(left to right) David Li, Haolun Wu, Ayako Shigamatsu, Rachel Halperin (photo credit: LAPOM)

GARDENA, California/USA - Team 'Doko wa Dokou' (David Li, Haolun Wu, Ayako Shigamatsu, Rachel Halperin) won the first team versus team tournament on American soil which took place February 17-18. Ryan Gan, staff member of hosting crew 'Los Angeles Pride of Mahjong' ('LAPOM') reflects on "Team Tournament - Best In The West". 

Ryan Gan: "The Los Angeles Pride of Mahjong (LAPOM) and Kira Nebilak from the Pacific Mahjong League (PML) joined together to present the first United States Saki style team tournament using a modified WRC rules (no uma) at the Los Angeles Pride of Mahjong Dojo this past week February 17th and 18th to bring clubs together and present an innovative and exciting competition format! A total of eight teams from the Seattle Riichi Mahjong Club (SRMC), Pacific Mahjong League, and Los Angeles Pride of Mahjong competed in an 8 hanchan preliminary on automatic tables, with the top 4 teams going onto a 4 round final which was broadcast for their teammates’ viewing pleasure. The prize was an automatic table sponsored by Aotomo. Each team shared a total of 100,000 points, and this point total was kept track by a new software system created by PML’s Kira Nebilak, however tenbou was still exchanged to keep track of scores in order to verify in case of input error. The running point total for each team was kept on a live stream overlay. Unfortunately due to network difficulties, the stream was taken offline.

Players were treated to a opening ceremony replete with a taiko [drum, ed.] demonstration. Lunch was provided, yakisoba [a Japanese noodle dish, ed.] and Japanese fried chicken the first day and Subway sandwiches the second day. On Saturday night, LAPOM hosted a special dinner replete with karaoke. It was a great way for the players from every club to meet and get to know each other off the mahjong table.

During the tournament all teams with the top players from each club made it into the finals. However, Rachel Halperin went into a negative score, dropping her PML team, Doko wa Dokou ["doko wa dokou" translates to "where is my dokou" as in the scoring element sanshoku dokou, ed.] out of final contention. Rachel was able to persevere and scored the only yakuman in the tournament, a Shousushi to bring her team back. Doko wa Dokou’s members captain Ayako Shigamatsu, Haolun Wu, and David Li would go on to win the entire tournament. It goes to show that if you never give up, mahjong will reward your will. Please plan for LAPOM and PML’s 2019 Best in the US Team Tournament next year, President’s Day weekend February 16th-18th! We will make the tournament even better for your enjoyment!"

The tournament can be rewatched at the 'LAPOM' YouTube Channel, including an interview with the winning team.

Group photo; seated at the table winning team 'Doko wa Dokou' (photo credit: LAPOM)


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