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» Economics » Computer strategy play » Topics begins with M » Mahjongg

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Mahjongg pinyin: ma2 jiang4 or Cantonese: ma4 jeuk3) is an old Chinese play for four players. Other ways of writing are Mah Jongg or in the following Mahjong, whereby with Mahjong is meant the bird illustrated on the stone bamboo unity, the hemp sparrow.


After the legend it was invented by the bored women of a Chinese emperor. Already before 4000 years at present it is to have given the play to the first dynasty (Shang). Mahjong remained long time the simple people forbidden. Since the seaweed dynasty (618-906) the Mahjongspiel became as gambling, as most gambling forbade, in China.

As safe it is considered that starting from center 15. Century the play the entire people admits was and with the time to the national play of China developed. During a walk by certain ranges of a Chinese city one hears also today characteristic clicking Spielsteine.


In the west Mahjong was discovered into the 1920er years and played enthusiastically. The American Joseph Babcock brought it in the USA and it particularly to factories was based, in order to satisfy the demand, particularly since by imported plays the rumor was spread, it is contaminated with viruses. The prominent Mahjonghersteller in Germany was those Hamburg company Nordicus Golgonda works. There was pure Mahjongzeitschriften and each American city organized a Mahjong tournament. But already ten years later the mode feature disappeared so fast it had come. Only a small circle of players maintained ground in the individual countries. In New York town center was created 1937 then a federation Mahjong, which specified the today still valid rules in Europe and the USA.


Mahjongspiele gives it in the different versions. The simplest and cheapest variant is surely a pack of cards with Mahjongmotiven. Otherwise there is Spielsteine to Perlmutt, ivory, bone, wood, stone or a combination of different materials. Plays from simple leg with bamboo backs and more and more are usual from plastics.

Mahjong possesses a multiplicity of rule variants, the here following guidance describes only a possible, however the play way most usual in Europe, which possesses remarkable similarities with the European packs of cards and Canasta.

Play material

A Mahjongspiel consists of 144 bricks, and four cubes. Also still four place stones are attached to some plays, which are printed on with the Chinese indications of the directions. The bricks are divided into different groups. There are three color rows from one to nine, in each case in the colors to Lotus, bamboo and writing (in the picture above). Then the three kites, the red ones, the Greens and the white kites, that with some plays is blank and the four hoist, the east, the south, the west and the north (in the picture at the bottom left hand corner). The kite and wind stones are called playing the trump card bricks; Bamboo, Lotus and writing color brick. The bricks unity and nine of each color count in the account likewise as playing the trump card bricks. Everyone of the stones specified so far exists in four identical copies. In addition come still the four flower stones and the four likewise season stones so decorated with motives for plant mentioned, which are in each case once present only. (in the picture down right).

A goal of the play

Everyone of the four players tries a complete by pulling and throwing stones off, to form if possible valuable play picture in his hand. Who can call Mah Jong" as first all its stones to five individual figures, how for example three equal stones or a sequence from successive stones grouped, "and the play round wins.

Expiration of play

At the beginning the bricks are stacked up to two stones a high square wall yard, so that each player before a section of the wall sits. The play leader, that represents the east wind in the Chinese symbolism of the play, gives 13 stones to each player, 14 and opens the play, by throwing an unnecessary stone off into the center of the wall. The next player (south wind) pulls now a stone of the wall and throws likewise starting from and so on. This normal operational sequence can be broken through, if someone can complete a figure with a thrown off stone. Then he can call it, is immediately at the row, pulls however no stone of the wall, separates lays his figure out openly and completes her with the thrown off stone.

The figures

The Pong

The Pong pinyin: peng) consists of three identical stones. It can be either covered, i.e. pull completely from the wall or openly. This is the case, if a player a stone is thrown off, to which another two fitting on the hand holds. This player has now the possibility, even if he is not in turn, of calling "Pong" and of taking the stone. He must lay the Pong out then openly before itself. The play is continued now with it.

The Kan

The Kan (long character: pinyin: course) consists of four identical stones. Exactly like the Pong it can be pulled or called by the wall. One lays the covered Kan out openly, and to the indication that it actually concerns a covered Kan, one turns the two outside stones. Who completes a Kan, receives from the main wind a spare stone of the dead end of the wall, in order to be able to form with all remaining stones figures. Who can convert this Pong to a Pong, which is laid out already openly the fourth stone pulls, into an open Kan.

The Chi

The Chi pinyin: chi, sometimes shang) is a sequence from three following each other stones of a color. A Chi Trumpfsteine is thus not possible. Differently than "Pong" or "Kan" only the player "Chi" can call, which is also as next in turn.

The pair of conclusions

In order to call and terminate over thereby the play "Mah Jong", one needs still another pair of conclusions pinyin: jiang, sometimes yan), which can consist of two arbitrary same stones. Only one pair may be formed.

The valuation

Generally the figures are rated as follows:

  • Chi counts 0 points
  • open Pong with bricks of the basic colour and the numbers 2 - 8 counts 2 points
  • other Pongs counts openly (closed doubly) 4 points
  • Kan count the double of Pongs. Thus for example a covered Kan with bricks from Einser or Neuner counts 32 points.
  • Also the conclusion making, the Mahjongrufen, experiences differentiated valuations. For example if all figures are Pong, then this counts a premium of 10 points. Also whether the last stone of the wall seized or whether it was the only possible stone, with which one could make out, is regulated in points. Someone Mahjong to proclaim to be able, straight after all bricks were distributed, then it would receive 100 points.
  • The season and flower stones in the figures double the score in most play variants, are thus pure luck stones.
  • Pongs from hoists or kites double usually likewise.


Comparably with the pack of cards double side gives it also with the Mahjong to variants, on which one should agree before beginning of play. Here it concerns above all, which score for rare figures, like that they are certified, as 9-Laternenspiel, twins in the sky or also the Green hand are computed.

In January 1998 the national sport commission of China Mahjong has officially as 255. Kind of sport recognition. The official international rules of this new sport were specified in the September of the same yearly. This rule enjoy since then of ever more largely becoming popularity. The luck factor was reduced to a minimum and real being able is in demand. International tournaments are only played meanwhile after these rules. The European Mahjong Associacion considered only results in their rank list due to these rules was obtained. Also the European championships and world championships are delivered after these rules.

Mahjongg at the computer

As "Mahjongg "designated computer games use digitized forms Spielsteine, resemble from the rules however rather a Patience or a Solitaire.

Starting from center of the 1980er years became first under the name Shanghai as computer game popular Mahjongg, after the improved graphic possibilities of the then new Amiga computer permitted a responding representation of such a play for the first time. With the most popular computer game variant an individual player must take in pairs all 144 stones of the table. Must lie exposed Spielsteine to the side, before they can be removed. Traditionally Spielsteine to beginning of play in the figure kites or the turtle are developed, the computer game variants often offer many different starting figures.


  • Ruediger Thiele, Konrad Haase: Devil plays, ISBN 3-332-00116-7
  • Uwe Martens, manual: Mah Jongg. The Chinese Mah Jongg play - classical rules, international match rules. January 2005, ISBN 3-8334-2410-9 (Hardcover), ISBN 3-8334-2401-X (PAPER-bake)

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