Nicole Haasbroek: “The contest gave me a push to enroll in an MCR tournament again.”

MOSCOW - The fifth season of the Sherlock Mahjong Mysteries Solving Contest is over. The winner is Nicole Haasbroek from the Netherlands who recently joined Mahjong News staff.

"As for the future of SHM... I know it's premature, but I'm looking forward to season 6. And it comes as no surprise I would love to see the riichi counterpart of the SHM."

As a matter of fact, the winner of the contest was selected out of seven players who all had acquired full scores by using additional criteria -- "timestamp"; the exact time of sending in the full solution. It took Nicole only 9 minutes to send in the full-score answer for the last mystery. Mahjong News took an interview from the contest winner.

Mahjong News: How long have you played mahjong?

Nicole: I've been playing mahjong for a little over five years. After watching a demonstration of MCR in my local library, I joined a MCR club in the beginning of 2012. By the end of 2013 I discovered riichi.

Mahjong News: What are your favorite styles to play?

Nicole: At the moment my favorite ruleset is riichi, but I also like playing MCR. As a matter of fact, the SHM contest gave me a push to enroll in a Dutch MCR tournament after being absent in the Dutch MCR scene for quite some time.

Mahjong News: Where do you prefer to play: online, offline, at the tournaments, with friends etc.?

Nicole: I love to participate in (riichi) tournaments, because the stakes are higher than during social play. Preferably in real life, because I'm always curious about the emotions players can display during the game (these could be real, or fake).

Mahjong News: How do you like Sherlock mahjong mysteries?

Nicole: So far I've enjoyed the SHM very much, even though I thought some riddles might be a bit too easy.

Mahjong News: What problems did you encounter specifically while participating in the current contest? Anything more related contest.

Nicole: Like last season it forced me to re-examen the MCR ruleset in detail and search for 'loopholes'. Which actions are technically still allowed within the 'framework' of MCR, even if the situation is one that might never occur in real life. On the other hand I came to the realization I have more of a 'riichi mindset' than a 'MCR mindset' at the moment. For instance the riddle "Trap for a Dragon" was too difficult to solve at first, because the restriction in riichi for a Seven Pairs hand stopped me in my tracks (no two identical pairs). Again with the devaluation of Holmes' hand in "Final Session Duel". This action isn't allowed in riichi, so I had to switch gears.

Mahjong News: Your wish / will for contestants, current or future.

Nicole: As for the future of SHM... I know it's premature, but I'm looking forward to season 6! And it comes as no surprise I would love to see the riichi counterpart of the SHM. As a matter of fact, on the 8th of April I wrote a little riddle on my personal FB page as a testcase, but so far it hasn't been picked up by any readers.


We congratulate once again Nicole Haasbroek and all the winners of the contest.

And, let's wish mysteries' author Vitaly Novikov to keep himself busy for this year while he prepares new mysteries for the next contest.


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