I SSUE #4 Fall, 2019
All inquiries to John Davis Contact John Davis

The Magazine for The Discerning Mah Jongg Player

Current Subscribers: 1,800

We hope you enjoy this electronic magazine as it spotlights all that is fresh, funny, exciting, controversial, and cutting-edge
in the Mahj Nation.

Created by John Davis
Edited by Judith Euen Davis

to  MJ DIVA Magazine

Hello John and Judy....
Thank You for another terrific issue of the MJ DIVA MAGAZINE. It is full of information, great pictures, interesting stories about the people who devote so much of their time and energy to the game, its history, and its future. Looking forward to more, more, more. -Gladys Grad
Just read the first issue! Fabulous job!!! Way to go John!! -Donna Eschen

Just read the first issue of MJ Diva Magazine. Lots of good information and interesting stories and links. Looking forward to the next one, thank you!
-Jennifer Levin Teper

FINALLY, I had time to sit and read your magazine. It is just wonderful. I love the people you feature and the topics. Thank you so much for taking this on. I have so many ideas and not time to make it all happen.
My best to you...
-Toby Salk

Thanks for sending the three issues. This is a great magazine and I enjoyed the great variety of information. Thanks for putting this together and sharing it with the community!

Hi John!
I truly enjoy your Newsletter and wanted to let you know!
My best,

Fab issue John and so much to read! I will read it over and over! You and Judy outdid yourselves and I don’t know how it can get any better!! Kudos to you both!

 This whole thing is a masterpiece. So pretty ! Thx buddy  

This is awesome. Hope you don’t mind that I shared it with some MJ friends. 

Thanks, John,
Loved the magazine. great graphics, great info, great photos. good job!!

Hi John and kudos on the magazine!
Great stuff!
Best to you and Judy both -

I am truly enjoying your Magazine 

Dear MJ DIVA Magazine,

LOVED the story of the women playing Mahjong in a secluded Maine cabin! Last September, five high school friends joined our sixth member at her Maine home - out in the wilderness on a beautiful lake. We played well over 200 games in the five days we were there, taking the occasional break to do some sightseeing and dining. Of course, we also enjoyed the occasional adult beverage and had tons of laughs. What a great time!!
-Lynne Marquardt
{Letters should be exclusive to MJ DIVA Magazine. We do not publish open letters or third-party letters. We encourage a diversity of voices and views in our letters.   Letters should preferably be 150 to 175 words and should refer to either an article in our magazine or to a topic of general interest to the Mah Jongg community. Letters must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number.
Only letters submitted electronically HERE will be considered.]
Ahuva Ellner and the Meetups

Ahuva Ellner is a Mah Jongg teacher, Meetup hostess, tile collector, retired nurse, theater and film fan from New York City who regularly posts on a popular Facebook group about her adventures. MJ DIVA invited her to share some of the details about her Mah Jongg-related activities.

What is a Meet Up Group?

Meetup is a platform for finding and building local communities.  People use Meetup to meet new people, learn new things, find support, get out of their comfort zones and pursue their passions together. Meetup was founded in 2002 and is owned by WeWork.  Registration is required to join the group. 

What prompted you to start a Mah Jongg Meetup Group?
After taking many different lessons with teachers from all over the Tri-state area, I wanted to meet new people and play as much as I could. So I went on Meetup and found a group in NYC. I asked to join, was accepted as a member, and then heard nothing from the Meetup organizer. Several days later, I received an email stating that the group had lost its leader and was in danger of folding unless someone stepped up to take the helm. Of course I thought this was meant for me to do. So I responded YES and the rest is history! My very first Meetup Mah Jongg group took place on Valentines Day, 2016. It was hugely successful and we all had a great time!! 

You have three different Meetup groups. Why?

I realized that in NYC where space is at a premium, I would need to have three different levels of play: one for beginners, another for those who have completed their lessons but need some guidance and supervision, and a third for intermediate/advanced players. My potential members get screened thoroughly when they apply for membership and need to answer approximately six questions relating to their playing. They are also required to have a “real” picture of themselves on their profile for the safety of the group. The reason for the screening process is to ensure that they are placed into the proper group for their particular level of play. 
What advice can you give for others who would like to run them?
Running a Meetup group is not a simple task. It takes extreme organization, perseverance, commitment, and passion. It has taken me quite a while to master the intricacies of posting the games, responding to the inquiries, and dealing with the various personalities of people who respond. There are also several communications that transpire before the actual games take place. I am happy to assist anyone who would like to speak with me regarding starting a Meetup group. 
What have been the personal rewards for you?
The rewards of running these groups have been so many. I feel blessed to have met hundreds of people I probably would not have met otherwise. I am also happy to say that we get regular visitors from places far away.  People come from all the five boroughs, from other States and other countries as well! We always welcome the person who has just moved to NYC and is looking for a game and for friendship. Because the Meetups are relatively small, we have developed a close knit Mah Jongg “family”.

Many of our members have been with us since the Meetup group’s inception. We celebrate each other’s birthdays, Valentines Day, Halloween, St. Patrick’s Day, Independence Day, and much, much more. There are even times when we have Mah Jongg luncheons, and I provide all the catering of my home made specialties. Everyone loves it!!! Have Mah Jongg, and Food will travel!!! 

What problems do you regularly need to solve? 
Fortunately, due to my screening process and final confirmation of games, the problems have been very few. In the beginning, there were some players who were overly aggressive, but luckily it only happened once or twice. For the most part, we all get along very well, and we enjoy each other’s company. The rules of the Meetup are clearly spelled out, and everyone agrees to them ahead of the game. There are no surprises! 
  What’s one story that you tell over and over about your experience with your groups?

