UK Mahjong Association

UK Mahjong Association


1st UK Online Riichi Tournament - 2020

The 1st UK Online Tournament was held over the weekend of 12th and 13th December 2020 on the Mahjong Time platform. We had 88 players at the outset with the vast majority keeping to the agreement to play all 8 rounds; we received very good support and prizes from the Mahjong Time administrators, and the tournament ran very smoothly.

Eight hanchan of two rounds each were played, with 60 minutes allowed per hanchan and 8 seconds for a discard. The hanchan came thick and fast and there was little time to “fill one’s glass”, but most people seemed to think that it was fun despite some minor scoring discrepancies. We were able to give Mahjong Time face-to-face feedback from comments received, and the platform will be implementing improvements as a matter of priority in the New Year to further enhance the experience.

Many congratulations go to the six winners of the prizes :-

We would like to thank everyone who participated and completed all 8 hanchan for their support, and well played to everyone.

We are considering running at least one more online tournament next year, and the Dutch federation are organizing a similar Open tournament for 16th and 17th January, so look out for details of future events.

Posted: 19th Dec 2020

2020 Online Tournament

Just when you thought all hope was lost. Yes - there will be a UK Riichi Championship in 2020!

It will necessarily be on-line, of course, but with a generous prize list, virtually free entry, the chance to compete in a tournament setting again at long last, not to mention national glory, and trophies for the winners too - "What's not to like?"

When? - The weekend of 12/13 December 2020. Mark the date in your diary. We hope to offer full details within a few days on our website (and yes, we will send you a further reminder when those details are available there).

We are looking to achieve a record turnout of UK riichi players, together with the participation of many of our European friends and associates too.

For full details please visit the tournament web page here.

Posted: 26th Oct 2020

2020 Tournament News

The 2020 tournament season gets underway with the Cambridge Open Riichi Tournament on 25/26th April which will be held at the Trumpington Village Hall (just outside Cambridge).

For full details please visit the tournament website here.

Looking further ahead, the UK Riichi Open will take place on 11/12th July at the Guildford RFC. Following the success of previous years we will also be holding an MCR tournament on the Friday (10th July).

For full details please visit the tournament website here.

Posted: 26th Jan 2020

UKMA AGM - March 7th 2020

The UKMA AGM will be held at The Seahorse public house in Shalford, Surrey on Saturday March 7th. The AGM will start at 2pm. Everyone is welcome to attend. If you do plan to attend please let us know so we can reserve enough space.

Posted: 25th Jan 2020

10th UK Open Riichi Tournament - 2019

Nine different countries were represented in the 2019 riichi tournament. Once again there was a tale of local success when Paola Bungaro ultimately secured a convincing victory – her second tournament win in twelve months.

After seven hard fought rounds, there were realistically just five main contenders for the title, and as the draw had fallen, four of them were paired up in the final round. In the key pairing Paola, the tournament leader, was paired with her nearest competitor Francesca Battaglini with just a handful of points separating them. Beating Francesa into second place at the table by a margin of nearly 47,000 points at that final table secured her victory, while Francesca still retained her second place overall.

In the other pairing, Joel Ratsimandresy and Hong Li neutralized each other - taking 2nd and 3rd places at their final table, allowing Martin Lester to consolidate third place with his own good win in the final round.

Full results are available on the Results page.

Posted: 25th Aug 2019

2nd UK Open MCR Tournament - 2019

The MCR rule set, although the most widely supported rule set throughout Europe, is still in its infancy in the UK. This curtain raiser to the UK’s weekend ‘mahjongfest’ attracted a strong field of European entrants with many of the players highly ranked in the EMA ranking system.

It is therefore pleasing to report not only that the intrepid band of emerging UK players not only held their own overall, but that a first British tournament win was achieved by John Duckworth, renowned riichi player, but relative newcomer to the MCR scene. He pipped another local player, Ian Fraser, into 2nd place by just one table point, with Judith Ravel from France one point further behind in 3rd place.

Full results are available on the Results page.

Posted: 25th Aug 2019

5th European Riichi Championship 21-23 June 2019

The following players have accepted their nominations to take up the restricted number of places available to UK participants in this championship:

Philip Bielby, Paola Bungaro, David Clarke, Michael Donaghy, John Duckworth, Nick Dyer, Tony Haley, Martin Lester and Gemma Sakamoto.

Seasoned and successful tournament players all, we both congratulate them on their selection and wish them every success as our representatives in the event. A mere eleven years since the first trio of intrepid Brits engaged in the first such championship in 2008 (appearing under a ‘Rest of the World’ flag at that time!) the breadth and strength in depth of this year’s contingent is testimony to the growth and development of the game in the UK.

Could now be time to celebrate our first European champion?

Posted: 8th Mar 2019

Diary date for 2019 UKMA AGM

The date for the UKMA AGM has been set for Saturday 16th March 2019. Please contact us if you would like more details.

Posted: 12th Feb 2019

2019 Tournament News

The 2019 tournament season gets underway with an inaugural event - Riichi Twickenham on 13/14 April to be held at the excellent facilities of the Richmond Bridge Club. Entry via the tournament website will shortly be available.

Looking further ahead, the UK Riichi Open will take place on 27/28 July. We have once again secured the Guildford RFC premises in Godalming for this event now in its 10th iteration, and hope to mark this milestone anniversary in style. Following the success of holding a curtain raiser MCR tournament - the first ever in Britain - the riichi event will be preceded by a further opportunity for the small but growing UK MCR community to test its skills against European competition in a one day Hors d'oeuvres MCR competition.

Ideally, a third MERS rated riichi tournament (the maximum allowed for MERS recognition by the European Mahjong Association) could be held in the Autumn of 2019. An invitation is extended to potential organisers to submit outline proposals to UKMA for such an event.

Posted: 28th Jan 2019

5th European Riichi Championship 21-23 June 2019

Most tournament players will be aware that the 5th European Championship will be held in June 2019 in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands. All applications to participate, as in previous championships, are to be made via national associations. There is no facility for direct entry to this tournament. UK is fortunate to have many strong players capable of representing it in this event, and in the first instance the UK Committee has contacted those players with a consistent record of successful participation in both UK and other European tournaments over recent years in order to establish at an early stage who is available for selection. The initial allocation of seats is expected to be published by EMA early in the New Year.

Posted: 2nd Dec 2018

The North London Riichi Open

The first North London mahjong tournament was held in Cheshunt on 3rd and 4th November. Masterminded by Michael Donaghy, and with the assistance of some willing helpers, the tournament was a great success and attracted 36 players from 7 countries and all parts of the UK (including the Shetlands!).

The location was the Lee Valley YMCA which provided an excellent playing room, and a very good location with on site accommodation, and good communications – the coffee and wine were good too!

The pattern of the tournament was set very early on with Aidan Robison scoring 76200 on the very first Hanchan, and Russell Chan 2nd at that stage with 50000. These two, along with Anthony EA, were near the top of the rankings throughout, and it was Aidan who emerged triumphant after the 8 hanchans with a total score of 143000, followed by Russell (who won 5 of his tables) with 129000 and Anthony with 114400. It was very pleasing to see that the only other player with a score over 100000 was Tom Wood who has been supporting the UK tournaments (travelling from Manchester) since he was in short trousers!

It is also pleasing to see that there is a growing number of players around the North London area, and it is to be hoped that we shall see a 2nd North London tournament shortly – perhaps even in 2019.

Posted: 24th Oct 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 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 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