Wednesday 16 April 2014

Readers’ Comments

148Sunday, 09 February 2014 17:43
Otto Myslivec
In Chess tournaments we have an excellent program for the drawing. It's in use also for World tournaments.
I belief it could be adapted also for Mah Jong.
Maybe someone of the EMA officers will talk with the developer?
We would Need Money for this but then we'll have a perfect drawing System equal for all of our tournaments.
Monday, 10 February 2014 17:00
Software developers.
I personally doubt that creating mahjong innovation to chess Swiss system could be of real interest to chess developers. Or the cost of such modification might be unacceptable.
On the other hand, more than 1 year ago a group of enthusiasts in Russian have been started the process of developing of required software. Since than 7 tournament has been held with the use of software.
Monday, 10 February 2014 08:36
Those 7 (6 Russian and 1 abroad) tournaments at least twice highlighted problems leading to some new level of software modification -- not speaking of separate versions for MCR and RCR.
Right now several groups of new modifications are discussed so that developer Alexander Egorov has busy time.
How to encourage current software development -- the matter of separate discussion (that's IMHO).
Monday, 10 February 2014 08:04
Chess-based swiss-seating algorithm is well-known and widely adopted both in approach and technicalities (software etc.). And ... it's not as complex. Believe me that somewhat 20 years ago one (me!) can manage 60-player 10-round tournament, without any computers.

Key feature distinguishing seating managing of chess game and mahjong is number of players (4). That fact by far raises computation complexity, both in terms of number of similar-scored groups, cross-play matrix etc.
Monday, 10 February 2014 07:00

Hi, we use for playing Go either MacMahon or Open Gotha seating system. You can create super groups and use rating system. Open Gotha is a very friendly system (Java, StandAlone). It would be interesting to see it applied for Mahjong. It provides tournament seating for up to 800 people for at least 12 rounds and is very stable.

147Wednesday, 05 February 2014 22:47
Martin Lester
Can we distinguish between these two kinds of players? I recall a recent Russian tournament had some sort of entry test to make sure people knew how to score and how to play, so I suppose it is possible.

But should we distinguish? Our game is still quite small and we want to welcome new players; a test might scare them off. Do we have enough players to start splitting tournaments into two groups? It also sounds a bit arrogant to say that we don't want to play with new players!
Thursday, 06 February 2014 07:28
Yes, in Russia for somewhat 2-3 years we had a test for players to enter big tournament. That test related to very basic skills like where tiles should be taken, how calculate fans etc.

As for splitting event in two -- as I have written earlier that should be carried out ONLY at later stage and the purpose is to define winners, no more.
On the other hand beginners may feel much more comfortable while playing against equally performed players rather than toppers.
Thursday, 06 February 2014 10:58
Masahiko Takahashi
So that I vote random at this moment. But if good ranking system is implemented, I prefer 2nd division scheme even sample is small(It is impossible to have huge sample. but better than nothing)
Thursday, 06 February 2014 10:56
Masahiko Takahashi
IMHO fairness is 2 things. "Random" is always fair for all players. The other fairness is reducing luck element as much as possible. It means the skill mahjong should be reflect to the ranking as much possible. But as I posted a lot of sample will be required(maybe over few hundred hanchans). Unless having a lot of sample, it is not fair.
Thursday, 06 February 2014 10:13
Masahiko Takahashi
The involvement of luck is very huge especially in the one or two day tournament. All player should accept this fact. even spliting the group, One of 2nd group player win in the end may happen. so if we introduce spliting group, it is based on EMA ranking. but EMA ranking score better to improve first if it is not be considered who played with so far. and convergence of ranking will take long time and because mahjong is huge luck involved.
Thursday, 06 February 2014 14:24
Senechal D.
1: You and I are worth zero points, which is not accurate at all.
2: The EMA has yet to make any overture to overseas organizations for a standard recognized ranking system.
3: If ever a tourney split should occur it should be after a minimum of 4 hanchan based on that tourney's performance, as past results have no effect on future outcomes.
146Wednesday, 05 February 2014 22:41
Martin Lester
One point this discussion has highlighted to me is that we may have to think about the difference between weak players (who rarely win) and novice players (who don't know how to play).

