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The Appeal of Mahjong

When mahjong was initially pioneered in the United States, it was immediately embraced by Americans throughout the country. People enrolled in mahjong classes, just like they did with bridge and chess. Instructors of mahjong were quite ready to accept the influx of students hungry for mahjong because even they have grown in numbers. For those who do not have enough to attend classes, there were illustrations on street corners all the time.

At the peak of its fame, most experts conjectured that mahjong attracted the Americans because it provided a few things not found in other leisure games at that point. One consideration is that it is easy to learn. Like any other game, it needed some time to learn some basic skills but as soon as this happened, there were boundless capabilities that one can develop.

Another consideration is that mahjong was seen as more scientific than chess. While it was much easier to learn compared to chess, people were more interested in the complexities of mahjong. In chess, a single move of his opponent should be monitored by a player. The actions of that player depended on the move of his opponent or his anticipation of his opponent's succeeding move. On the other hand, in mahjong, a player had to monitor three moves of his opponent. He has to find out what his three opponents possess in their hands and determine what their actions would be. In this manner, he would not waste his tiles that an opponent may want. Monitoring the movement of three players seemed logical and many people found it challenging.

Mahjong was credited for appearing complicated, but in actuality, it was relatively easy. Beginners who learned the game in fifteen minutes could find themselves rejoicing because they have learned the game called "the game of hundred intelligences." Such a game could not have been developed overnight nor could have it been discovered by a person with less than high intelligence. Such a prestigious game could have been developed by people from advanced cultures over so many years.

Clearly, mahjong had many factors that attracted the Americans. These attractions could have been a result of similar games had nothing to offer like mahjong did. But, in fairness, mahjong also had qualities that were not so attractive likewise. For instance, mahjong sets were greatly extravagant in contrast to a set of cards or even a chess board. Regardless, mahjong, at the peak of its prestige, had an appealing look over its rivals chess and bridge.

 
 
 

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