WC Riichi possibly in Europe
- Published on Friday, 27 January 2012 07:33
- Written by Staff
AMSTERDAM, the Netherlands - Japanese mahjong organizations are reacting positively on a initiative for the first world championship of riichi mahjong. This competition should take place somewhere in Europe, within the years to come. This information comes from a report by Martin Rep of Mahjong News, who is making an inquiry into the options of a possible WCR. The Dutch Mahjong Association has assigned Mr. Rep, on his own request, to make the investigation. The results will be presented to the general assembly of the Dutch association, which will take place next month.
American/Japanese mahjong player Ryan Morris and British player Gemma Collinge have had a meeting with representatives of Japanese riichimahjong leagues to talk about a WCR. Both Gemma and Ryan are positive about the progress of the talks. Yet, according to Martin Rep there are still many problems to solve, e.g. in the field of the rules for the championship. But, he says, the fact that the Japanese are willing to discuss the event, is an opportunity without any precedent.
Tina Christensen, president of the European Mahjong Association, has welcomed the Dutch initiative, although also she emphasizes that there is still much work to be done. “If an organizer steps forward, they will have my full support.”
Riichi mahjong is by far the largest organized mahjong variant with fixed rules. In Japan, dozens of millions play riichi mahjong. There is wide acceptance of the rules, although there are minor differences between some combinations, e.g. about the use of Red Fives, Ura Dora, Kan Dora and Ura Kan Dora (these are all special bonus tiles). The EMA riichi rules were written in consultation with Japanese players. The most important difference between the European and Japanese rules is that in Europe, open tango tanyo (All Simples) is not permitted, whilst this is the case in Japan. Neither Tina Christensen nor Martin Rep expects that it will be a problem for the Europeans to accept open tanyo tango.
Japan has four major (riichi) mahjong organizations:
日本プロ麻雀連盟Japan Professional Mahjong League
麻雀プロ麻雀協会NPM (Nihon Pro Mahjong)
最高位戦日本プロ麻雀協会Saikouisen Nihon Pro Mahjong Association
Each group has famous players and a pool of ‘pros’ who play in their leagues. Until now, never a world championship riichi mahjong has been organized.
Martin Rep: “The organizations operate quite independently form each other. I think they never gave the idea of a world championship much thought, so it is not so strange if a foreign institution like the EMA should initialize the first riichi competition. “After all, EMA is an organization with quite some experience in setting up international competitions. The European championships that have been organized since 2005 have been a great stimulant for the development of the Mahjong Competition Rules in Europe. The uprising of riichi in Europe has only just begun. I think it would be fantastic if riichi would experience a similar growth here as MCR did before. Riichi is not the largest mahjong variant for nothing. It is a fascinating game which deserves its own world championship.”
He has no idea when the first WCR might be held. “Much depends from the acceptance of the European mahjong associations, not in the last place the Dutch. Also, the support of sponsors will be very important. This championship must have a fee that can be paid bt young and not so rich riichi players.”
Upcoming riichi tournaments in Europe