Local News

How mah-jong games are bringing people together and fostering connections

It’s a simple and social game that’s connecting people to one another.

Mah-jong is a 200-year-old Chinese tile game that’s making a comeback and growing in Montreal.

“The thing about mah-jong is it has so many benefits, especially as we age: it helps slow down dementia, it helps with hand-eye co-ordination, it helps with patience,” said Shafrit Baum, an American mah-jong instructor, also known as Little Miss Mahjong.

Baum has been on a mission to help spread her knowledge of the game.

She teaches privately and through community classes all over the Greater Montreal area, including at the Dollard-des-Ormeaux (DDO) seniors club on the West Island.

Breaking news from Canada and around the world
sent to your email, as it happens.

“It’s good for my brain, it’s good for socializing and I made so many friends during these classes and games,” said Yaffa Ritter, a member of the DDO seniors club.

Typically played by four people, players draw and discard tiles as they compete to be the first to collect a winning hand.

Members of the club first started to learn about the game last year, and by popular demand, many now meet twice a week for open play.

“We started with maybe 10 players and now we’re up to 30 players on Wednesdays and Fridays,” said Caroline St-Jean Lalande, program co-ordinator at the DDO seniors club. “Now they’re asking to be 40 people, we’re even buying new sets of mah-jong, because we don’t have enough for the players.”

Players say what they love the most about the game is that it’s exciting and keeps them on their toes.

The game involves strategy, but to win, you also need a bit of luck.

“Look, you don’t play any game to lose, you go out to win, but we’re friends, so when my friend makes a mah-jong, I’m happy for her,” Debbie Litvrack said.

&copy 2024 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *