International Mahjong Game Rules

International Mahjong

As Mahjong spread out from China to surrounding countries and eventually worldwide the rules were quickly adapted creating new versions in every region of the globe. This made things difficult in the early days with players unable to easily play between regions without learning the local rules. In 1996 the Chineses “Peoples Sports Publishing House” undertook the challenge of creating a whole new said of rules aimed at bridging the gap between regions.
In defining this new set of rules for Mahjong, a specially selected group of experts from all over China was appointed, and research was made not only into the regional variants in Beijing, Shanghai, Ningbo, Tiangjin, Hong Kong and others, but also those of Japan and Taiwan. The more complex forms of the game were rejected, and in the end the decision was made to create a pattern-based, additive form of play and scoring. The rules were presented in 1998; and in that same year mahjong as defined by these rules was officially named the country’s 255th sport, by the State Sports Commission of China
This form of the game has since come to be recognized and adopted as the international version of mahjong, whilst undergoing a few micro-changes in the early 2000’s. Also, this form is known variously as Chinese Official (CO), World Mahjong Contest Rules (WMCR), Official International Rules (OIR), or Chinese Mahjong Contest Rules (CMCR), and is now officially (since October 2005) sanctioned and governed by the World Mahjong Organization (WMO).
The general gameplay of International Mahjong is basically the same as the Chineses Classical game being that the general winning hand is the same consisting of four sets and a pair. However, in addition a few other hands are also recognized.

Tiles used in International Mahjong

In International Competition Mahjong, also known variously as Chinese Official (CO), World Mahjong Contest Rules (WMCR), Official International Rules (OIR), or Chinese Mahjong Contest Rules (CMCR), and being officially sanctioned and governed by the World Mahjong Organization (WMO), a set of 144 tiles consisting of the following is used:

Bamboo Set

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Character Set

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Circles & Dot Set

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Wind Set

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Dragon Set

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Flowers Bonus Tiles

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Dragon Bonus Tiles

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Objective of International Mahjong

The objective of the game is to match four sets and a pair using all of your tiles, this is known as a MAHJONG. When someone declares Mahjong the game ends, and points are distributed based on your hand. Each player is then paid out from the pot based on the points total of their hand, this is calculated automatically by the online 888casino before distributing the payout. Once this happens the deck of tiles is re-shuffled and the game is restarted ready for another round.

A set can consist of either a PONG (three of the same suit) a KONG (four of the same suite), or a CHOW (three running tiles of the same suite).
See below for example sets in International Mahjong:

PONG Example

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KONG Example

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CHOW Example

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A PONG or a KONG must be made up using identical tiles, a CHOW must consist of three tiles running in the same suite eg. 1,2,3.
Once you have formed four sets all that is needed is to make a pair which can consist of any two identical tiles excluding the bonus tiles. Bonus tiles cannot be used for pairs nor for sets and are instead set aside and will count as an additional amount towards your end score.

Example Pair

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Forming Sets in International Mahjong

Sets in International Mahjong can be formed by retrieving from the deck forming a concealed set or retrieving a tile when it’s been discarded by an opponent player to complete a set in your hand. Once a set is formed in this way the tiles are shown face up for other players to see. Mahjong is declared once four sets have been formed followed by a pair to complete the hand.
All sets must be formed using pieces from the same suit either Bamboo, Character, Dots, Wind or Dragon tiles. PONG and KONG sets require 3 or 4 tiles of identical value and suit where as a CHOW is more like a straight in poker but using only three values from the same set eg. 1 2 3.

Point Scoring in International Mahjong

The game of International Mahjong is pattern based and subject to a number of strict rules, it very different than the scoring methods used in the Classical version of Mahjong.

Firstly, the minimum required number of points to go out is 8 points, not including any Bonus tiles gained. Even if you gain 4 sets and pair, unless you reach the minimum of 8 points you are unable to declare Mahjong and end the game.

Secondly once all the elements and combinations have been added up, this forms the basic score. To this 8 points are always added, for the full score of the winning hand.

Third, unlike in the Classic version of the game only the winner gets paid. Points are not exchanged between the other three players.
Fourth, if the winning tile is drawn from the wall then all three other players pay the winner their score value in full. If, however the winning tile is claimed from another player, then the player discarding will pay the winner their full score. The other two players in this instance will pay only the minimum score of 8 points.

