Reaching for Hanover 2010
- Published on Friday, 01 January 2010 00:00
- Written by Martin Rep
HANOVER - The Japanese are coming! As are the Dutch, the Germans, the Danes - and even the Americans.
Ilka Stummeyer - together with her countryman Björn Schulz, she is the main organizer of the European Riichi Mahjong Championship 2010 - is overwhelmed by all the positive feedback she gets in the build-up to the event. She has had to decline a number of requests from countries who wanted a larger delegation, or from countries who are not qualified to send players to the EC.
Amongst the latter are Poland (where only recently a mahjong association has been initialized) and the UK (where the number of interested players by far outnumber the available seats).
“We have had a request to increase the number of players”, says Ilka. “But that is impossible. Just eighty people can play in the Hanover Jazz Club. If we would have to move to another venue, we would have exploding cost.” Ilka is happy to be a member of the board of the jazz club, which means she can hire the location for quite a reasonable price.
The interest for riichi mahjong is growing at fast pace. In at least four EMA member-countries, a hard qualification is fought out: in Austria, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands.
Ilka: “Hoping for some spare seats, I contacted all countries that sent players to the first ECR. According to what I got back from them, they all will send as many players as their limits allow. Even the US will be represented again. Jenn Barr and Garthe Nelson already confirmed that they plan to come. And the last US seat will go to a newy founded MJ association in New York, the US Professional Mahjong League.”
It means that in Japan there is great interest in the event. The Japanese are entitled to send six players. But Garthe and Jenn also live there. It is not known yet if Benjamin Boas, another ‘Japanese American’, will be able to make it to Hanover.