There’s the one time when we were missing a tile. We were at a restaurant at a luncheon Meetup, and there were around three tables of players. I always provide all the tiles, tablecloths, racks, etc. I also carry extras just in case. Well, this particular time we were baffled. A tile was AWOL. Everyone looked all over the place, on the floor, under the racks, etc. We almost gave up when one person went into her pocket book, and there was the tile! It was very funny, and everyone breathed a sigh of relief! 
Tell us about when you first learned to play, how long, your career, etc.
I can remember playing at the age of 10. We went to the Bungalow Colony in Monticello, NY, every summer. The moms played Mah Jongg, and the dads played cards. All our moms played, and so we learned as well.
Many many years went by, and I did not play as an adult. Several years ago, I went into my mom’s closet and pulled out her Mah Jongg set. She was no longer playing due to her dementia. I asked her if I could take her set and perhaps sell it. She agreed. On my way home I had a brainstorm. It was as clear as day….. I would re-learn to play my beloved game that I played as a child. I could still in my mind remember the happy times and fun we had. I still remembered all the names of the tiles. I wasted no time when I got home and googled everything I could find in NYC Mah Jongg. I started taking lessons with as many people as I could find. I drove hither and yon and met so many people.
My favorite teacher was a lady named Donna who taught at a library in Baldwin, Long Island. I sat there mesmerized. I soaked up each and every word she said. She became my mentor. I wanted to be just like Donna. I played with many different people and went far and wide. Have car will travel. I was having a wonderful time. After three months, I felt ready to enter in my first tournament. I went and there I met the famous Barney G. He was there early, and so was I.

 I ran over to talk to him and found out he had been playing just three months more than me. He was hooked and told me he also started his Mah Jongg Collection. Everything he said resonated with me. I was very nervous at my first tournament, and my knees were shaking under the table. We began to play, and I thought I would die. Then something strange happened…. I won that very first game!!!! Now I thought, “This really isn’t so hard after all”…. And then proceeded to win nothing more … or at least nothing to write home about. It’s a great story about my very first tournament and one which I will never forget. 

Since I am a retired nurse, I knew that I needed to find purpose in my life. Nursing was a calling I had from age eight, and I fulfilled my lifelong dream to be a nurse. Hospice and home care was my specialty. I loved my nursing career, and I felt very accomplished. 

Here’s a funny story that happened several years ago. 
I was at a play and heard these ladies behind me talking.  For some strange reason, I turned around and asked them if they played Mah Jongg. I told them I was a Mah Jongg player and that I collected vintage Mah Jongg sets. 
“How interesting” they said. “Our aunt just passed away and none of us play the game. We know she had a Mah Jongg set in her attic and none of us can use it. We would like you to have it”. I couldn’t believe my ears. I drove quite a distance to retrieve the set. It was in pretty bad condition and needed a repaint job but unfortunately could not be restored. But the story always amuses me of how I got the set and how I met the ladies. Just another day in the life of a Mah Jongg Player! 

I n each issue we take a look at how Mah Jongg is portrayed in books, films, television, magazines, newspapers, and the internet.  It was only a matter of time until Mah Jongg took its place in the world of fiction. This issue's spotlight is on cozy mystery writer Barbara Barrett who has an interesting connection to a Facebook group.


At the beginning of April each year, the National Mah Jongg League publishes its annual card of standard hands and rules. American-Style Mah Jongg players eagerly anticipate its arrival by constantly checking their physical mailboxes. Reports of its arrival in parts of the nation are posted, much like UFO sightings, on Facebook. Players huddle around Mah Jongg tables, everyone sighing longingly for the arrival of the NEW CARD. Things are tense.

Fortunately for these overwrought players, the following was posted on March 26, 2018, by Johni Levene, the administrator of the Facebook group Mah Jongg That’s It:

“How about a bit of a fun contest / challenge to keep your noses out of the mailbox this week? MJTI member Barbara Kroon, writing as author Barbara Barrett, is developing her third Mah Jongg Mystery and is looking for funny exchanges across the Mah Jongg table to add credibility to the story. For instance, in her first cozy mystery, Craks in a Marriage, there’s a discussion about who gets a tile when one person is the next in play but the person after her can claim Mah Jongg. Barbara will randomly draw from the submissions in the comments section and award 4 copies of her first book to the winner. The 4 lucky winners will be drawn randomly, from the stories in the comments section, next Monday at 8 am. Barbs first book also is available through this link on Amazon. Let’s give her some good material for her series, and good luck everyone!”

 As often happens on Facebook, most things flow away and out into the internet sea. However, MJ DIVA Magazine was able to track down the results, thanks to the author, who shared an except from the book, along with these comments.

Barbara Barrett writes:

Mah Jongg social media is an excellent source of potential new readers, so I was pleased I was able to find a viable way to do so on the Mah Jongg, That's It Facebook page. At the same time, the reader suggestions gleaned from this contest helped me add a note of authenticity to my third book. I was mildly successful, receiving eleven entries. In the story, one of the four protagonists, Marianne, decides to enrich her life by taking a class on writing one-act plays (used some of my own experience for this). Taking her instructor's suggestion to fall back on real life for inspiration for her plot, she bases her first assignment on a Mah Jongg game. When her three friends and fellow players catch her secretly attempting to take notes during play, they start feeding her lines. I featured three of the suggestions received for this contest and included their names in the "Acknowledgements" section of the book. My thanks to Justine Speicher, Linda N. Kenny and Connie Roddy.

