The object of play is to form a complete hand. The ultimate object of the game is to
accumulate the most points from the winning hands. It doesn’t matter how many hands
each player has won, the accumulated score determines the winner.
3.1 Phases of the game
A player’s turn begins when a tile is acquired and ends when a tile is discarded. During a
go-around all players have their turn once. A go-around is interrupted if a tile is claimed
for kong, pung or chow, or a concealed kong is declared. A hand lasts until a player has
completed a hand and won, or a drawn game occurs. During a round all players are East
in turn. A complete game consist of two rounds: the east round and the south round.
3.2 Mahjong hand
Acomplete mahjong hand is composed of four sets and a pair. Aset may be either a chow,
a pung or a kong. In addition, a complete hand must have at least one yaku (double). A
player who is furiten, is not allowed to win on a discard.
A chow is three consecutive tiles of the same suit. Chows cannot be made with dragons
or winds. 8-9-1 in the same suit is not a chow. A pung is composed of three identical
tiles. A kong is composed of four identical tiles. A pair is composed of two identical tiles.
Two special hands exist in riichi which are not composed of four sets and a pair: Seven
Pairs and Thirteen Orphans.
3.3 A player’s turn
Players take their turns in order. East begins, and the turn order proceeds counterclockwise.
A player begins his turn by drawing a tile. However, since East begins with fourteen
tiles, East doesn’t draw a tile on his first turn. If the player can’t or won’t declare a win
or a kong, the player ends his turn by discarding one of his concealed tiles.
Discards are placed in an orderly fashion, six to a row, in front of each player and
within the wall, so that it is clear who discarded which tiles and in which order.
3.3.1 The most recent discard
The most recent discard can be claimed by any of the other players, provided they can
complete a mahjong hand, a kong or a pung. A claimed kong or pung may result in players
losing their turn, as play continues from the claiming player, not from the discarding
player. If a player claims a tile for winning, any concurrent claim for pung is ignored. It
is possible for several players to win on the same discard. The player about to begin his
turn can claim the most recent discard for a chow. If the player doesn’t want to claim the
discard, he begins his turn by picking a tile from the wall.
Claiming a tile for winning takes precedence over any other claim. Claiming a tile
for kong or pung takes precedence over a claim for chow, but should occur within three
seconds. A player who has claimed a tile for winning, or for kong, pung or chow, cannot
change his claim.
If the most recent discard is claimed after the next player has picked a tile, but within
three seconds after the discard, the picked tile is replaced in the wall.
3.3.2 Melded kong
Claiming the last discarded tile for a melded kong is done by clearly calling kong or kan,
placing the tile face-up along with the three matching tiles from the hand. After revealing
a new kan dora, the player takes a replacement tile from the dead wall and continues his
turn as if he’d drawn a tile from the wall.
The dead wall always comprises 14 tiles, so after a kong the dead wall is replenished
with the last tile of the wall.
3.3.3 Melded pung
Claiming the last discarded tile for a pung is done by clearly calling pung and placing
the tile face-up along with the two matching tiles from the hand.
3.3.4 Melded chow
A tile can only be claimed for a chow from the player on the left. Claiming the last
discarded tile for a chow is done by clearly calling chow or chi, placing the tile face-up
along with the two tiles from the hand that complete the set.
3.3.5 Displaying sets
Tiles in melded sets can not be rearranged to form other sets, and they cannot be discarded.
After calling a tile, the relevant tiles from the hand are immediately exposed. It is
allowed to make the discard before the claimed tile is taken. If the claimed tile is not
taken within the next two opponents’ turns, i.e. before another two discards has been
made, the player has a dead hand.
Melded sets are placed to the right of the players tiles in clear view for all players.
Claimed tiles are rotated to indicate which player made the discard. A claimed kong
has one rotated tile. A kong made by extending an open pung has two rotated tiles: the
extending tile is placed by the previously rotated tile.
3.3.6 Third melded dragon pung and fourth melded wind pung
A player who feeds the third dragon pung/kong of an opponent or the fourth wind
pung/kong of an opponent must pay the full value of the hand in case Big Three Dragons
or Big FourWinds are made on a self-draw (the two remaining opponents pay nothing).
In case another opponent feeds the Big Three Dragons or Big Four Winds, he
shares the payment with the player who fed the third dragon pung/kong or the fourth
3.3.7 Extending a melded pung to a kong
A melded pung may be extended to a melded kong in a player’s turn after the player has
taken a tile from the wall or a replacement tile, i.e. not in a turn where a tile was claimed
for chow or pung. The player must call kong or kan clearly, place the fourth tile by the
rotated tile of the pung, allow 3 seconds for mahjong declarations and then reveal a kan
dora and take a replacement tile. The dead wall is replenished with the last tile of the
3.3.8 Concealed kong
A concealed kong may be declared in a player’s turn after the player has taken a tile
from the wall or a replacement tile, i.e. not in a turn where a tile was claimed for chow or
pung. The player must call kong clearly, reveal the four tiles of the kong, then turn the
two middle tiles face-down, reveal a kan dora and take a replacement tile. The dead wall
is replenished with the last tile of the wall.
A player still has a concealed hand after declaring a concealed kong, if the player has
no open sets.
A concealed kong cannot be robbed, except to win on Thirteen Orphans.
Note that four identical tiles only make up a kong, if a concealed kong is declared.
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