Fifth, in International Competition Mahjong points may be scored by combinations of sets such as for example having two chows, 1-2-3 and 7-8-9 in the same suit, which each by itself would not give the player any points but do so when combined together in the same hand.
There are eighty-one scoring elements and combinations in total, worth from 1 point up to a 99 points.

88 Points

(01) Big Four Winds: A hand containing pongs or kongs of all four Wind tiles, E-S-W-N.
It may not be combined with big Three Winds, Little Four Winds, All Pongs, Seat Wind, Prevalent Wind, or pong of Terminals or Honours (all implied).
(02) Big Three Dragons: A hand containing pongs or kongs of all three Dragon tiles, Red-Green-White.
It may not be combined with pong of Dragons, or Two Dragons (both implied).
(03) All Green: A hand in which all the chows, pongs/kongs and the pair are made up entirely of combinations of? green? tiles: defined as 2, 3, 4, 6 and 8 of Bamboos, and Green Dragon.
It may be combined with either Half Flush or Full Flush. When combined with Seven Pairs, Tile Hog may not be added.
(04) Nine Gates: Holding (concealed) the 1-1-1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-9-9 tiles in any of the three suits, creating the nine-sided wait of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 or 9 in that same suit.
It may be combined with Fully Concealed if the winning tile is Self-Drawn. It may not be combined with Full Flush (implied), Concealed, Edge Wait, Closed Wait, Single Wait, or Pong of Terminals or Honours.
(05) Four Kongs: Any hand that includes four kongs (plus a pair). These may be concealed or melded.
(06) Seven Shifted Pairs: A hand containing seven pairs of the same suit, each shifted one up from the previous one.
It may be combined with Fully Concealed if the winning tile is Self-Drawn. It may not be combined with Full Flush, Concealed Hand, or Single Wait (all implied).
(07) Thirteen Orphans: A hand containing one each of all the Dragons, all the Winds, a 1 and 9 of each suit, and the fourteenth tile forming a pair with any of the previous ones.
It may be combined with Fully Concealed if the winning tile is Self-Drawn. It may not be combined with Concealed Hand, All Types, or Single Wait (all implied).

64 Points

(08) All Terminals: A hand made up entirely of 1 and 9 of the suit tiles, pongs or kongs and including the pair, without any Honour tiles.
It may not be combined with No Honours (implied), All Pongs (implied), or Outside Hand (implied). It may be combined with Double Pong or Triple Pong. It may be combined with Seven Pairs, but then the Tile Hog may not be added.
(09) Little Four Winds: A hand containing three pongs or kongs of Wind tiles, and a pair of the fourth Wind.
It may not be combined with Big Three Winds (implied) or Pong of Terminals or Honours (implied). It may be combined with Seat Wind or Prevalent Wind.
(10) Little Three Dragons: A hand containing two pongs or kongs of Dragons, and a pair of the Third Dragon.
It may not be combined with Two Dragons, or Pong of Dragons (both implied).
(11) All Honours: All pungs, kongs and the pair consist of Honour tiles.
The Dragons and Winds may be exposed or concealed. It may not be combined with All Pongs (implied), Outside Hand, or Pong of Terminals or Honours (implied). Points for Seat Wind, Prevalent Wind and/or Pong of Dragons may be added.
(12) Four Concealed Pongs: A hand containing four concealed pongs or kongs (achieved without melding).
It may not be combined with Concealed Hand (implied) or All Pongs (implied). It may be combined with Fully Concealed if the winning tile is Self-Drawn.
(13) Pure Terminal Chows: A hand containing four Terminal Chows, two each of the lower and the upper, all of the same suit, and a pair of fives of the same suit.
It may not be combined with Full Flush (implied), All Chows (implied), Seven Pairs, Pure Double Chow (implied), Mixed Double Chow (implied), or Two Terminal Chows (implied).

48 Points

(14) Quadruple Chow: A hand containing four identical chows of the same suit.
It may not be combined with Pure Double Chow (implied), Pure Triple Chow (implied), Tile Hog, or Pure Shifted Pongs.
(15) Four Pure Shifted Pongs: A hand containing four pongs or kongs of the same suit, each shifted one of from the previous one.
It may not be combined with Pure Double Chow, Pure Triple Chow, Tile Hog, or Pure Shifted Pongs Implied).

