Here is a fairly extensive list of answers to questions about Mah-Jong. Some are asked frequently, others are more esoteric. I’ve tried to cater for both beginners and those with a good knowledge of the game.

In answering some of the questions I have given website references. These were correct at the time of publication.

Where the questions are about the rules of the game, the answers only relate to the British Mah-Jong Association (BMJA) rules. When I have been uncertain about an answer, I have sought the advice of Gwyn Headley and Yvonne Seeley – the authors of the rules. They have always been very helpful.

I am also obliged to the many people, from the UK and around the world, who have asked me questions and so made this section possible.


Topics covered



 Mah-Jong SetsTilesChinese CharactersDragon TilesBonus tilesBlank Tiles TalliesRacksTables


Preparing to play

Building the wallsThe kong boxNumbers of tilesWindsDirection of play


Playing the game

ChowsPungsKongsPairsDiscarded tilesConcealed and exposed setsWindsKong boxDrawn gamePlaying dirtySpecial handsAnd pairsAnd exposed tilesAnd discardsPurityAll pair honoursKnittingTriple knittingBuried treasureImperial JadeAll Winds and DragonsThe wriggling snakeHeaven’s blessing FishingGoing Mah-JongNumbers of tilesShowing your tilesAnd East WindPrecedenceRobbing the kongThe goulashWild tilesOrigin of “goulash”



 Basic scoreDoublingSpecial handsAnd bonus tilesAnd doublingPurityAll pair honoursThree great scholars




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