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Did you know just how good a workout for the brain Mahjong is ? Like Chess, it is a complex game of strategy. The object of the game is to build complete suits (usually in 3s) from 13 tiles on a tray. The winning tile completes the players set of 14 – the player goes ‘Mahjong!’ According to sharpbrains.com, memory skills are enhanced and the mind is kept sharp.

It has been found to preserve brain function and delay decline in older individuals with dementia, even those with significant cognitive impairment.
Mahjong requires attention, memory, planning and calculation skills – and a certain amount of luck! Researchers from the City University of Hong Kong studied the effects on 62 people who already had mild or moderate dementia. Results showed that when people play Mahjong they ‘gain in all cognitive measures’. The effects lasted even after not playing for a month.
Mahjong provides a very good social outlet too. Socialization is important to people in their third age according to the Foundation for Senior Living. It is a friendly social activity worth taking up for pure enjoyment.

The ‘game of intelligence’ can be a difficult game to learn and master, but once you do your ability to excel in the game is limitless according to the University of Maryland.
Why not start a Mahjong Group in your U3A? The booklet available on the U3A website has ‘step by step’ instructions on how to play. All you need is a set of tiles.

Additional Information
The traditional Chinese game was banned in its homeland in 1949 when People’s Republic of China founded. The game was imported to America in 1920s and took on a number of trademark names e.g. Pung Chow or ‘The Game of Thousand Intelligences’.