Tuesday 27 September 2016

Less interest in MCR tournaments?

OEMC2005AMSTERDAM - Halfway the year 2011 the Mahjong News editors had the impression that the numbers of participants of tournaments were decreasing. Now that the last MCR tournament of 2011 with a MERS rating has been played (the White Dragon Tournament at Dunáujváros, Hungary), Mahjong News thought it was time to dig into the data.

The figures in this article are based on the excellent EMA website. We started with the first OEMC held in Nijmegen, the Netherlands in 2005 up till the 107th tournament held in Hungary in December 2011.





Over the years, both the number of tournaments as the number of participants increased - up to 2011. While two more tournaments were played, there were just over 100 less participants than the year before, a decline of about 7%.

Mahjong News had the impression that the decrease of participants originated in less interest to pass country borders, but the stats prove that local players (from the same country where the tournament is held) also show less interest.


There can be numerous reasons for this decrease. Not only the expense - participating in a mahjong tournament can be costly - but also the feeling of ‘been there, done that’ has been expressed, and at the same time new faces in the mahjong world are not as eager to join tournaments as the pioneers. Moreover, the tournaments in the Netherlands - and in Holland, there are quite a few mahjong players - have been split in two classes:
competition and recreation. The number of the latter ones are not implied in the EMA statistics.
Yet another reason may be found in the booming of Riichi in 2011. Are the former pioneers in MCR seeking new thrills by playing the Japanese version?
tinaTina Christensen, president of the European Mahjong Association (EMA) comments: I don't think it's a dramatic decrease, but still worth taking note of. “2010 saw the huge WMC and 2011 had no big MCR tournament in Paris; these two facts accounts for a lot of the difference.
“I also think that an increase in riichi tournaments has an impact. Players who play both rule sets divide their time between them, giving a relative decrease for MCR.”

Comments, please!

Mahjong News is curious about impressions of their readers. Feel free to comment.

Comments (18)Comments are closed
1Sunday, 11 December 2011 17:56
Otto Myslivec
I think this is what Mah Jong Club Baden and a lot of other "professional" players have found some times ago: A lot of players is no longer willing to spend a lot of money to play only for "plastic dragons". My friends and I played a lot of tournaments in France, Germany, The Netherlands, Italy, Hungary, Russia, Sweden, Denmark, Spain. At first we combined it with sightseeing trips (sometimes I went with my wife, who doesn't play MJ)but now we know most of the venues and we would like to go there only for playing (with our friends there again). It will be necessary to give players a new incentive to come again and again. I think the developement is the same we had in the chess-playing. I am an organizer there since 40 years. In the past we played only for victory cups and "documents" but today in every important tournaments there are everywhere "money prices". We should try to do so also when playing international MJ tournaments. To play a tournament somewhere in Europe (if it's not in your home country) needs some hundrets of Euro. Why not to spend a part of it for prices? In chess only the very good players will earn money prices, not so in MJ, because you also need a lot of luck and some not so "supirior"players can also win (as the past showed). Let's discuss about - I thinks it's the meaning of many players too ...
2Monday, 12 December 2011 03:00
personally I don't think money prizes would be a good incentive for many players, because substantial prizes would mean higher entry fees and we already hear people complaining about tournaments being too costly and Mah-Jongg getting a "sport for the rich" today...

but even more important: As far as I can judge the situation, money prizes would devide the EMA countries! I don't know much about the probably quite different gambling legislations even across the EU, but for Germany I'd say, we just couldn't do that: As soon as there would be a notable money prize, we would need a ministerial permit over here (and 'notable' starts very low - definitely far below 100 €). Most probably we'd never get that permit - or at least there would be fees/taxes and heavy constraints, including: no minors allowed, no advertising in the internet or via telecommunications allowed (and with no invites via www or e-mail, who would come?). As long as Mah-Jongg tournaments according to MERS regulations are not officially approved as NOT to be a game of chance (and it is an open question, if the officials would be willing to differentiate between the very differing rule variants and 'applications' of the rules in terms of tournament regulations), the only way to avoid legal problems in Germany is NOT to have money prizes or even valuable prize items.
3Monday, 12 December 2011 09:51
2010 : Paris : 108, Villejuif : 52, Réunion : 44, TOTAL= 204

2011 : Réunion : 56, Toulouse : 52, Strasbourg : 84, TOTAL= 192
(192-204= -12)

Ok, no "Big" tournament in Paris, but an "as Big as Paris at the begining" in Strasbourg...

So, Tina, I don't think this is the main reason...

2010 in Danmark : Arhus : 16, Copenhague : 48, and... no more... (1 MERS 1 slot free) TOTAL= 64

2011 : Copenhague : 44, and... no more... (2 MERS 1 slots free) TOTAL= 44

(64-44 = -20)

Otto : you want some new venues ?? We don't have seen you neither in the Réunion Island, neither in Toulouse, nor in Strasbourg ! :)
All 3 new 2011 venues !!

Problems :
1. The expenses are the same, but we are not ok anymore to spend it for something we already know... The "crise" makes us put our money where we found it necessary...

2. The pioneer players are getting old... it's life ! :)

Solutions :
1. Otto is a bit right : new venues are necessary to make it new ! To encourage players (old and young) to come and see !
(And I don't know if money prices will make something new... I don't think money prices will solve this problem... but I always think personnaly that "more valuable prices" will be at least as good as plastic medals !)