This appears in my third cozy mystery, Connect the Dots. The highlighted areas are the quotes from the contest.
"She hadn’t planned to tell them until her play was finished. “I’m, uh, taking a class on writing one-act plays at the community center. It intrigued me.”
Kat flashed her customary supportive smile. “That’s exciting. How’s it going?”
“Too fast. I’m supposed to have a draft done by my next class. I’m still working on a theme.”
“Bummer,” Kat replied. “Is that why you’ve stashed that notepad next to you?”
Double darn. “I, uh, thought I’d kept it out of sight. But yes, I was considering a play about a game of mah jongg. But you caught me red-handed.”
“You were going to write about us?” Micki asked. Her tone was anything but delighted.
“No, not exactly. I’ll make up the characters, but I was hoping to get some quotes from you today. I hadn’t planned to base my plot on a murder investigation.”
“Then we’ll table that discussion until after play,” Kat told her. “What are we supposed to do? Be clever, as if it’s possible to sound dramatic by saying ‘3-dots’?”
“No, treat it like any other time. Let’s see how that goes.”
Clarissa discarded the first tile. They went one round with all four of them throwing a tile no one else wanted. Marianne had been so focused on hearing about the investigation and then explaining her new project, she hadn’t paid much attention to her tiles. With play now under way, she suddenly realized she had three 5-Craks out of the four, two 6-Craks and three jokers, all good. The other five she would have to discard. Not bad for the start of the game.
Kat scowled as she rearranged her tiles and then rearranged them again. “ No jokers, no pairs. I don’t even have a neighborhood.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Clarissa asked.
“That my chances of winning this round are negligible,” Kat returned.
“Would you like some cheese with that whine?” Micki asked, her usual sympathetic self.
“Nice try, you guys. You’re being very creative with your responses. But I’d prefer you be more natural.”
“Ah, c’mon, Marianne. This is fun,” Micki said. “Besides, I’ve got another for Kat. She doesn’t have a hand, she has a foot.” She beamed, apparently expecting them to clap."

My Connection to Mah Jongg

I learned to play Mah Jongg almost eleven years ago when I first retired and moved to Florida for winters. I thought it would be a good way to meet people in my new community. I started with the Wright-Patterson version and a few years later also learned the National version. Although I started playing for social reasons, I discovered how much I enjoyed the game itself, enough to play each version once a week the past several years. I’ve also taught two beginning Mah Jongg classes and one intermediate Mah Jongg class with my town Lifelong Learning program.

My Life as a Writer

I started writing fiction in my late thirties and like to say it’s what helped me avoid a midlife crisis. Writing had been a part of my job as a human resources management specialist with Iowa State Government, but the transition to fiction writing from the technical writing of my job required quite a mental switch. Fiction calls for in-depth character development, descriptive exposition and a story arc; technical writing is factual and unemotional. I spent several years writing that first novel, a romance. In fact, it has yet to be published, although I have hopes for it in the next few years once I’ve updated and re-edited it. My big break in the publishing world came seven years ago, as digital books emerged as a major factor in the publishing industry. Since then, I’ve had eight contemporary romance novels published by The Wild Rose Press and I’ve indie-published three romance novels, two romance novellas and now four cozy mysteries. Writing helps my mind stay active. I’ve also made many wonderful writing friends in the publishing world and have had to learn how to promote my books, a skill totally different than writing.

How can readers get in touch with you and buy your books?

Readers can find me and descriptions and buy links for my books on my website

Please consider subscribing to my newsletter, “It’s a Mystery to Me” at  Http://www.subscribepage.com/BBCozies

New subscribers can receive a link for downloading the first book in this series, Craks in a Marriage.

Barbara Barrett tells us more about the genre of cozy mysteries. To read her insights, CLICK HERE

A Case for Good Manners

Some Facebook groups get caught up in an incessant parsing of the rules: questions about picking and touching tiles, racking and exposing, calling for discards, etc. provide fodder for seemingly never ending posts. It’s a daily search for the definitive answer, the exact rule, the precise judgment, as if settling these issues will bring an end to so much confusion and controversy. Amongst all this chatter it is easy to forget that the game of Mah Jongg is much more than a set of rules and battles of wits; it is also a game of manners.  

Gladys Grad, of Mah Jongg Madness, offers a refreshing commentary on the ways of Mah Jongg etiquette.


Many years ago I created the Ten Commandments of Mah Jongg. 

Two of them-THOU SHALT NOT CRITICIZE THY NEIGHBORS PLAYING and THOU SHALT WIN WITH GRACE AND LOSE IN SILENCE are always particularly important in making the game a pleasant experience for all.

Here are some additional considerations that are not rules but manners.


The pusher should remember to push their wall out sufficiently so that all players can easily reach the tiles. The wall should be pushed out at an angle so that it is easy to determine the end of wall, relative to the pusher’s rack.

 If there are additional tiles remaining from the previous wall, then the pusher must correctly align the remaining tiles, so there is no confusion as to which is the next tile to be picked from the wall. An incorrect tile picked by another player from an incorrectly pushed wall may be forgiven and returned to the wall.

It is permissible to turn the two tiles at the tail end of the wall perpendicular to the wall.

If you see another player reaching for a tile on the wrong end of the wall, it is permissible and sporting to point this out to them before the damage is done.

It is inconsiderate to pick-rack a tile in one swift move.  This so-called “strategic” move is designed to prevent your opponent from claiming a previous discard in a timely manner. It is not condoned in tournament play. It is recommended that you pick-pause-rack.

