UK Mahjong Association

UK Mahjong Association

News

The North London Riichi Open

Applications are filling up rapidly for the third, yes third, UK based tournament of the year. Application is encouraged but cannot be guaranteed after September 30th. Click here for full details.

Posted: 24th Sept 2018

‘Mr & Mrs’ success in Spain’s inaugural Riichi Open

Evidence of the growing strength of the UK’s riichi playing community was on clear display in Valencia over the weekend of 15/16 September where Nick Dyer took second place over the classic eight round event. Nick occupied a ‘podium’ spot throughout most of the tournament and was only pipped in the last two rounds by Paola Bungaro (a.k.a. Mrs Paola Dyer) in the final two rounds.

In round seven, Paola successfully brought home the rarely seen 13 sided wait for Thirteen Orphans hand (Kokoshimusou) which helped propel her into a significant lead, which she resolutely defended in the final hanchan.

This is the first time we have heard of a married couple (or even a not married couple) walking off with the top prizes in any tournament.

Unofficial sources quote Mr. Dyer as being ‘quite pleased’ with his second place!

Posted: 21st Sept 2018

9th UK Open Riichi Championship - 2018

This year’s tournament attracted the largest and most widespread support in the history of the event with four dozen domestically based players and twenty from overseas taking part. It was particularly pleasing to note that there were more British players alone than have played in any previous event.as well as the largest representation to date of players from elsewhere in Europe.

Scoring was strong although not always in a positive direction. There were 11 chombos throughout the event, which may well be another (unwelcome) record. On the plus side in round 2 Koken Takeda scored a yakuman for Big Dragons (Daisangen). Jason He also collected a Suu Ankou yakuman at the event but unfortunately it occurred during social play after a hanchan had finished. Timing is everything Jason! One experienced player is believed to have missed a scoring feature on one hand that may well have secured a podium place if it had been spotted by any of the players at the table. More haste less speed Philip.

The player who amassed the most points at the tournament was Oliver Burrows. Sadly, however, the minus sign before the number accentuated Oliver’s 4 chombos, which he accepted with good grace and sportsmanship. The event was played in a good spirit, perhaps too much at times as the floor did became a little noisy during play occasionally.

The British entrants provided eight of the top ten finishers, only Martijn Klaar (Netherlands) in second place and Isabelle Marsac (France) preventing a domestic clean sweep. In an excitingly close finish, long-term supporter of the competition, Sonia Yagi, held on to win by a fine margin in the final round.

Full results are available on the Results page.

Posted: 25th Aug 2018

Inaugural UK Open MCR Championship - 2018

As a curtain raiser to this year’s UK Open Riichi tournament, the first ever MCR rules tournament in the United Kingdom was held on 3rd August, attracting not only the small number of local enthusiasts, but also a significant group of overseas visitors from six different countries.

MCR is typically played with a more stringent discipline than in Riichi and this was evident in the way some of the inexperienced home players adapted to the rules, i.e., the hard way! Nevertheless, the tournament was played in good spirit and local understanding of this variant has increased enormously. It was interesting to see some Riichi players observing play during the latter stages of the tournament. Luc Humbert achieved the highest score available of 88 points for a single scoring feature when he collected big dragons in the first round. Sandra Berthommier won the prize for the highest score from a single deal with 120 points.

The large majority of the UK players were playing in their first MCR tournament. While there were therefore no great expectations of a home win, Andy Mathew, one of the MCR ‘virgins’ secured a creditable third place behind President of the European Mahjong Association, Luc Humbert, and the winner from Spain, Raul Rios Navarro.

Full results are available on the Results page.

Posted: 25th Aug 2018

6th Open European Championship OEMC (MCR) – Povoa de Varzim. Portugal

Although relatively little competitive Mahjong Competition Rules style mahjong (MCR) is played in UK, a small group led by John Duckworth has been playing for the past 12 months or so, and he has blazed a trail in a number of events on the European mainland. Two representatives from UK attended the 6th European MCR Championship in Povoa de Varzim. Congratulations to John (once again), playing in his first European Championship he finished a highly creditable 18th of 240 competitors. Not bad for a relative ‘beginner’!

Posted: 20th June 2017

8th UK Riichi Open 2017

The website is now open for registration for the eighth UK Riichi Open which will take place in Godalming, Surrey on August 12th - 13th. Following the successes of last year’s UK Open tournament in Cambridge, and the successful staging of the European event we hope that more of our home grown riichi players will be looking to renew their rivalry in this popular event, along with the usual sprinkling of European and other overseas entrants.

Full details are available on the dedicated tournament website http://ukrc2017.com/ where players can enrol for the event.

Posted: 1st Apr 2017

The Mahjong News European Riichi Mahjong Championship 2016

The UKMA hosted the 4th running of this event at The Maltings in Farnham, Surrey over the 3 days of 7th - 9th October 2016. Farnham proved to be a very hospital and popular location with the visitors, and The Maltings proved itself to be an excellent venue for this major event. The UKMA benefitted from the support of a number of generous sponsors including Farnham Town Council with the Mayor giving the opening address.

This prestigious Championship attracted the best players from Europe (plus a number of important guests from the ROW); most of whom had to qualify though previous recent performances. This was the biggest Championship to date with128 players from 21 countries keen to prove that they deserved to be there, and to do their best for themselves and their country.