While it may not be satisfying to win against a weak player, I am sure we all enjoy getting the extra points (unless our opponents benefit from them too). On the other hand, playing a novice can be frustrating as it disrupts game flow, especially if it stops you from getting your second turn as dealer.
145Wednesday, 05 February 2014 08:33
IMHO, splitting should be done after half number of sessions of total sessions of event. A portion of players to get into "Tops" is 25-40% (divisible by 8 or 4 players, for instance, 24, 16, 12 players etc.).
* Last session of event may have specific seating (if no random seating is used) regardless previous seating etc., in order to keep main intrigue in top seats distribution.
144Wednesday, 05 February 2014 08:07
* Playing "mid" sessions. Either random of "special" seating scheme is used.
* As an alternative (which was NOT discussed yet at forum) is to spit whole tournament at certain point in two parts: "Tops" and "Others". "Tops" play a version of elimination (eliminated players go to "Others"). "Others" play regularly (maybe still strictly single-meeting though unnecessarily fixed to the performance).

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Tiles of Cardboard

Mah-Jongg Skirt, to be seen in the exhibition.NEW YORK - “Project Mah Jongg” is a special exhibition now on display in New York City’s Museum of Jewish Heritage.  Sponsored by the National Mah Jongg League (NMJL, henceforth), the exhibit focuses on the history of Mah Jongg in America and its role as a popular Jewish-American pastime.Mahjong News asked David Bresnick, president of the New York based US Professional Mahjong League to take a look. He did so, together with his USPMJL friend Charlyn Gee.


Physically, Project Mah Jongg is a very impressive display.  Upon entering the museum’s Rotunda Gallery, a 1000-square-foot-hexagonal room, one is immediately surrounded with artifacts galore - vintage photographs, Mah Jongg inspired artwork, historical sets of tiles and even a designed “soundscape” of clacking tiles and the voices of happy women at play.
Brought to the United States in the 1920s, Mah Jongg flourished in a time when imports from Asia were all the rage.  Credit for the original rules is most often given to Joseph Babcock, an American businessman who discovered the game while in China and modified the rules to make them more appealing to Americans.  By 1937, the game was so popular that a group of Jewish women established the NMJL in order to standardize rules and advocate play.  The result was what is now referred to as American Mah Jongg.  At the first meeting of the NMJL, 200 players attended; today the organization boasts more than 400,000 members.



mahjongcakesFellow USPML member Charlyn Gee had this to say about the display:
“I thought it was interesting to see the evolution of tiles from the 1920's until today. The earliest tiles on display were made of thin cardboard! There were several examples of retro-looking Bakelite tiles as well. Only much later did the modern plastic standard-size tiles become the norm.
"Additionally, I was surprised to find that I really appreciated the Mah Jongg inspired artwork. The exhibition designer had invited several artists, illustrators, and designers - including the fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi - to interpret the theme of Mah Jongg. Some of the artists don't even play Mah Jongg! So I felt apprehensive about this part of the exhibit before I went. However, while I was there, I realized that I liked all of the interpretations. Those that weren't familiar with playing the game seemed to draw their inspiration from the visual symbols of the tiles themselves. I especially loved Christoph Niemann's tile iconography with a Jewish theme - his illustrations included a tile with a menorah composed of the sticks from the sou suit (bamboo suit), a tile showing 1 pin (1 dot) re-purposed as a yarmulke, and a 3 pin (3 dot) tile that looked like three delicious bagels.”

The Mah-Jongg Essence

mahjongdrawIn the center of the Rotunda is perhaps the most simple yet striking element of the exhibit.  A simple table with four chairs, racks, the 2010 NMJL card and a set of tiles.  Guests are encouraged to sit and play a game as they pass through.  In my own time there, several groups of guests sat down to play a hand or two, becoming part of the exhibit themselves.  Seeing people playing, witnessing the experience of community and fellowship shared through this game, is truly the essence of what the exhibit designers were trying to convey to their guests.  The artifacts, literature and art provide knowledge and enlightenment, but it is this simple table that steals the show.  The wealth of history presented is given both power and meaning by this display of continuity – Mah Jongg is not a game of the past, but a living pastime that is alive and well to this day.


More about the exhibition on the website of the Museum

Project Mah Jongg will be on view from May 4, 2010 through January 2, 2011 at the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust located at 36 Battery Place in Lower Manhattan.
Sun, Mon, Tue, Thur 10 A.M. to 5:45 P.M.
Wed 10 A.M. to 8 P.M. Fri 10 A.M. to 5 P.M. DST
Fri 10 A.M. to 3 P.M. EST
General Admission:
$12 adults, $10 seniors, $7 students. Members and children 12 and younger are admitted free.
Museum admission is free Wed 4 P.M. to 8 P.M.

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