An American in Hanover
- Published on Thursday, 07 January 2010 16:06
- Written by Staff
NEW YORK - A riichi mahjong club in New York - that is just about as rare as a piste de petanque in Tokyo, or a skating rink in the Sahara desert. Not that Americans don’t play mahjong - the National Mah-Jongg League is the largest of its kind in the world, with over 300,000 members. But - that’s mah, and mah, according to many mahjong players, is a far cry from the real game.
So it’s quite remarkable if there appears to be a riichi mahjong group in New York, which will send a player to the European Riichi Mahjong Championship, coming summer in Hanover, Germany.
The Americans chose a rather sonorous name for their club: the US Professional Mahjong League. According to its president, David Bresnick, the ‘Pro’s’ consist of some ten core players in the NYC area. Most of them have played for a couple of years. “However”, says David, “it's only during the past six months or so that we've made the decision to move from a casual play group to a more serious league-style organization.”
To this end, they have been working on preparing the necessary foundations: event locations, ranking rules, official documentation and the like. David: “We are currently on-track to start holding official events this month and starting to work on bolstering our numbers, we expect to at least double in size by June of the coming year. We're all feeling very positive about our ability to build a strong foundation here in NYC.”
David is extremely happy that the Pro’s are entitled to send a delegate to the EC Riichi 2010. “It is a very exciting prospect, and we'd definitely be pleased to send someone. it seems that we've qualified for Hanover due to a stroke of good luck - an unexpectedly empty seat coupled with the fortuitous timing of our debut. However, we're going to be taking the Championship very seriously. We are planning a tournament sometime in February or March to determine whom we'll be sending, and the lucky player will no doubt be treated to merciless practice sessions.”
David: “Currently, our focus is the NYC area, so our operations are going to be centered around building up a solid playerbase there. In the long-term, our goal is to establish a strong riichi community within the United States both for competitive and casual play. I feel that the game speaks for itself, and with a good support framework in place to educate people we'll find no shortage of interested players.”
The club has been asked to take care of a weekly column at ReachMahjong.Com. By now, its first contribution has been published there.
Website of the US Pro Mahjong League