Your hand should only be in the playing area during your turn. Do not hover over the wall before it is your turn to pick from the wall. Some players have a habit of hovering over the wall, then picking and discarding very quickly. This action is discouraged in tournament play.


Do not put your exposures tightly up against one another. This is another so-called “strategy” that is neither sporting nor an actual strategy. In good conscience, is “packing-the-exposures” anything other than a rather nefarious and less-than-subtle attempt to confuse your opponents?   Separate the exposures, and clearly define within the exposure where the jokers go.

 You do not need to put your exposures in the order of the hands on the card; it is recommended that you do not put them in order until you expose a Mah Jongg. Once a Mah Jongg is displayed, you must arrange the tiles in order when requested to do so by another player. In a tournament, if you refuse this request your Mah Jongg will be void.


Please refrain from wearing fragrances; many people are truly sensitive or allergic.

Please remember to NOT put your drinks on the game table; and to turn off your cell phones.
Philanthropy has been a hallmark of the Mah Jongg community for more than 80 years. A myriad of organizations and groups regularly hold fundraisers or directly contribute to charities across the nation and around the world. Each issue of MJ DIVA will focus attention on events and individuals whose philanthropic efforts bring communities together to support important causes.  

When tragedy strikes, we are always left with grief and loss. How we survive and continue with our lives is a testament to the human spirit. In this issue, we share two stories of how loss is tempered by action through the game of Mah Jongg

Fundraiser Benefiting American Diabetes Association September 16, 2019
Christine Blackford
Dear Mr. Davis,
I am so grateful you supported my efforts in the form of a donation with your fun card game and beautiful Mah Jongg cards and bags to share with those in attendance.
Thank you! I had 24 women in my home for our 2nd Mah Jongg Class Tournament benefiting the American Diabetes Association and raised $775.00! I would say September 15, 2019 was a success in bringing greater awareness of the American Diabetes Association. I am pleased that I could hold this event in memory of my sister (who passed away from complications of Type 1 Diabetes) and in honor of my mother in-law (who lives with Type 2 daily). Both my mother in-law and myself are Mah Jongg lovers, and I teach the game in Monmouth and Ocean County New Jersey. It was a pleasure to bring both of these together.

Thank you again for your donation and supporting ADA

Christine Blackford 37 Netty Street Howell, NJ 07731 

mahjonggclass@yahoo.com see our team funding page: http://main.diabetes.org/goto/MahJonggClass Please visit my Website: https://mahjonggclass.wixsite.com/mahjongg Like me on Facebook under: MahJonggClass and check out other photos from the day Wear blue for diabetes on November 14th, National Diabetes Day.

The 8th Annual Lois Goldblatt Mah Jongg Tournament benefitting the Ryan Goldblatt Foundation

Ryan Goldblatt’s Story

Joanne Goldblatt

Ryan was born on October 17, 2006 to Joanne and Andy Goldblatt. He was a beautiful boy with dark brown hair and shiny blue eyes. He was a happy kid, looking forward to starting preschool, when his behavior began to change. His parents noticed his demeanor had changed; he was cranky and lethargic. After multiple trips to the pediatrician, thinking it was reflux, an MRI was scheduled. In March of 2008 Ryan was diagnosed with a brain tumor. He was 16 and a half months old. His particular tumor called an Atypical Teratoid Rhabdoid Tumor (AT/RT) is exceedingly rare (less than 100 cases diagnosed in a year) and very aggressive, striking children, usually under the age of three. Fortunately, the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at  Children’s Medical Center  in Dallas, Texas, was one of the few facilities with experience in treating AT/RT. After a successful resection of the tumor, a 51 week chemotherapy protocol was developed for him, which included intravenous, oral, and intrathecal (spinal) drugs. They were throwing the kitchen sink at him. Ryan handled this challenging year like a true champion, with few delays and only intermittent hospital stays. Unfortunately, his first MRI, post-protocol, showed new tumor growth. Over the next year he received more chemotherapy, full brain and spine radiation and participated in several clinical trials. At this point, the goal was to make sure he enjoyed every single day of his life. His family wanted to make sure he was always comfortable and that he laughed and felt loved, which he always did.

Ryan passed away at his home on September 15, 2010. He was 3 years and 11 months old. Just three months later, his sister Emily was born. He knew he was having a sister and wanted her to be named Emily (Elmo’s babysitter in one of his favorite bedtime books). Emily is now eight and has come to know all about her brave big brother. He is and will continue to be an important figure in her life. His family will make sure that Ryan’s memory will last forever through cherished stories, photos, mementos, and through the charitable organization which bears his name, The Ryan Goldblatt Foundation.
I have been running the Lois Goldblatt Mah Jongg Tournament for 8 years now. Lois is my mother in law who passed away suddenly 4 months after Ryan. The tournament has been growing steadily year after year. The 8th tournament which just took place last on October 13 hosted a record number 148 players. 

This year, David, from Fortune River Group, graciously donated an electronic mah jongg table that was raffled and one lucky person won. We made $21,000 this year, another record for us. 

The money we make for the foundation is used in a number of ways. Ryan used to love the theater. We took him to Dallas Children’s Theater to see plays when he was well enough to get out of the house. The RGF partners with Dallas Children’s Theater and helps bring theater to the kids at Children’s Medical Center. Since not all of the kids dealing with cancer are able to go out and enjoy the experience of attending the theater, The RGF makes it possible to bring the theater to the kids!

The Dallas Children’s Theater performs 5 plays at Children’s Medical Center for ALL of the kids at the hospital to enjoy. A few of the plays that will be performed this year are Beauty and the Beast, Schoolhouse Rock, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Miss Nelson Has A Field Day, and Balloonacy. The kids will love it!

