Sep 20th, 2014
Today I played in the Saikyosen tournament for the second time. Last year I got a great start and it went downhill in the third game. I was ready for my revenge this time.
This year’s pro event was split into male and female events. I, obviously, played in the women’s event with about 55 other women. We played three games before sending everyone with negative scores home, then played another game to determine the top five players to join the three regional qualifiers in the Best 8 round.
I had another great start in the tournament with a big first place. It was intense. The player to my left was right on my heels and the first place position switched back and forth between us four times.
I felt fortunate to take a lead, but I knew it could all go wrong at any moment. The second game I was in last place and somehow came from behind to take second for only +0.5 points. I was so relieved since I had dropped down to about 6000 points. It reminded me of the way Horiuchi never gave up in the first game last year and took second to me.
Call it a miracle, call it good play, whatever forces were working today, I somehow got first place in the third game too. I was already guaranteed to play in the fourth game, but that was going to be the toughest.
Going into the fourth game I was in second place overall with +136 or so. First place had more than +190. My table consisted of 6th, 10th and 14th places. Everyone was going for first place.
I took a lead towards the end of the game but the player to my right, I believe the 6th place player, representing Mahjong Union, was right behind me and as the final dealer, she kept the pressure on and passed me. I had to hope that my positive score of around 30 would be enough to hold up, even in second place.
Since only five would make it to the semi-finals, I was nervous with anticipation. they called out the first player, the same player in first place from before. Then the second place player, but it wasn’t me anymore. Finally I heard my name in third place.
I did it. I made it to the final eight in third place.
The last game consisted of two tables. The top two players from each moved on to the final tomorrow, which will be broadcast on NicoNico.
But alas, my luck had run out. I chose two spots to push after my final deal had passed and they both were wrong. I discarded the dealer’s winning tile twice and the only option left to me was to draw baiman or higher. I just didn’t get the tiles to put it together.
Looking back, after my first deal in the third hand of the East round, I could’ve gone for a flush hand and that would’ve been a better place to push. The player to my right kept reaching and I tried to play conservatively, waiting for a better spot. The better spot never came, so I should’ve taken a few chances early in the game, knowing that this was just one shot and I’d have to win now or count on my turn at dealer to continue.
Maybe that will work next year…