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Mahjong History

Mah-Jong Hisotry

Mah-Jong Origin

Mah-jong, also spelled Mah-jong or Mah-jongg is a game of Chinese origin. Some researchers say that it has over two thousand years history; however, some argued that it was not created until the mid-to-late 1800s. There is good evidence from Chinese researchers that Mah Jong originated in the provinces of Kiangsu, Anhwei and Chekiang near Shanghai. Mah Jong, bears a much greater resemblance in play to certain card games, namely those of the Rummy family.

For centuries, mahjong remained exclusive of the royal class. It was against the law for commoners to play. However, around 500 A.D., the penalty was lifted, which enabled everyone who desired to play mahjong to do so.

In 1905, Mah Jong was not very known outside its origin but over the next 15 years it spread incredibly quickly across most of China and replaced Chinese chess as the most popular Chinese game. The Chinese gradually removed the clumsy elements of game play and incorporated a host of rituals surrounding the method of play that have now become enshrined in stone. The rules of the game, to a beginner seem confusing and unnecessary but most of these traditions prevent cheating very effectively.

To be adequate to say that numerous experts of the game regard the variety of Mah Jong of 1920 as the "perfect" Mah Jong and look upon all future modifications and evolutions. In fact, at this time, the Chinese played a lot of variations in rules and procedures according to the situation and the importance of the game, and so there was nothing clear-cut about the Chinese game of the 1920s which was as unregulated then as it is now. However, the game had come about with a natural regard for playability and elegance. It has also been called the “hundreds of intelligence”.

Western Introduction

The introduction to the western world is thought to have begun with two brothers named White, who introduced Mah Jong to the English clubs of Shanghai in the early 1900's, where it quickly gained popularity among the foreign residents. When this occurred the Mah Jong craze increased by another factor again to cover much of the world.

Many regions in the Far East play a game similar to the classical Chinese form but in particular, the Japanese, the Americans and the British all snatched the game and took it in their own direction. Even in China itself, there are different rules to play in different areas namely Peking, Guangdong, Hong Kong, Sichuan and Taiwan.