32 Points

(16) Four Pure Shifted Chows: A hand containing four chows of the same suit, each shifted up either 1 or 2 steps from the previous one (but not a combination of both).
>It may not be combined with Short Straight.
(17) Three Kongs: A hand containing three kongs (exposed or concealed).
It may be combined with points for concealment, see below. If all three kongs are concealed, it may be combined with Three Concealed Pongs.
(18) All Terminals and Honours: A hand containing pongs, kongs and/or pair(s), all of 1 and/or 9 of the suit tiles and Honour tiles (Winds and/or Dragons).
It may not be combined with Pong of Terminals or Honours (implied), Outside Hand, or All Pongs (implied).

24 Points

(19) Seven Pairs: A hand consisting of seven pairs, any pairs. The pairs need not all be different one may be two 7 of Characters, and another pair the remaining two 7 of Characters, for example.
It may not be combined with Single Wait (implied) or Concealed Hand (implied). It may be combined with Fully Concealed if the winning tile is Self-Drawn, and may also be combined with All Types and Tile Hog.
(20) Greater Honours and Knitted Tiles: A hand containing one each of the four Winds and the three Dragons, plus any seven tiles in a knitted straight (1-4-7 of one suit, 2-5-8 of another suit and 3-6-9 of the third suit), but where the Wind and Dragon tiles are used as “jokers” to take the place of missing suit tiles in the sequences. Differs from Lesser Honours and Knitted Tiles (#34, see below) in that it must contain one each of all seven Honour tiles. This hand does not contain a pair!
It may not be combined with Concealed Hand or All Types (both implied). It may be combined with Fully Concealed if the winning tile is Self-Drawn.
(21) All Even Pongs: A hand containing pongs or kongs of 2, 4, 6 or 8 of the suit tiles, plus a pair of the same.
It may not be combined with All Pongs (implied) or All Simples (implied).
(22) Full Flush: A hand containing tiles from one suit only.
It may not be combined with No Honours (implied).
(23) Pure Triple Chow: A hand containing three identical chows of the same suit.
It may not be combined with Pure Shifted Pongs, or Pure Double Chow (implied).
(24) Pure Shifted Pongs:A hand containing three pongs or kongs of the same suit, each shifted one up from the previous one.
It may not be combined with Pure Triple Chow.
(25) Upper Tiles: A hand containing 7, 8 and/or 9 tiles only.
It may not be combined with No Honours (implied).
(26) Middle Tiles: A hand containing 4, 5 and/or 6 tiles only.
Again, it may not be combined with No Honours (implied).
(27) Lower Tiles: A hand containing 1, 2 and/or 3 tiles only.
Again, it may not be combined with No Honours (implied).

16 Points

(28) Pure Straight: A hand containing the sequence 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9 of the same suit, forming three consecutive chows.
(29) Three-Suited Terminal Chows: A hand containing 1-2-3 and 7-8-9 of one suit (Two Terminal Chows), 1-2-3 and 7-8-9 of another suit, and a pair of fives in the remaining suit.
It may not be combined with All Chows (implied), Two Terminal Chows (implied), or Mixed Double Chow (implied).
(30) Pure Shifted Chows: A hand containing three chows of the same suit, each shifted up either 1 or 2 steps from the previous one (but not a combination of both).
(31) All Fives: A hand in which every set (chow, pong, kong, pair) includes at least one 5 tile.
It may not be combined with All Simples (implied).
(32) Triple Pong: A hand containing three matching pongs or kongs of the same number, in all three suits.
(33) Three Concealed Pongs: A hand containing three concealed pongs or kongs (achieved without melding).

12 Points

(34) Lesser Honours and Knitted Tiles: A hand containing a knitted straight (1-4-7 of one suit, 2-5-8 of another suit and 3-6-9 of the third suit), and with single Honour tiles (Winds and Dragons) making up the rest of the hand as well as acting as “jokers” taking the place of any missing suit tiles in the sequences. This hand differs from Greater Honours and Knitted Tiles (#20) in that it does not contain one each of all seven Honour tiles. Also, this hand does not contain a pair!
It may not be combined with Concealed Hand or All Types (both implied). It may be combined with Fully Concealed if the winning tile is Self-Drawn. It may also be combined with Knitted Straight, if no Honour tiles at all are used in the sequences.
(35) Knitted Straight: A hand containing three special sequences, 1-4-7 of one suit, 2-5-8 of another suit and 3-6-9 of the third suit.
It may not be combined with Edge Wait or Closed Wait. It may be combined with All Chows, or with Lesser Honours and Knitted Tiles.
(36) Upper Four: A hand containing 6, 7, 8 and/or 9 tiles only.
It may not be combined with No Honours (implied).
(37) Lower Four: A hand containing 1, 2, 3 and/or 4 tiles only.
It may not be combined with No Honours (implied).
(38) Big Three Winds: A hand containing three pongs or kongs in three different winds.

