New Uma Rule Rules at Edewecht
- Published on Sunday, 19 February 2012 07:55
- Written by Martin Rep
EDEWECHT, Germany - How would the participants to the Edewecht 2012 riichi tournament like the new uma? Would it matter to play with the new bonus/penalty system anyway? The Edewecht tournament, which took place today, was the first official EMA competition where the recently revised riichi rules were applied. The changes, apart from the uma, are not significant. Some limit hands, which are hardly ever scored, now are worth less points - that’s pretty much it.
One guy especially was thankful for the modified uma-rule, and that was Alexander Schuler, the rather unexperienced yet skilled player who made his debut on the international stage two years ago during the European riichi championship, where he ended on a modest 53rd place. When organizer Frauke Roos handed over a little extra prize to him for the highest score in one hanchan, he beamed: “That is thanks to the high uma.”
The uma is in riichi mahjong what table points are in Mahjong Competition Rules, yet it is quite different. In an MCR tournament, you have little chance to catch up with the top players when you have a bad session in which you have zero table points. In riichi, you can be the last at a table so you get a penalty of 30,000 points and yet win the tournament when you sore high hands in the other hanchan (sessions).
The uma has one more advantage. Without it, you could lean back after winning the first hanchan with a huge score. Thanks to the uma, you just have to keep on going for the first, maybe the second position on the subsequent tables. Otherwise, the uma penalty would melt away your margin.
Until last year, the uma in riichi was
Now this has changed to
For calculating the general classification of a tournament, the new uma probably would make no difference at all. But what it changes, is the way players are taking risks. So, after the third hanchan, I found myself back in fourth position in the general ranking. If I would do well in the final session, I might make it to third or even second place.
I started rather well, but after a few more games I dropped to second and then third place at my table. In the South round, I had a great opportunity to come back to first position. I had carefully built up my hand, and eventually had a beautiful point of departure
Then I drew the dream tile:
So I had a beautiful waiting hand: san shoku doujun (mixed triple chow): 2 han; tanyo (all simples): 1 han, a chance on iipeikou (pure double chi): 1, pinfu (chicken hand): 1 han, red five: 1 fan. So that would mean a haneman (limit hand of 6 han) at least; when I would declare riichi (waiting game) this might increase to baiman (limit hand of 8~10 han).
But: when I drew that Bamboo 2, Cor Hoogland, sitting in my upper hand, just had declared riichi. And the Character 6, which I had to discard to turn my hand into a waiting hand, was very dangerous. It was not amongst Cor's discards, and besides, it was a dora tile: a bonus tiles that gives you an extra fan.
So, what to do? Normally I would have played it safely. I would have discarded one of the safe tiles in my hand, but then I would loose my fair chance of winning that game, and spoil my chance of winning that table. That would not be that bad - if it would not have been for the severe uma penalty: minus 10,000 or maybe even minus 30,000 points.
After some consideration, I decided I would have to take the risk. So I discarded the hot dora tile. Cor thankfully said ‘ron’ (hu), cashed my dora and got rewarded for ippatsu (one shot win). Added to the other han in his hand, I had to pay him 12,000 points.
Eventually, I was last at that table, I dropped from 4th to 9th position. But for the extended uma rule, I never would have taken the risk.
The modified uma makes riichi, and especially the South round, when you have to try and catch up with the other players, more spectacular.
The new uma was the most talked about topic during this cosy, little tournament at Edewecht. There were twenty players: thirteen from Germany and seven from the Netherlands. The Germans ruled. Alexander Schuler won the first prize, runner-up was Phillip Martin, Richard Stöckeman - lucky as ever - ended in third position. On top of all that: good food and pastry. Looking forward already to come back to Edewecht soon; if possible, for a good game of riichi with an extended uma rule.
Final results of the Edewecht Riichi Tournament 2012
|Rank.||First N. ||Last N.||Nat.||Pts.|