The plays are acted out live and some of the children come out of their rooms to watch. Others turn on their TV in their hospital room and watch the play on TV. The actors from the play stay after the performance to get their pictures taken with any of the kids and sign autographs. It’s been such a wonderful experience for everyone involved. Especially the kids. These kids are receiving an experience of a lifetime that most would never have the opportunity of experiencing. There’s nothing better or more rewarding than to see these children smile and laugh and not think about cancer if only for an hour. The money we raise for the foundation is also used to buy treats for the kids during Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and other holidays.

To learn more CLICK HERE
Since the early 2000s, Internet capabilities have exploded and computer processor technology has improved at such a fast rate that every new batch of games, graphics and consoles seems to blow the previous generation out of the water. The cost of technology, servers and the Internet has dropped so far that streaming at lightning speeds is now accessible and commonplace, and 3.2 billion people across the globe have access to the Internet. 

In a series of articles, MJ DIVA Magazine is taking a look at how Mah Jongg on the internet is used to inform, instruct, and entertain. We look first at the state of playing the game on line with Mahjongtime. We then take a look at two websites designed to teach the game using videos and interactive platforms: Mah Jongg Central and MahjongMentor

The Modern Age Of Gaming
Slava Novozhenya, CEO of Mahjong Time and his avatar

Founded in  2004 Mahjong Time  is a San Diego-based company that is the premier provider of mahjong software and complete turnkey solutions. The company also operates the gaming destination  www.mahjongtime.com  which offers real four-player mahjong to players from around the world. The Mahjong Time in-browser platform is available in seven languages and provides multiple mahjong rules sets that appeal to the needs of discerning players.

Offered features include advanced subscription and tournament play and Web 2.0 capabilities that allow players greater connectivity including the ability to establish multiple  "friend"  networks and to create private game rooms.

Slava Novozhenya writes: 

I originally come from Moldova, a small country in eastern Europe bordering Ukraine but for about 20 years I live in California, San Diego. I graduated Moldova Technical University with a degree in computer science, and since then I have worked in IT. Currently I am the CEO of Mahjong Time, a gaming company located in San Diego, California

How did you get started?

Many years ago, I ventured as a co-founder of Mahjong Time after playing one Hong Kong mahjong game. The game is relatively easy to learn and is a lot of fun! At first, we released Hong Kong mahjong then MCR and American. Riichi and Taiwanese mahjong came later.

What is online MJ gaming? 

Players who play the game of mahjong online establish online MJ gaming. There are tens of millions of online mahjong players in Asia. However, in the west, we enjoy a much smaller crowd of mahjong players and different game variations.

Each mahjong style has its followers, and most players have a preferred mahjong variant they play.  As we are talking about MJ online gaming, we are talking about many online mahjong communities that play numerous of mahjong variations that exist online.

What is Mahjong Time?
Mahjong Time is the leading  Mahjong games  site, and it provides players with multiple game types, languages, advanced communication features and exciting tournaments in a safe and secure environment. 

How does it work?
1.     Choose a platform to play on
2.     Create and account
3.     Play!
If you know how to play the game, you shouldn’t have any problems playing the game online. Game help is provided as soon as you join your first online table, and game mechanics are intuitive as the game mimics the actual play.

What services does it offer?

Mahjong Time offers practice, fun, and tournament mahjong games on a wide variety of devices, including phones, tablets, laptops, and desktop computers.

How large is your membership?

Thousands of members

What devices work best?

There is no better software, whatever works best for the player. Playing mahjong online from different types of devices during the day is also common.

How has the field of online MJ game play grown?

Online MJ game field has overall grown. However, different types of games have grown at different paces; new games like Zung Jung mahjong, Siamese Mah Jongg, European Riichi mahjong, MCR Siamese have emerged.

What issues still remain?

MCR Siamese and Wright-Patterson Mah Jongg are yet to be released.

How versatile is the platform?

Mahjong Time’s software is available for virtually any device on the market, PC, MAC, iPad, iPhone, Android, Chromebook, etc.

What might we expect in the future? How will 5G change things?

In the future the games will be more and more realistic, and 5G should make possible good quality VR games on various devices. 
Mahjong Time is getting ready to release Mahjong Time Epoch the newest version of the game that features new avatar hands. The avatar hands will help create a more realistic gaming environment.
  To visit Mahjong Time CLICK HERE

Michele Frizzell has a passion for Mahjong! As a child Michele watched her Filipino grandfather play Mahjong with his friends and it mystified her. In ‘73 Michele’s mother, Carolyn, learned how to play Wright-Patterson Mah Jongg at the McChord Air Force Base Officer’s Wives Club. Carolyn taught Michele how to play so she could practice at home. Mahjong was their special bond. Carolyn became an avid player and led several Mahjong groups. On occasion Michele would play with Carolyn and her friends - these have become some of Michele’s most cherished memories. Carolyn passed away from cancer in 2004 and that was the pivotal moment when Michele began her mission to share the joys of Mahjong with others in honor of her mother.

Through the years Michele has become an advanced player of several styles.
National Mah Jongg League ~ Complex
Wright-Patterson ~ Distinctive
Hong Kong ~ Fast and flexible
Riichi ~ Tactical

What makes Michele unique is that she teaches all of these styles as well. She has designed comprehensive player references and has developed tried-and-true teaching methods that have shortened the learning curve significantly for most players. Anyone who has learned to play from Michele speaks highly of her creative approach to learning and great patience as a teacher. Pick a style, sign up for a lesson, and let Michele demystify the captivating game of Mahjong so you can play too!

