The game of Mah – Jong (also spelled mahjong or mahjongg) is believed to be originated from the Chinese philosopher, Confucius around 500 BC. It is said that Confucius was fond of birds and the definition of this game is linked to that; Mahjong meaning sparrow. For too much time, Mahjong could only be played by the royal class, and it was banned for ordinary people to practice this game; even a penalty was applied for this: the decapitation. But, some time later this punishment was lifted and whoever wanted to have a great time was allowed to play Mahjong.
In addition, this enabled the development of the game in other places of the World, such as England and then Australia. Later on, only in 1920 was introduced in America by Joseph P. Babcock. The specific rules which have been then applied are unknown, but it was proved that the minimum value one could have was of 22 points and the highest was of 389,928 points. By the time Mahjong gained its popularity in USA, Babcock has given English names for the tiles, index numbers and letters which were similar to casino card games.
Around 1923 huge quantities of bone imported to China from Kansas City and Chicago, so that they could make as many sets of Mahjong as possible. This way, the sets started growing noticeably. Due to the fact that this game requires a lot of concentration, it was also called “the game of a hundred intelligences”.
Nowadays there are organized several Mahjong tournaments all around the World.
Paying attention to the strategy of this game, Mah Jongg is played by four players; each of them is ‘empowered’ with a Wind (North, South, East or West). The one who is East begins the game, and the players put their tiles on stakes.
But what the main objective of this game consists of? Players need to focus on completing a <Hand of fourteen tiles>, which is called “going Mah Jongg”. While playing Mahjong, one needs to collect several combinations of tiles, which are known as Chows, Pungs and Kongs. We will now take each type of combination separately. So, the Chow consists of three tiles of the same suit situated consecutively (for example: 3, 4 and 5).
Then, you can have the Pung, which is formed when you have three similar tiles of the same suit (such as: 3, 3 and 3). Besides these, there is the Kong, which means having four identical tiles of the same suit (for instance: 6, 6, 6 and another 6). When a player has the Kong combination, one or two tiles are always face down. In addition, the Mahjong is played in rounds – four hands form a round; and a game includes four rounds. The Hand of every single player is of thirteen tiles, and when comes a player’s turn, he gets the fourteenth tile. It is the player’s choice whether he keeps the dealt tile or he just discards it.
In order to go Mah Jongg, a player must have a hand which includes either four combinations of three (the above mentioned Chow or Pung) or Kong (four tiles) and one pair of tiles which are similar. Once one of the players has the combination, he calls out “Mah Jongg”. After this, the winner shows his Hand and the score calculation follows.
One of the most important tips of Mah Jong is to play as fast as you can, because it is at your advantage only; even if you are not used to its rules, but during your game try to improve your promptitude. Then, it is advisable to try going Mah Jongg with a smaller score than waiting for some higher combinations, as in this way the other player can take your place with his Hand.
This game is found as an appropriate way of entertainment and while playing one can benefit of a great fun. Feel free to try playing Mah Jong and you can be sure that you will come up with a pleasant and relaxing game, which has survived many centuries and it is still popular.