Luca! Luca! Luca!
- Published on Monday, 05 July 2010 17:00
- Written by Martin Rep
I have three reasons to hate Luca Gavelli.
First of all, he is much more handsome than me. His looks make a girl’s heart meld, and there must be many Italian mahjong ladies who have his picture in their purses.
He is also such a nice guy. We always have a short chat when we meet, and he answers my broken Italian in a much better English.
And last but not least, he is number one in the EMA MCR Ranking, while you have to go down to number 164 or something if you want to find my name (but why would you? See reason number 1.)
The biggest problem with Luca is that Luca has been number one for such a long time.
In the very beginning of the EMA MCR Ranking, back in 2005, I think there must have been another leader of the ranking. I have kept no records of that; might have been Jan Thomassetti from Belgium, or Anders Labich from Denmark. But after that? Each and every new ranking which is presented on the EMA and the Mahjong News websites: Number 1: Luca Gavelli.
No doubt about it - Luca is a terrific player. He ended on sixth position in the first OEMC in Holland, with only four Japanese and one Dane before him. In the second OEMC, in Denmark, he was number 12. In the third OEMC, Baden 2009: third position. Bravo, Luca!
But it is just like Lance Armstrong controlling the Tour de France: it is all so predictable. If, like Luca, you do not play too many tournaments, (and you are a strong player of course), than you can control the ranking for many years.
Look at it the other way. Luca has the highest average of all the 441 players who are listed: 931,07. That’s a great result (1000 is the highest, 0 the lowest possible figure). But behind his name, there are just 6 tournaments. That’s not many, although it is even more than French Pascal Balorin, who holds the runner-up position with an average of 849,65 and 5 tournaments. Anders Labich on position 3 played just 8 tournaments; his average is 822,5.
But then, on number 4: Eveline Broers from Holland. Her average: 817,98, which is fantastic since she played in 17 tournaments. And Otto Myslivec from Austria, who holds the 8th position: he played in 21 tournaments (in three of which he got the first prize), with an average of 777,38.
Now let’s take another ranking. Each year, Alexander Doppelhofer from Austria calculates who was the best player of the past year. First in MCR and, recently, also in Riichi mahjong. Alexander uses only the results of the tournaments in a given year. According to 'Doppelhofers List 2009', Bo Lang from Switzerland was the best player (no wonder, she was the runner-up in the OEMC at Baden). In the EMA Ranking, she holds just 7th position (still a terrific average: 805,12; which is even better when you know she played in 17 competitions, almost three times as many as Luca did.) By the way, in Dopperhofers List, Luca still has an outstanding number 3 position. But the number 2 is quite surprising: Angela Nyulasiné Lakos from Hungary - the current number 28 in the EMA Ranking, with an average of 692,34 (and 10 tournaments).
Less is better
So, I jump to a conclusion: the less tournaments you play, the better your position in the EMA Ranking. Luca is an outstanding player, but we do not see him often. That is a smart decision, so he can be the leader for a long, long time.
That’s not his fault. But EMA should think out a new system, which is a bit more encouraging for players to subscribe to more mahjong tournaments. After all, that’s one of the most important goals of the association - having the game played.
Oh yes, and I do not hate Luca Gavelli at all. Of course not. I just wanted you to read this column until the end. Apparently, I have succeeded. Thank you for that - and Luca: scusami… Sei un vero campionissimo!