2. Each federation as to make some (a BIG "some") new players ! A federation needs to replace all the "old" players (to stay at the same number), and to make some more to grow !!

Mahjong News : if you like figures : put the license figures of each federation, regarding this figures of tournament participation...
(I can help you for France :
2006 -> 80 EMA licenses
2007 -> 134
2008 -> 178
2009 -> 204
2010 -> 263
2011 -> 340)

3. EMA, Federations and Clubs have to encourage their players to play outside !

4Monday, 12 December 2011 11:45
Tina Christensen
was not yet known to me. The news didn't reach China ;-)
Congratulations on this big success!

The development in mahjong in France is very impressive!
5Monday, 12 December 2011 11:50
Mahjong News
Sure the news did reach China, Tina! Mahjong News is not stopped by the Great Firewall (^^)

Martin Rep
6Monday, 12 December 2011 12:26
You're right when you write :
"The development in mahjong in France is very impressive!"

It's because we work a lot for it !
(And we hope that it will be recognised when the quotas for the next WMO will be attributed ;)


PS : And we just talk here about MCR, next week, we will problably talk about French Riichi ! ;)
7Monday, 12 December 2011 12:38
Morten Andersen
Well if you disregard the asian players the three countries that have been playing less are the Netherlands, Italy and Denmark. The Italian drop seems to be mostly because one of their MERS 1 tournaments was in Udinese instead of Florence this year (not that I have anything bad to say about Udinese but it had a lot less players). The danish drop is mainly because we had one less tournament (or rather we did have one but there were only 12 players so no MERS ranking).

As for the Netherlands some of the drop seems to be in the Tilehog competition but slightly less travel might also be to blame for whatever reason.

I would also like to note the dramatic increase in Russian players. Not only are they many they are also very good.

On the subject of money prizes..it has been brought up several times before and I am still not convinced that it is the way to go. And in Denmark it would be against the law.
8Monday, 12 December 2011 15:27
In my opinion, the main reason for a decrease in 2011 is the important increase in 2010 (+43% between 2009 and 2010, probably due to WMC organisation).

I think we should not compare 2011 only with 2010, for me this year is not really representative. For the period 2006-2011, the average evolution is +12%.
Mah-jong is still developping in Europe. 2 big tournaments (WMC and EMC) in Europe in 2010 and 2011 perhaps was a mistake (less attract for the second). Let's wait 2012 or 2013 instead of giving quick conclusions.
In my mind, the real question for mah-jong developpement in Europe is : how can EMA help new federations, new countrys to join us and develop ?

9Monday, 12 December 2011 23:29
Sylvain MALBEC
An analysis on seven values ... Ouch!

I agree with Cyrille: I don't see a downfall in 2011 but an exceptional high value in 2010.
If we disregard 2010's value, we can see during 2006-2011 a continuous increase form +6% to +16% per year.
The 2011's value match the 2006-2009 trend.

IMHO, the real question is: "Why had we so much participants in 2010?"
10Tuesday, 13 December 2011 09:12
Otto Myslivec
Hi Oliv,

I'll try to go to Strasbourg next year. Maybe Reunion but it's a little bit too expensive only for playing MJ, maybe I can combine with some holidays in Kenia. I played 44 tournaments within 5 years - I think it's a lot and enough ;-)
11Tuesday, 13 December 2011 09:26
Mahjong News
There has been an extensive discussion about money prizes lately on this site, i.e. here.
So I think all has been said about that subject by now.
Martin Rep
12Wednesday, 14 December 2011 14:28
Hi Otto,

Yes, you played a lot of tournaments (I only count 34, but it's already a lot ! :)

But is it really enought ?

We will be very pleased to see you at Strasbourg !
Yes, it's expensive, but try Reunion Island for holidays with your wife, even if she doesn't play MJ, I'm sure she will enjoy you does ! :)

13Friday, 16 December 2011 10:46
Hi Oliv' and Otto,

I saw that you talk about Reunion Island so I am happy to announce you some informations about Reunion Island MERS in 2012:

Place and date: "LA SALINE", centre Jacques TESSIER from 24 till 26 August.
Registration, meal and social play on Friday evening.
Tournament 7 rounds (two hours each) on Saturday and Sunday.
Possible hosting during the tournament at the same place.

The place is on the west coast of the Reunion island with nice beach so closed that we can organize Mah Jong on the beach!!
Hoping that it can motivate some people from Europe!!
At your disposal for more details if you wish it.
14Friday, 16 December 2011 14:05
Otto Myslivec
You make me dreaming ...
15Friday, 16 December 2011 17:10
Sorry for being responsible for at least 8 less participations at EMA tournaments with respect to 2010. It wasn't the lack of price money that kept me away. If I would want to earn money I better stay at home and work hard.
But I must admit, wherever I went it was fun. And when I didn't go I was bored to death staying at home. So next year you will see me again, crisis or no crisis. Just need to save €1000 for a ticket to Réunion.
16Monday, 19 December 2011 15:58
Hi Otto,

You can make this dream true ; i know it's very expensive to have a plane ticket to Reunion but I agree with Oliv' : you will enjoy it.

Hi Anton,

I will very happy to play again with you and i hope we can do it on a beach at Reunion!!
17Saturday, 28 January 2012 00:00
Otto Myslivec
I only have found one hotel at this place ?!?!?
Can you help me???
18Saturday, 28 January 2012 11:28
Not possible : a lot of place to rest!!

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