Sunday 25 September 2016

Austria wants next European Riichi Championship, ‘for Europeans only’

austriariichiteam08VIENNA - Austria may very well organize a second European mahjong championship. In 2009, the OEMC (Mahjong Competition Rules) was organized at Baden (near Vienna). Now the Vienna club Kasu has submitted a request at the European Mahjong Association to organize the European Riichi Mahjong Championship 2012. EMA has yet to decide about the application.

Kasu, the Vienna riichi club, has some pronounced ideas about the EC Riichi 2012, ‘to improve the game experience’, says its spokesman Raphael Hobbiger. One proposition is that, apart from a Japanese team, only European players will be admitted.

The contest would be a team contest. Each country will send a team of five players to Vienna. If a country can not send a full team, it can offer the seats to other countries. Hobbiger: “This means we will combine teams of various countries if they do not have enough players. These teams would be called ‘international teams’. Therefore, the tournament will be more an international contest than an individual fight.”

Kasu is aware that most EMA member-countries do not have any riichi players at all, while other countries, such as Denmark, Holland and Great-Britain, have quite a lot. Raphael Hobbiger: “The details are to be filled in later. Anyway, we aim at the same number of players as the previous EC’s: eighty.”

According to Kasu, there would be two kinds of assessments: team and individual. “Of course after the event, the personal scores will be submitted to the EMA ranking.”


Europe has a huge variety of riichi players and the Austrians think that now is the time to make it a real European competition. So, only European countries would be allowed to send players, with one exception: Japan. This exception will be made since riichi mahjong originates from Japan. “Japan would be a great enrichment for all players and we have still things to learn.”

If EMA agrees with that proposal, then some illustrious riichi players as Jenn Barr and Garthe Nelson (Americans who live in Japan) and Ma Yongliang (Chinese riichi player), just as David Bresnick (number 3 at the last ECR), will not be admitted to ‘Vienna 2012’.


For keeping scores, Kasu Austria would change the system to a more Japanese way. Therefore, at the beginning of the game each player gets 25,000 points in chips and after each round the players exchange the proper value of chips. If someone loses all of them, the game is over. At the end of the game, each player counts his chips and the values will be filled out on the score sheet.

This way, the games will be more thrilling and become faster with no rechecking each time if the values are still correct, says Kasu. EMA will decide about the application in the coming weeks.

Comments (7)Comments are closed
1Monday, 13 September 2010 04:02
Christopher Rowe
I think this is a really good idea, and I love the concept of a proper European Championships with national teams (and it opens up the concept of some sort of mahjong World Cup, which would be amazing).

I think the main issue wouldn't be for the tournament itself, but for participants and wannabe participants, specifically with deciding who will feature the national teams.

For countries which do not have enough players, I presume things would be fairly straightforward, and whoever wants to compete will be able to. However, for oversubscribed countries, how will they decide the teams? The UK at least doesn't really have anything resembling a domestic league, or regular tournaments, so how would the top five UK players be judged? Most of the players are spread out, and can't play each other regularly to really judge skill, so how would you judge who should represent the team for Great Britain with so little data? It could go on the UK Open results, but that's just a single tournament and wouldn't be a fair reflection of skill. It could go on EMA rankings, but there are mostly likely skilled players in the UK who don't have the money and/or free time to travel to all the EMA ranked matches on the continent, but who would most likely make the effort for the European Championships.

I think it's a really good idea, and it could be a really good team tournament, but I think it's a bit too early in the development of the game to start breaking teams up by nationality. I know for example that the Cambridge University society could probably send a fairly strong team of five players, and that's just one group of players within the UK. When you've got such an uneven distribution of players across countries, it doesn't make sense to go for national teams just yet.
2Monday, 13 September 2010 06:54
Mark Chizhenok
I made this point on the EMA Board and I repeat it here: it is totally wrong and discriminating approach to selectively invite non-European countries, and such approach should not be approved by EMA.

There are also other issues which contradict with EMA riichi rules.
3Monday, 13 September 2010 10:57
Adrie van Geffen
I always highly valued the 'O' in 'OEMC'. One of the biggest attractions. As far as I know all local tournaments have been OPEN until now. It's out of this day and age to exclude people. This is a very unhealthy line of thinking in a globalising society. Not premature, but never to come to effect. I strongly suggest to EMA to not only put this idea in the waste bin but also to make a stand against ideas of the like in the future.
4Monday, 13 September 2010 11:14
Robert Rijnders
The proposal is not official, as it was not endorsed by the Austrian 'Verband'. Given that fact, we (EMA) will not officially comment on the ideas put forward, but it is clear that it would not pass without a good discussion. So, feel free to comment to this article :-)
5Monday, 13 September 2010 14:09
Gertjan Davies
I'm not saying that the level of the European player is sub-par compared that to the Asian players (or maybe better said the better part of the sent players), but why would you exclude on average high level players?

Isn't that the point of an European or World Championship, getting games of at least a decent level on a global scale (besides bringing in new blood and other playing styles and ideas)?

The only logical reason would be that this way you always get an European Champion, but why would the Japanese be allowed to compete? Because Riichi originated there? That's one very weak reason to exclude the rest. Shouldn't the Chinese be allowed too, Mahjong itself originated there? Or maybe African players (if there are any), since the humankind has it roots there?

I hope to continue the streak of competing at every EC's (both MCR as Riichi) till date, but exclusion of players (based on ridicolous reasons) would be a dealbreaker for me.
6Monday, 13 September 2010 18:35
Tom Sloper
The question is, what problem does it solve? If there are too many player applications for every event, then yes, institute classifications or categorizations, with separate events for each. Regionals, male/female, junior/senior, heavyweight/lightweight events. When's the heavyweight senior male USA western open happening
7Thursday, 16 September 2010 11:19
martin scheichenbauer
MJ-Austria does not know about this tournament. :-)
Greetings to all...
Martin Scheichenbauer
Director of the Austrian MJ-Assoc.
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