'Many mistakes will be made today'
- Created on Friday, 03 July 2009 00:00
- Last Updated on Wednesday, 28 November 2012 18:00
- Written by Sjef Strik
Dutch mahjong player Sjef Strik is in the Austrian health resort of Baden, near Vienna, to participate in the Open European Mahjong Championship (OEMC 2009). And to report for Mahjong News. Today, on the first day of the tournament, part 5 of his diary. ‘It is sweltering hot here. And it will get worse.’
Yesterday was a real disaster for the Organizing Committee of the European mahjong championship. But today, the first day of the tournament, the Austrians have shown that they have regained control.
They must have been working until very late yesterday night to make new playing schedules, after the cancellation of eleven (out of eighteen) Chinese players. But this morning, right after the opening ceremony, we all received our playing schedules. And I am pleased to say that I did not hear one complaint about them. Unlike in Copenhagen, two years ago, the Dutch will meet hardly other Dutch players at their tables. I will only see two of them, but this is as good as inevitable since there are so many players from the Netherlands. The rest of my opponents will all be players from other countries, and I am very glad that I will play against several Japanese and Chinese. I am looking forward to round #8, when I will meet Masato Chiba from Japan. I know him from the OEMC 2005 in Nijmegen, Holland, when he became the winner of the first Open European championship.
Today started with an opening ceremony, which lasted for about an hour. There were Tirol dancers in Dirndl dresses, there was much hand clapping and an accordion. Martin Hoffman said some words on behalf of the Organizing Committee, Tina Christensen spoke on behalf of the European Mahjong Association (president Uwe Martens unfortunately cannot make it to Baden because of health problems) and then there was the burgomaster of Baden.
Then, finally, the competition started. In the first round, I had a fair chance to win, but I only got second, after Henrik Leth from Denmark. The same happened in the second round. I was in the lead for quite some time, but eventually Nathalie Mahé passed me. In the last game, I tried All Pungs/All Types. Nathalie discarded the North wind tile, which I needed. I hesitated for a moment since I knew I would have to pick that tile myself if I wanted to win the table. But since it was Nathalie, I decided to ‘hu’ [declare a win]. I had 21 points short, so I was fed up with it…
I don’t know about you guys at home, but it is very hot here. Outside today it was 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit), but in the hall where the competition takes place, there is no air-conditioning. It was really sweltering hot. And today it was only two rounds, so I suppose that tomorrow, with four rounds of mahjong, each lasting for two hours, it will be a lot worse… It is not hard to predict that Friday, during the last two rounds, many mistakes will be made. I am lucky, I can bear quite some heat, but it really is sapping your strength.
After two rounds of mahjong, most of us went to the trotting races at the Trabrenbahn Baden. I was glad I went there, it was really nice. A number of mahjong players could take a seat in the carriages and take part in the races. It was quite entertaining! Like I said: the Austrian have regained control over the OEMC 2009.