Reunion: mahjong in Europe’s farthest corner
- Published on Saturday, 18 September 2010 09:46
- Written by Martin Rep
REUNION - You meet them in various tournaments in Europe: players who speak French, but who are actually living some 10,000 kilometers from Paris; sometimes black, sometimes white, sometimes Chinese - and almost always very strong mahjong players. Emmanuel Tai Leung, for one, was one of the first leaders of the EMA MCR Ranking.
These are players who live on Reunion Island, a French department in the Indian Ocean. Since the island has a large Chinese community, mahjong has been a favorite pastime here for quite some time. No wonder that, amongst the less than 800,000 inhabitants, a flourishing mahjong community exists, which participates actively in the international tournament scene. Soon after the French mahjong federation (FFMJ) was founded - during the OEMC 2005 in Holland - the first French Open was organized on Reunion.
By now, the FFMJ has become one of the most important, and strongest, mahjong organizations in Europe. So, when the Reunions plan to organize the French championship 2011 on their island, it is a more serious affair than it was some five years ago. The Reunion Open which is being held this weekend, can be considered a finger exercise for next year’s event.
In this weekend’s competition, only players from Reunion and the French mainland participate. But the Reunions hope that next year, the French Open on the island, will get a massive response from mahjong players all over Europe.
It might even raise enthusiasm for a European Championship, to be held on Reunion, some time in the near future. Who knows?