Embracing Mah Jongg
The Lake Charles Bridge Club will host a Mah Jongg tournament from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept.16, when players from across the region will gather to play the ancient Chinese game that local participants describe as “absolutely addicting.”
“It’s more than just a game. It’ll suck you right in!” said Vickie Reynolds, player and coordinator of Sunday’s tournament. The four-person game is played with a set of 144 tiles based on Chinese characters and symbols. Reynolds describes Mah Jongg as similar to rummy, but without cards, and she said the effects of the game are beneficial for both entertainment purposes and overall health and mental clarity.
Kay Pennisson, sevenyear player, said, “After my first lesson I ordered everything Mah Jongg — the works! I knew that I would love the game forever. From the minute you sit down, it’s total brain exercise.”
Though the game is played with foreign markings, speed and general silence, the players agreed that with practice and motivation, a player will grasp the complexities of the game after only a few months.
Mah Jongg requires a player to think, focus, concentrate and calculate all at the same time, resulting in rounds that are engaging and wins that are incredibly satisfying.
“It’s a game we love to hate! Every time you come, you hate it until you Mah Jongg!” joked Reynolds, explaining the intense emotions surrounding the rounds of play.
The game also provides considerable social and mental health benefits.
Texas native and 40-year Mah Jongg player Lynda Dean said she moved to Lake Charles a few years ago knowing no one except her daughter.
“You get stuck inside because you don’t know anybody,” but upon finding the Bridge Club she said, “You get addicted to this game and these women!”
Reynolds said that in her journey with mental health struggles, Mah Jongg has been pivotal in her health management and improvement.
“It’s been the best thing ever. It’s brightening my mood considerably and it’s something I look forward to. It gets me out of the house and gives me a camaraderie you just can’t find. I’ve embraced the game.”
Anyone with an interest in the game should visit, learn more and participate in the game, encouraged Reynolds.
“I’ve always wanted to learn … Something deep inside of me was always interested and at 60 years old I learned how to play.” She added that the game appeals to people from all demographics.
“Men think often think it’s a lady’s game but it’s really not — especially when you get into the brain part of it … I play with 80- and 90-year-olds, too, and they’re the sharpest ones there!”
The Lake Charles Bridge Club offers Mah Jongg play on Mondays from 1:15 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. For more information on the local game or for lessons, contact Gloria Bello ator the Lake Charles Bridge Club at 479-2582.
‘From the minute you sit down, it’s total brain exercise.’
Seven-year Mah Jongg player
Mah Jongg is a four-person game played with a set of 144 tiles based on Chinese characters and symbols.
The Lake Charles Bridge Club, 1600 W. McNeese St., will host a Mah Jongg tournament 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 16. For more information on tournament or for lessons, contact Gloria Bellow ator the Lake Charles Bridge Club at 479-2582.