8 Points

(39) Mixed Straight: A hand containing three different chows, 1-2-3 of one suit, 4-5-6 of another suit, and 7-8-9 of the third suit.
(40) Reversible Tiles: A hand made up entirely of those tiles which are vertically symmetrical, meaning the tile looks the same when turned upside down. These tiles are defined as the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8 and 9 of Dots, the 2, 4, 5, 6, 8 and 9 of Bamboos, and the White Dragon.
It may not be combined with One Voided Suit (implied).
(41) Mixed Triple Chow: A hand containing three chows of the same numerical sequence, but in three different suits.
(42) Mixed Shifted Pongs: A hand containing three pongs or kongs, in all three different suits, each shifted one step up from the previous one.
(43) Chicken Hand: A hand that would otherwise score 0 points (not counting the Bonus tiles). The different elements in it must not qualify for any scoring at all!
(44) Last Tile Draw: Going out (making the mahjong) by drawing the very last tile from the Wall.
It does not combine with Self-Drawn (implied).
(45) Last Tile Claim: Going out (making the mahjong) by claiming the very last discarded tile in the game.
(46) Out with Replacement Tile: Going out (making the mahjong) with the replacement tile drawn after achieving a kong (but not when replacing a Bonus tile).
It may not combine with Self-Drawn (implied). If a Bonus tile is drawn as a replacement after achieving a kong, and the new replacement tile lets you go out, the point for Self-Drawn may be added but Out with Replacement Tile does not apply.
(47) Robbing the Kong: Winning by claiming (for the mahjong) a tile another player tries to add to a melded pong to create an exposed kong.
This is treated, points-wise, as winning by discard from another player. It may not be combined with either Last Tile Draw or Last Tile Claim.
(48) Two Concealed Kongs: A hand containing two concealed kongs.
Note: This scoring element was originally valued at 6 points, but was upgraded to 8 points in the year 2006 by the WMO.

6 Points

(49) All Pongs: A hand containing four pongs or kongs, and a pair.
(50) Half Flush: A hand that contains suits from one suit only, in combination with Honour tiles (Winds and/or Dragons).
(51) Mixed Shifted Chows: A hand containing three chows, one in each suit, each shifted one step up from the previous one.
Note: This is an important scoring element, very frequently used by master players.
(52) All Types: A hand in which all three suits, and one of the Winds and one of the Dragons, are present in making up the four sets and the pair.
It may also be combined with Seven Pairs.
(53) Melded Hand: A hand in which all four sets, AND the pair, must be completed by claiming tiles discarded by the other players. All sets must be exposed, and the player goes out by completing the pair off a discard from another player.
It may not be combined with Single Wait (implied).
(54) Two Dragon Pongs: A hand containing two pongs or kongs of Dragon tiles.

4 Points

(55) Outside Hand: A hand containing Terminals and Honours in all four sets, as well as the pair.
(56) Fully Concealed Hand: A hand which is completed without any melds (any claiming of discards), and wins by Self-Draw.
It may not be combined with Self-Draw (implied) or Concealed Hand (implied).
(57) Two Melded Kongs: A hand containing two exposed kongs.
Note that one melded kong and one concealed kong are 6 points.
(58) Last Tile: Winning with a tile that is the last of its kind. This fact must be clear to all players, the previous three having been discarded or exposed in sets.

2 Points

(59) Dragon Pong: One pong or kong of Dragons, concealed or exposed.
(60) Prevalent Wind: A pong or kong of the Wind corresponding to the current Prevalent Wind.
(61) Seat Wind: A pong or kong of the Wind corresponding to your own current Seat Wind (seating position, East, South, West or North).

