Austrian Riichi Championship Report

So you’ve all seen the results… What happened to my game?! I’d like to blame the fact that I’d left my lucky bracelet at home. But read on if you want a more detailed insight! The venue was the same as last year, at the GO7 in Vienna. For those of you who haven’t been there, it’s an absolutely fantastic location and in a beautiful city.

Day started well for me. I ate a good breakfast, got my morning coffee and headed from my hotel to the center of Vienna to GO7. I was a little tired after doing a lot if sightseeing the day before but I was more worried because I hadn’t had the chance to play any Mahjong recently. (I’ve been traveling around a lot for my work so I’m often in hotels or airports.) I usually carry a book of Mahjong strategy around with me when traveling but I’d forgot to pack that a few weeks ago too.

I tried to run through my usual strategy in my head. I wasn’t too worried but I wasn’t happy.

It turned out that my ill-feeling wasn’t totally unjustified…

The first game was where the day went horribly wrong. I played into some monster hands. The tiles weren’t coming through for me, and even when they did somebody would tsumo before me. (There were quite a lot of times I was cursing the word “tsumo” throughout the day!) I couldn’t play defensively either. The tiles just weren’t making sense. I’m not sure if anyone knows that feeling? You know what you should be doing and seeing but just weren’t…

So I ended up -50k + after the first round. That sorta killed the rest of the tournament for you. When you start off that far down, you’re in a mindset where you have to make the points up, you take more risks but just end up slipping further down…

Even so, I was happy with the way I played my second and third games and I scored good points there (around the +10k mark). My final game was predictably low (For those of you who know me, I always play a bad fourth game).

Although my score may not have been the one I wanted, I still had an absolutely fantastic day. When I feel like I have a chance at the top, I tend to try and avoid talking about the game in breaks and just try to relax and clean my mind for the next game. However, as I was losing by a lot from the very beginning, I spoke to people a lot more about their games and how mahjong was progressing in Europe. I had some very interesting conversations about open tanyao, the scoring system, and the linguistics of running tournaments. I’ve got quite a few ideas for some articles from those.

As always, the organization was fantastic. The day was funning and meeting my mahjong friends again was the best! Kasu, although a small club, knows how to put on a good tournament! You should all consider attending next time if you can! Congratulations to all the winners too!

What lesson have I learnt from the experience? Practice before you play. Mahjong is a game of skill but that skill comes through experience and practice. You’re just not going to be on top of your game if you don’t maintain your eye for the tiles. Reading your opponent’s hands is in particular a skill that can quickly fade. So people, practice, practice, and more practice!

My next tournament is in Guildford next month! It’s going to be particularly exciting for me as it will be the first time I ever play on English soil. will be giving live reporting again so why don’t you give your feedback on ways that we could have improved on our Vienna reporting? Head to the forums and let us know what you want from us!

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