M ichelle Frizzell writes:

In 1973, Carolyn, my mother learned to play Wright-Patterson Mah Jongg . She taught me how to play so she could practice at home and so the game became our bond and shared passion. My mother quickly began to lead groups, run tournaments, and teach people how to play the game. Many of my fondest memories growing up were playing mah jongg with her. 
In 1990, I learned to play using National Mah Jongg League rules. This is also when I began teaching people how to play and started my first group. Sadly, in 2004, my mother passed away from cancer. That was the pivotal moment when I decided that I would continue learning, playing, teaching, and leading in her honor. 
I currently live in Canton, GA, with my husband of 22 years, Dave, and son, Conner (21). I have another son, Jamie (30), living in Fort Collins, CO. They all know how to play both Hong Kong Old Style and Riichi.
I played in several groups over the years and was blessed by opportunities to learn Hong Kong Old Style, Riichi, and Chinese Official/MCR.  I made player reference materials and teaching tools for several styles of play that help shorten the learning curve for many players.  

The Birth of Mahjong Central

When I moved to rural Georgia in 2016, it became clear that I would not be teaching much because of the commute to players, so I decided to launch a YouTube channel with videos for people who are new to mah jongg and for experienced players who want to build their skills.
  The best way to learn how to play mahjong is to take live lessons. The next best thing is to learn by watching lessons online and practice at home. The nice thing about videos is that they can be watched repeatedly and they can be shared. 
I launched a website to share my story and promote the most popular ways to play the game.

The best way to learn how to play mahjong is to take live lessons. The next best thing is to learn by watching lessons online and practice at home. The nice thing about videos is that they can be watched repeatedly and they can be shared. 

To visit Mahjong Central CLICK HERE.

To access videos, use the links below:

Fundamentals http://bit.ly/2Xi6891
Skill Builders http://bit.ly/2GoDBch
Variations http://bit.ly/2GkRyHT Skill Builders
Charleston Modeling – Improve decision making http://bit.ly/2V3kNYg
Charleston Chain Reaction – Test your instincts http://bit.ly/2v0MClg • Charleston Sprints – Quicken decision making http://bit.ly/2v61aQy
Charleston Force – Practice playing for a prize or play categories you avoid http://bit.ly/2KL1JKq
Solitaire 2GmQZNR – Bring everything together http://bit.ly/
Strategy Theory– Explanations and application http://bit.ly/2UYWH0G
Let’s Play Livestreams – Game-play with commentary and socializing with the community http://bit.ly/2KARWWW

MahJonggMentor is an established teaching site with over 3,000 subscribers worldwide. In business since 2014, it boasts a host of opportunities for a wide range of players. The most significant aspect of this site is the creation of mentoring relationships that support growth over time. Through a combination of instructional videos, targeted video presentations on strategy, newsletters, local classes, client submitted questions and answers, and other opportunities, this site harnesses the power of technology and distance learning to truly mentor Mah Jongg players.
Their History
MahJonggMentor was an idea born at a Mah Jongg game when four players at a table wished they had someone to help them decide how to play the tiles in their hands. They conceived the idea of a “first-of-its-kind” video website to teach Mah Jongg and game strategy to assist players in making decisions. The business was born in 2013; the website was running in the fall of 2014.
Arlene Marron and Leah Feigenbaum
Their Team
Leah Feigenbaum has been playing the fascinating, fun, and fabulous game of Mah Jongg for over fifty years. Like many of you, she fell in love with this game watching her mother at their kitchen table. Eager to spread her passion, she has been teaching the game throughout the Greater Philadelphia Area for beginners and experienced players alike for over 13 years. While Leah loves teaching new students the fundamentals of this great game, she gets a real thrill from instructing more seasoned students on the nuances and intricacies each year as new cards are released. Privileged to have taught more than 1500 students, she feels so lucky to have touched some great people. (Leah now not only enjoys teaching in her own community setting but also on the website, cruise ships, and various exotic locations).Prior to teaching Maj, Leah has had various careers in the world of Social Services and Human Resources as well as the corporate world
Arlene Marron is very organized and detail oriented and handles most of the technical aspects of MahJonggMentor in addition to producing the newsletter. In early 2012 , Arlene was looking for a new hobby and decided to try Mah Jongg. She quickly became “hooked” and plays at least once a week. Arlene loves the game because of the detail involved in play. She loves her involvement with MahJonggMentor and enjoys helping others to learn and enjoy the game. A Registered Nurse and Certified Professional Coder, when not busy with MahJonggMentor and playing Mah Jongg, Arlene works for an audit company.
 A Rich Range of Offerings
MahJonggMentor.com offers its members nearly 200 videos for all levels of experience, from very basic exercises to more advanced strategy lessons. The beginner videos start with the fundamentals of Mah Jongg, including building the walls, dealing the tiles, doing the Charleston, and explaining the basic rules of play. Members with little or no Mah Jongg experience can learn to play entirely from the website. The videos can be viewed as many times and as often as needed. There are interactive exercises which encourage the viewers to pause the video and see if the decisions they make are similar to what MahJonggMentor recommends. The website has videos of real games to show newer players how decisions are made in an actual game.
As members progress in their understanding of the game, they can advance to basic strategy exercises to encourage more critical thinking about hands on the card. The site also offers general strategy videos, table rules, defensive strategies, and playing with three. As soon as the new National Mah Jongg League (NMJL) card is released each spring, MahJonggMentor is busy producing new card-year specific strategy lessons. New videos are also added frequently to the website. Other website sections are dedicated to updated NMJL rules and decision-making. As an added benefit, there is a monthly newsletter known as Classroom Corners with additional video lessons. Website members can also send questions directly to the Mentors for a personal answer.
Here is a Classroom Corner video from December 2018 where Leah discusses the
psychology and the rules when a tile is miscalled.