The format was innovative in that the aggregate scores from the first 10 hanchan defined in which of 8 “Divisions” each player was to play the final 2 hanchan, so that the highest 16 scoring players played in Division 1 to decide who finished in positions 1-16, and so on. After the first 10 hanchan, UK players were scattered throughout the Divisions, with two playing in Division 1 – Daina Chiba eventually finished 8th and Yixuan Liu (who gained a very late wildcard seat in the Championship by virtue of a late withdrawal and her win at the last UK Championship) finishing a creditable 14th. John Duckworth again finished towards the top of a major tournament by finishing 2nd in Division 2 and therefore 18th overall.

However, the European Riichi Champion for 2016 is Mikhail Lugovkin of Russia, who finished very strongly to overtake Désirée Heemskerk of Holland who had led for much of the tournament; Mateusz Wozniak of Poland finished 3rd. Mikhail gave a generous speech of thanks to everyone involved.

The feedback about the quality of the tournament – particularly the location, the format, the scoring program and the friendliness – has been very positive and heartening.

Posted: 6th Nov 2016

UK success in Warsaw

The 8th certified Polish Riichi tournament held in Warsaw, 21-22 November 2015 produced a British winner. From 2nd place with one hanchan to play Michael Donaghy racked up 103,000 points in the final round to win by a staggering 109,400 points.

The second British entrant John Duckworth finished 6th after an indifferent 2nd day to make it a strong return overall for the British contingent.

There was stiff competition from the three Slovakian players who finished 2nd, 3rd and 7th. Polish players Mateusz Wozniak (European no. 2) and Bartosz Zuk (European no. 25) finished 4th and 5th respectively.

The event was held at the Asia and Pacific Museum just a short bus/tram ride from the city centre. Free chocolate was provided to all participants! A social evening was arranged after the first day’s play at Solec 44, a nearby hostelry. Dubbed a ‘fusion’ restaurant various Polish dishes and a wide range of beverages were available. Participants played social Mahjong, table football and enjoyed each other’s’ company over food, beer and wine.

Posted: 7th December 2015

Further UK Riichi Success

After the opening Riichi tournaments of 2015 the UK has moved a further position up the ranking list into third place behind Russia and Denmark, and narrowly (but pleasingly) ahead of Austria, courtesy of some excellent performances by UK players.

In the Graz Open, the UK duo of Martin Lester and Philip Bielby finished 7th and 9th respectively in a strong field which included several of the top European players. The winner was Henrik Leith (DK), with Alexander Doppelhoffer (A) as runner up and EMA President, Tina Christensen (also DK) in 3rd.

In May, Daina Chiba who finished second in the 2014 UK Open, took 3rd place in the Aachen tournament. Daina has only played in these two tournaments so far, and so, like Shaun Drury (presently ranked No.4 in the UK) his personal ranking is only likely to improve when his next tournament results are known.

A full description of the system of ranking is available on the EMA website, but to simplify it down to its essentials the system works (narratively) as follows. By winning a tournament, a player gains 1000 points which progressively reduces down the field to award 0 points for last place. An individual’s points ranking is a combination of the average points earned in the qualifying period in all the MERS ranked tournaments a player has played, and the three best results each player has achieved in that same period. A weighting is applied to make bigger/longer/more important competitions be reflected more strongly. It is a dynamic system whereby points earned atrophy by 1/3 per year for three years, after which time old results, however good or bad, count for nothing. Country rankings are arrived at by balancing the average rating of all players in that country and the rating of their top three players.

However, it is always assumed that a player has played in at least five tournaments to achieve their points tally. So the good news for Daina and Shaun (and maybe UK too) is that despite having played only two and three qualifying tournaments respectively, their individual ratings are presently artificially low.

Posted: 22nd May 2015

UK Moves Up the Rankings

The European Mahjong Association maintains a ranking list of players of both MCR and Riichi, based on their performances in major tournaments. Just like the world golf and tennis rankings this ranking list is fluid as older results fall away to be replaced by more recent ones.

Despite being a relative newcomer to the European Mahjong scene, at the latest issue of the Riichi rankings, UK is rated 4th among the European countries based on its players’ performances, behind Denmark, Russia and Germany, but ahead of much more established countries such as France and Netherlands.

A major contributor to the UK’s progress is Philip Bielby whose spectacular record to date shows two outright wins and two second places in just six tournaments, elevating him to Europe’s currently No. 3 rated player.

Pride of place among the UK players’ achievements of recent time however goes to John Duckworth, the Guildford based player. John was one of seven UK competitors in the World Riichi Championship recently held in Paris which was organised on a round robin basis initially, followed by a knockout stage contested by the top 32 players. John was one of nine European players to reach this stage of the competition but one of only two to progress to the quarter-final (16). John went on to contest the semi-final stage along with seven Japanese professionals, narrowly missing out on a place in the final was eventually won by Yamai Hiroshi. Both the semi-finals and final featured live on Japanese TV.

Asked about what he learned from the event, John said, “Playing in such a prestigious tournament was a terrific learning experience. The strategies deployed by international competitors’, etiquette and even scoring competencies were a real eye-opener for me. I found that I had to learn and copy some of the methods in order to keep up. One feature in particular is that at this level other players do not wait for you to sort your tiles from the deal. East discards at the earliest opportunity and if you want the tile you’ve got to be quick or the opportunity has gone. It was quite common for North to sort their tiles and then look at the table to find 3 discards already down!”

It just goes to show that the old adage applies to Riichi too – “a fast game is a good game” (and vice versa).

Posted: 23rd March 2015