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Monday, October 13, 2014

Wall Breakers - a Casual Study

The rules state:  
EAST ROLLS DICE and total number thrown designates where East breaks wall.
We see this on the back of the card, but, in typical National Mah Jongg League fashion, information is scant. We know where to break the wall, yes, but do we know HOW to break the wall?????

I have done a study, at first covert, and learned that there are multiple ways to carry out East's important responsibility.  Though players never give it much thought, if you watch closely, especially at a tournament, a myriad of styles exist.  I have stepped out of undercover mode and filmed, with the gracious consent of the Friday night players, some of the possibilities.

There are common steps to breaking the wall, which include, but are not limited to:  count tiles, move rack back, move rack forward, take four tiles, hold back tiles, push tiles forward.  Some configurations are more efficient, others more creative.  The videos below show some variations.

All are correct - except one.

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1.  Count, move rack forward, hold back, take four.

2.  Count, move rack back, take four, move rack forward

3.  Count, move rack back, take four, push with hand.

4.  Count, push rack forward, pull rack back with tiles, take four.

5.  Pull back rack, count, take four, push tiles with hand

6.  Count, take four, move rack forward

7.  Count, move rack back, move rack forward, take four.

Whilst they may seem the same, there are subtle variations.  What kind of wall breaker are you?