Visit https://mahjonggmentor.com to become a member or purchase a gift certificate.
Rose, a young mah jongg player and her pet named Nanny. Circa 1925
Anthropo mahj ism

Judith Davis
Anthropo morph ism is the attribution of human traits, emotions, or intentions to non-human entities.

Anthropo centr ism is the belief that human beings are the most important entity in the universe. Anyone who lives with cats knows this theory is erroneous.

Anthropo mahj ism is the ability of certain animals to play mah jongg.

And so. . .

Fiona the Calico and Sweet Babboo the Maine Coon were enjoying an afternoon of uninterrupted cathood. Mama and Daddy had gone off to an afternoon of mahj and left them to their own devices. A toilette and a bask in the sun had only taken up a little time, so they needed to find some mischief before their next scheduled nap.

Fiona found Babboo sitting in the middle of the permanently prepared mahj table contemplatively knocking the vintage tiles to the floor, one by one.

"Oh, please," she huffed. "Must you be such a stereotype? If you're going to play with the tiles, see if you can best me in a game of Siamese."

"You always steal all the jokers, so I can't win," Babboo whined.

"All right, I promise to play a kosher game," Fiona conceded, eager to stave off her constant boredom.

Set-up took a bit longer than usual. Racking 27 and 28 tiles is difficult without opposable thumbs and with Babboo's difficulty in counting above 20.

Picking and throwing progressed uneventfully once Babboo, a very large and strong cat, moderated his throw so that the tiles stayed on the table. Fiona was very cautious about throwing flowers because she knew Babboo was working on a three dragons, three flowers hand. He always did because it was so easy. She prided herself on eschewing it. She herself was collecting the quint hand with numbers, winds, and flowers, thanks to having three jokers on her rack.

"Mama always serves snacks when she plays," Babboo announced.

"Well, don't think I'm bringing one to the table. Go ahead and get one," Fiona agreed, "but eat the dry food so the tiles don't get sticky."

"Don't try to switch our tiles while I'm at the dish," Babboo warned. "I can hear you moving them around."

"How dare you accuse me of cheating!" Fiona exclaimed, especially offended because he had guessed her plan.

Fiona was a little surprised when not long after the game resumed, Babboo discarded a joker. She almost questioned him and gave him an opportunity to take it back, but it wasn't THAT friendly a game. Her attention was diverted when his next throw was a North which gave her an opportunity to call, "Me-ahj," and expose the hand. Now she could concentrate on her second hand, a simple any two suits, any four consecutive numbers.

Not much later, it was no surprise when Babboo also called "Me-ahj," and exposed the usual dragons and flowers. He had even managed to make the two numbers consecutive, a move which occasionally eluded him.

Fiona furrowed her furry brow. What could his second hand possibly be? She couldn't be reading the discarded tiles correctly; he would never try to do a singles and pairs!

When Fiona discarded a seven dot, Babboo literally pounced on the tile as if it were one of Mahjong Dice's catnip toys and shouted "ME-AHJ" loud enough to make Fiona's fur stand on end. He laboriously exposed pairs of one though seven dots. They were all there, even if not in the usual consecutive order.                                                                                                                                                                               Fiona couldn't resist reverting to her feline nature and hissing and spitting, but Babboo didn't care! He enjoyed his well-earned nap while Fiona sulked and washed her tail.

Later that evening, when Mama and Daddy sat down for a quick game, Mama queried, "Honey, do you think these tiles smell like cat food?'

Why tile collecting is taboo?

Who are the fabled dancing Charleston Brothers, Ralph and Larry?

How to discover the truth about dragons?

How to avoid the beginner's death trap?

How not to play dead?

How to finally know the true meaning of PIE?

Author Debbie Barnett answers all these questions, and more, in her new book

Unlocking the Secrets of American Mah Jongg

 Print Book-$21.95 Ebook-$9.95 now available at debbiebarnettauthor.com/books  
Mahj on My Mind Merchandise
Every Mahj Jongg player will find something to love in the 40 collections of over 500 items ranging from tote bags, jewelry, and luggage tags, to phone cases, shirts, earrings, and note cards. Perfect as gifts, tournament prizes, or home decor.

In the July issue of MJ DIVA Magazine we published an article, “Daughters of the American Mah Jongg Dynasty”, in which we told the story of Marjorie Troum, her mother, Dorothy S. Meyerson, and daughter, Allison Davis, who formed a unbroken link from the founding of the National Mah Jongg League to today. Since then, Dr. Annelise Heinz, Assistant Professor of History at the University of Oregon, who was featured in the August, 2019, issue, posted that the American Historical Review has published her article, “Maid’s Day Off: Leisured Domesticity in the Mid-Twentieth-Century United States". CLICK HERE This fascinating article explains so much about the evolution of the game after WW II.  Anyone interested in why Mah Jongg is often characterized as a Jewish Women's game should read this.

Even more interesting, though, are the two people mentioned in the article: Marjorie Troum, who shares her experiences about playing Mah Jongg, and Sylvia Leeds, one of her contemporaries.  

