Mahjong is a very old table game that was invented in China. As with any quality product it was imported by many cultures around the globe. Evidence from Chinese researchers claim that contemporary Mahjong originated from Kiangsu, Anhwei near Shanghai around mid- to late 19th century, while others still contest the origin of the game even today. Mahjong isn’t very well know prior to 1905 in the rest of the world, however during the early 20th century it gradually spread to the Western world. By 1920, Mahjong spread in the states feverously.
In the 1920s, the British and Americans, also, started enjoying the game and as a result the rules evolved, again. Joseph P. Babcock, an American living in Shanghai during the 1920s, began exporting Mahjong sets back to the United States. He published a document called “The Official American Rules” in 1935 that simplified traditional rules for the foreign market and set the standard for American players. Babcock eventually sold the copyright to the game to Parkers Brother and the rules changed in order to satisfy the market. In the British Empire, the rules remained close to the Chinese traditional game.
The longest mahjong match lasted 33 hours, and this record was set by Russian players, not Chinese. On 16 Dec 2012, four Russian players, Oleg Pretov, Nickolay Demyanov, Anton Khantimirov, and Mark Efremov sat down and dedicated 33 hours of their life to the longest mahjong match. Source: Jogos 123.
In 1937, the game of Mah Jong became much more regulated with the formation of the National Mah Jong League, also referred to as the NMJL. The League was the first to devise an American rule book, which was entitled “Maajh: The American Version of the Ancient Chinese Game”. During the early years of its release and play in the United States, culturally it became a game that was often and mostly played by Jewish women. In fact, the founders of the National Mah Jong League were all Jewish women. They played it as a fun and challenging game that was part of their social life, and there was no gambling involved with its play, which is different from in China where gambling was coming with the play of Mah Jong. It was these Jewish women who are responsible for the most popular form of Mah Jong played today, which is referred to as “American Mah Jong”.
For our spanish readers :
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