Tournament Rules Mahjong Asia


Concerning the tournament format and schedule, please see the “Tournament Format” chapter. One cycle is four hands. The deal always passes after each hand; East never repeats the deal.
136 tiles are used for the game; the flowers are not used. A player’s hand is 13 tiles.
A player must arrange his discarded tiles in an orderly fashion, with 6 tiles per row.
Claims (chi, pong, kong, win) must be verbally announced properly. Exposed sets should be placed in front of one’s concealed hand (between one’s concealed hand and the wall).
Kong: A player may make a concealed kong or a “small exposed kong” (adding a fourth tile to an exposed triplet) during one’s own turn (after drawing a tile or claiming a chi or pong), before one discards and instead of the discarding. A concealed kong must be revealed the moment it is declared.
Time Limit: In each hand, each player has 3 minutes total for all his plays. Each turn should be played in 15 seconds. But at the start of the hand, the first 15 seconds do not count against these limits.
Winning Hand

  1. There are two types of winning hands: the Regular Hand and the Irregular Hand.
  2. Regular Hand: The regular hand consists of 4 sets (each set being a sequence, a triple kong) and a pair (called the “eyes”).
  3. Irregular Hand: The irregular hands are listed in category 10 of the “World Series of Mahjong Rules System” chapter. There are two of them: “Thirteen Terminals” and “Seven Pairs”.
  4. A hand must conform to either a regular hand or an irregular hand in order to win (go out). All patterns listed in the “Scoring” chapter, except for the irregular hands under category 10, are not definitions of the winning hand. In other words, one cannot win just by meeting the condition of a pattern, without meeting the requirements of a winning hand. (Such will be considered a “false win”.)
Scoring the Winning Hand

  1. The winning hand is scored according to the chapter ““.
  2. Responsibility of Scoring: In principle, the winning player is responsible for counting the score of one’s own hand. One may ask the opponents or a judge for help, but they are not responsible for any mistakes in the counting.
    The three non-winning players are responsible for making sure that the winning player has not over-scored the hand. They may ask a judge for help, but the judge is not responsible for any mistakes in the counting.
  3. Freedom of Count: If there are multiple ways of arranging the concealed tiles in order to compose the winning hand, the winning player may freely choose an arrangement which one feels is best for oneself, and score the hand according to that arrangement. A hand may only be scored according to one arrangement; patterns from different arrangements cannot be both counted. (For example, a hand cannot score both “Three Identical Sequences” and “Three Consecutive Triplets”, nor both “Two Identical Sequences Twice” and “Seven Pairs”.)
  4. “Nine Gates” Self-draw rule: When a “Nine Gates” hand wins on self-draw, the winning tile must be displayed separately from the rest of the hand. If the winning tile has been mixed with the hand tiles before it has been displayed and confirmed, “Nine Gates” cannot be counted.
    East starts a hand with 14 dealt tiles, and no tile is considered “drawn”. Thus, “Nine Gates” cannot be counted for a “Blessing of Heaven” hand; only “Blessing of Heaven” can be counted.
The Dead Wall and the Seabed Tile

  1. Dead Wall: The last 14 tiles in the wall are called the “Dead Wall”, and are not played.
  2. Seabed tile: The last tile in the wall before the Dead Wall (i.e. the 15th last tile in the wall) is called the seabed tile (海底牌). The player who draws the seabed tile may not declare a kong, and must discard a tile unless one is winning. This discard is called the riverbed tile (河底牌).
  3. Riverbed tile: The riverbed tile may not be claimed for chi, pong or kong; it may only be claimed for a win.
  4. No Win: If no one wins on the riverbed tile, the hand is a draw, and all players score zero for the hand. The deal (East) always passes after each hand.
Penalty Tiles

  1. If a player illegally exposes his hand tiles, those tiles will remain open on the table as live penalty tiles.
  2. A live penalty tile may be discarded on the player’s current or next (if the player is not currently playing) discard. Once the player discards any other tile (even another live penalty tile), any live penalty tiles in front of him become dead penalty tiles, which may not be discarded thereafter.
  3. Penalty tiles (whether live or dead) cannot be melded (including melding when winning on discard) into an exposed sequence, an exposed triplet, or an exposed kong (big or small), and may not form the pair of “exposed” eyes with a discarded tile when winning.
  4. In a “Seven Pairs” hand, a penalty tile may not form an “exposed” pair with a discarded tile when winning.
    In a “Thirteen Terminals” hand, a player may not win on a discarded tile which matches any of his penalty tiles; and if he has three or more penalty tiles, he may not win on any discard at all, and can win only on self-draw.
  5. During the deal, before the player organizes his tiles, if one inadvertently exposes two or fewer of one’s tiles, there is no penalty.
  6. False Win: A False Win will basically be treated as the player’s illegal exposure of all the tiles in his hand, and the play of the hand continues. (The player will not have to pay a large penalty.)