the hand is dead.  Once a player displays any part of an Exposure,  she cannot put her tiles back, no matter what.  Once she said “I don’t want it”, her hand was dead.
So having learned something, I wished I could have apologized for my mistake to the payer who was correct.  Maybe she reads my blog…..
Til the next time…








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A kid from Brooklyn, a graduate of Syracuse University and an immigrant to California via Palo Alto, San Juan Capistrano, finally, Los Angeles, I have been here for the past 15...

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