(62) Concealed Hand: A hand without any exposed sets (melds), and which wins by claiming a discard.
(63) All Chows: A hand consisting of four chows (plus a pair), the pair not being made up of Honour tiles.
It may not be combined with No Honours (implied).
(64) Tile Hog: Using four identical tiles from one of the suits, without using them as a kong ? using them instead as two pairs, or in one pong and one chow.
(65) Double Pong: Two pongs or kongs (or one pong and one kong) of the same number but in two different suits.
(66) Two Concealed Pongs: Two pongs achieved without melding.
(67) Concealed kong: Four identical tiles, all self-drawn, declared as a kong.
(68) All Simples: A hand which does not contain any Terminals (1 or 9), nor any Honours.

1 Points

(69) Pure Double Chow: Two identical chows, of the same suit.
(70) Mixed Double Chow: Two chows with the same numbers, but in different suits.
(71) Short Straight: Two chows in the same suit that run consecutively, for example 3-4-5 and 6-7-8 of Dots.
(72) Two Terminal Chows: Two chows, of 1-2-3 and 7-8-9 respectively, in the same suit.
(73) Pong of Terminals or Honours: A pong or kong of 1 or 9 in one of the suits, or of one of the Winds.
Note that a pong of Dragons scores 2 points instead. A pong in one of the Winds may be combined with Seat Wind or Prevalent Wind.
(74) Melded Kong: A kong claimed from another player’s discard, or promoted from a previously melded pong by self-drawing the fourth tile.
(75) One Voided Suit: A hand entirely lacking tiles from one of the suits. Winds and/or Dragon tiles may be present in the hand.
(76) No Honours: A hand formed entirely of suit tiles, without any Winds or Dragons.
(77) Edge Wait: Winning by drawing or claiming a 3 to form a 1-2-3 chow, or a 7 to form a 7-8-9 chow.
It is not valid if waiting for more than one tile, or if the Edge Wait is combined with any other waits.
(78) Closed Wait: Winning by drawing or claiming a tile whose number is on the ?inside? to form a chow, for example a 6 to form a 5-6-7 chow.
It is not valid if waiting for more than one tile, or if the Closed Wait is combined with any other waits.
(79) Single Wait: Waiting solely for a tile to form a pair.
It is not valid if waiting for more than one tile, for example when holding 1-2-3-4 of a suit and waiting for either the 1 or the 4.
(80) Self-Drawn: Going out (making the mahjong) with a tile drawn from the Wall.
(81) Bonus Tiles: Each Season tile or Flower tile will award you 1 point when going out (making the mahjong). However, Bonus tiles do not count toward the 8-point minimum score required to go out the hand must be worth at least 8 points on its own merits, before any points for Bonus tiles are added.
If you draw a replacement for a Bonus tile, and can go out with this replacement tile, it counts as Self-Drawn for 1 extra point.

How a Hand is Scored in International Mahjong – The Five Principals

In calculating the score for a hand, the following principles must be stringently observed:

The prohibition against implied inclusion: When a higher-scoring pattern cannot be achieved without also making a related lower-scoring pattern, the lower-scoring pattern is said to be implied and may not also be scored.

The prohibition against identical patterns: Once a set has been used to achieve a particular two- or three-set pattern, you may then not use the same set to form an identical pattern with another set.

The prohibition against separation: Once one or more sets have been formed into a particular scoring combination, you may not separate those tiles and re-organize them into other sets to form a different scoring combination.

The prohibition against repetitive set usage: Once two or three sets have been used to form a scoring combination, any other remaining sets in hand may only be combined once with an already-scored set, in creating additional two- or three-set scoring combinations.

The freedom of choice principle: If a set can be used to form a high-scoring pattern or a low-scoring pattern, the player is free to select the high-scoring pattern.

Tournament Points in International Mahjong Online

After each game in a tournament, whether completed by playing all sixteen hands or interrupted by time running out, a total of 7 table points are awarded. When playing in a championship, the player scoring the highest total number of table points after a pre-determined number of games is the winner. In case of a tie in table points, the total number of regular points accumulated during all the games is the tie-breaker.
After each game, the high scorer receives 4 table points; the second highest scorer receives 2 table points; the third highest receives 1 table point; and the fourth player receives 0 table points.

If two players’ scores are equal, they split table points between them. In case of a tie for highest score, both players receive 3 table points each, and the third and fourth player 1 and 0 table points respectively. In case of a tie for second-highest score, the first player receives 4 points, the tied players 1,5 points each, and the fourth player 0 points. In case of a tie for third-highest score, the first player receives 4,5 points, the second 2,5 points, and the tied players 0 points each and so on in logical fashion, for the remaining possible cases.

Play International Mahjong Online

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