Recently, MJ DIVA Magazine received the following email from Katie Albert, Leeds's granddaughter:

Our Grandma's name is Sylvia Leeds. She is still with us, but she is now 97, and not very active. She used to be an avid mahjong and bridge player among other things. Back in the day, couples used to get together and either played bridge, or split up, and the men played poker and the ladies played mahjong. 
Her late husband was a regional vice president of Zales, so they had a very interesting life, living in many places around the country. I would think that playing mahjong offered her a chance to get to know others. She had one mahjong set, a green-clear-white tri-colored set, which she got from her husband. He saw and purchased it from a jewelry store that Zales acquired at that time, I believe in '68. The set is living with me now. I started learning to play mahjong late, but I'm happy I had the chance to play with her a couple of times.”
Sylvia Leeds with great-grandson Simon
We invite our readers to contribute to the historical record by emailing your stories to jwarrendavis@comcast.net
Created by Mah Jongg maven Gladys Grad in 2015, Siamese Mah Jongg ® has gained so much popularity recently that there is now a growing demand for tournaments. For the past three years, Grad's Mah Jongg Madness Tournaments have held mini Siamese Mah Jongg ® tournaments, in Las Vegas and Scottsdale. The scoring and guidelines for these mini tournaments are available at the Siamese Mah Jongg ® Guild Facebook group. CLICK HERE
Mahj Mania Tournaments
John Davis

On the Versatility of the Game

American-Style Mah Jongg tournaments have delighted and frustrated players for nearly 80 years. Whether large or small, local or national, these tournaments carry with them the traditions and history of an ever-evolving game.  Some are run as businesses that add charitable donations to their events; others exist solely as fundraisers. Even though these tournaments are conducted with some variations decided by their directors, participants know what is expected about the skill level, adherence to rules, and pace of the games. This regularity allows for a broad range of participation over a wide geographical area. All of these tournaments are based on the National Mah Jongg League’s annual card of official standard hands and rules.

With the creation of Gladys Grad’s Siamese Mah Jongg and its growing popularity, a new style of tournament has emerged, one that requires its own organization and timing. There are also year long tournaments with monthly sessions and prizes awarded at the last month. Informal tournaments and “mahj-athons” are also other versions of competitive play.

In addition, thousands of home games employ “house rules” or “table rules” agreed upon by each group. For example, playing with 14 tiles, throwing dice to double the scores, playing atomic, hot walls, cold walls, or BIG special jokers all pay tribute to both the flexibility of the game and the imagination of its players. These changes or additions to the rules, however, regularly engender debate around preserving the purity of the game. One frequent argument is that “friendly” games, where some rules are suspended or ignored, create a disadvantage for players who might want to participate in tournaments where the rules are rigorously enforced. Mah Jongg is, indeed, a versatile game.

Mahj Mania Tournaments: an Innovative Design

Less than a year ago, I created Mahj Mania , a game used in conjunction with American-Style Mah Jongg. The basic goal of this popular game is to temporarily suspend, limit, or reverse the rules of traditional Mah Jongg.  Since its debut, the game has been played by hundreds of groups across the United States.

Building on the unique features of the game, I now have the pleasure of introducing Mahj Mania Tournament Designs, a new visualization of Mah Jongg tournaments. While preserving the common structure of six rounds per day, along with traditional tournament rules and scoring, Mahj Mania Tournaments adds a new level of challenge and fun. The unique feature of this new approach is that, rather than each round of play being the same, in Mahj Mania Tournaments each round changes. 

How Mahj Mania Tournaments Works

In order to conduct a Mahj Mania Tournament, tournament directors chose from a set of cards that determine how each round will be played. These are the possible categories:

Charleston Challenge: changes the rules for the Charleston
Restricted: limits the make up of hands that may be played
Taboo: forbids certain discards or hands
Opposites: reverses open and closed hands or the order of play
Wild Joker: changes how jokers may be used
Speed:           designed to change the pace of the game
Bonus Scores: doubles or reduces scores for selected hands

Depending on the experience level of the group, the entire tournament might consist only of Mahj Mania Tournament rounds, or it might use a combination of traditional rounds and Mahj Mania Tournament rounds.

Sample Tournament Schedule

Round One                Traditional
Round Two               Mahj Mania -- Jokers can be used in a pair
Round Three           Mahj Mania --Only hands with a least one pung

Round Four                Traditional
Round Five               Mahj Mania – Only hands with flowers
Round Six                Mahj Mania -- Everyone takes two turns


Mah Jongg Diva Tiles
Limited Edition Mah Jongg Tiles
There are only 100 sets of this limited edition. Each set comes with a Certificate of Authenticity and consists of 170 Standard American Mah Jongg tiles, including 8 flowers, 8 seasons, 8 blanks (in case a tile is lost, it can be replaced with one of these), and 2 extra jokers.
  • Babboo wanted to remind you to order your Mahj Mania game today at jwarrendavis@comcast.net
J. Davis Mah Jongg Collection
at Davida Aprons

Davida Aprons is pleased to announce the debut of the J.Davis Collection of textile products based on the artwork "Joker Dreams" by John Davis. This first collaboration represents the latest addition to the outstanding line of Jewish Funwear and Kitchen Kitsch products that Davida Aprons has been creating for over 38 years.
Mahj-Art Commissions

Would you like a custom designed gift for a friend or loved one who plays Mah Jongg?
Is there an anniversary or birthday milestone that calls for something special?
You should consider my Mahj-Art Archival Prints.
Each print is hand made using archival inks and high quality papers. I work closely with clients to find something unique about the recipient. My extensive Mahj-Art library is available, or you may commission an entirely new piece. Join the nationwide ranks of satisfied customers.