|Although the game Mah Jongg as it is generally played today can only be traced back to the end of the last century, the line of games that evolved to Mah Jongg is long and extensive. From around 800 AD card games were played which resembled the way Mah Jongg is played, in the fact that you have to collect Chows, Pungs and Kongs. The cards used in these games resembled the money used in those days.
It was not before the turn of this century until the West got a glimpse of Mah Jongg, when it was introduced in the international colony of Shanghai and from then onwards in the USA, Japan and finally Europe. When it was introduced in the West, it was claimed that it's origins were shrouded in the mists of time, but most evidence seems to point to the game being developed in the late 1800's in the Ningpo area of China. Most books on Mah Jongg published early this century confirm this. During those first years after its introduction a real craze developed around Mah Jongg, but like all fashions it came and went. However, recently a growing number of people are realizing the intellectual challenge Mah Jongg poses and the beauty and excitement of the game itself, indeed this growing trend has been explored in a recent article that appeared in The Wall Street Journal on the 8th September 1997.