Mah Jongg In Error with a Partial Exposure (Article ID 55)
Abstract: If a player declares mah jongg, exposes tiles, then realizes they are not actually ready to win, the hand is dead.
Question from a player: I picked a tile and declared mah jongg. I placed the tile on my rack along with two tiles from my rack. I then realized I did not have mah jongg. Can I change my mind regarding mah jongg or is my hand dead?
Answer from the NMJL: “If a player declares mah jongg in error and exposes part or all of their hand and all other hands are intact, the game continues, but the declarer’s hand is “dead “
Source: Mah Jongg Made Easy (2020 page 16 #3 [a]), page 17 #4 [a]
Other answers from the NMJL:
“If a player calls Mah Jongg in error and exposes part or all of the hand and all other hands are intact, the game continues but the declarer’s hand is “dead,” and all tiles are returned to the rack. A Mah Jongg hand “intact” means that a player has not exposed any tiles from their hand, other than the tiles that had been called for an exposure before the player had declared Mah Jongg in error. The same penalty applies for calling a discard and making an incorrect exposure. “Dead” hand discontinues play, does not pick and discard and pays winner full value of hand.”
“Your hand is not dead if you can use the discard for a valid exposure and continue playing. The hand would only be dead if you proceeded to expose tiles that were not part of a valid mah jongg. When the card refers to mah jongg in error, it means the player has displayed an incorrect mah jongg but has realized the mistake and states the fact that they do not have mah jongg.”
Source for other answers: National Mah Jongg League Bulletin Q&A 2020 https://www.nationalmahjonggleague.org