Representatives from seven countries, including the UK, foregathered to celebrate one of the first ranked tournaments in Europe since the onset of the Covid19 pandemic, in this eleventh iteration of the UK Riichi Open series. Many old acquaintanceships were renewed, whilst a handful of players were making their baptism in face-to-face tournament play.
One such debutant, albeit a well-experience online player was Ronan White, a graduate of Surrey University and the Guildford Club, from those few fallow years ago, who achieved positive scores in seven of the eight rounds played, including four table wins to claim second place overall. He held off a concerted challenge from the returning Duy Le, who also finished well to claim third spot from another debutant, Anton Chekanov, who himself had looked odds on for a podium spot until the final round.
No-one however could seriously challenge regular competitor in the UK event Andy Mathew. Four wins, three second places and one third will usually put a player in contention for a top spot, but when he scored +93,000 in the sixth round, the real question became ‘who would be finishing second?’. He would later describe it as the best run of good fortune he had ever known – or anyone else had known, one would imagine.
The award for the best aggregate score on Day Two of the competition, designed to encourage those whose luck has been less good than the winner’s (!) went to Alex Leung from France, and consolation prizes were awarded to the players who had the lowest score overall, and the misfortune of paying out a Yakuman!
It was a good day for the Brits (which it needed to be after the French domination of the previous day’s MCR event) taking even more of the top positions than their statistical dominance in the entry would suggest, including all three podium places.