I'm all for welcoming any person to any starter-level event. But for events of that scale (EC/WC level), it would be fair to assume that people should be able to play. This implies the following:Gemma wrote:I’m sure the more observant of you have seen the discussion on MahjongNews.com. If not, go there immediately and read and maybe even venture your own comment. The quality (or lack of) was certainly something I considered as I was playing through the tournament.
Here comes my unsolicited opinion… I think without a doubt, the level of play has increased in Europe. However, here’s the catch; so has the disparity between the poor and the good players. The good have gotten better, and the poor have stayed the same. That’s why some people are leaving the weekend cursing all European players for being lucktards, and some of us are leaving thinking “wow, those players are strong”. It really depends on who you were sat with. (This may not have been helped by the country-dependant seating system meaning that you encountered some country’s players more than others.)
What’s to be done? We could start restricting which players can participate in the more prestigious tournaments. That creates a new problem. Do we really have enough riichi players who attend tournaments in Europe to start creating a two tier system? We would also be in danger of ostracising our novice players, when really we need to be doing everything we can to increase our player base.
And herein lies the heart of the matter. The EMA needs to perform a delicate balancing act to satisfy the needs of its top players, its intermediate players and its new players. Obviously, from current discussions the players at the higher levels don’t feel there’s an opportunity to demonstrate and challenge their skill. This is something that should be addressed, but let’s be careful that we don’t do it in such a way that we stop gaining players, or worse lose players. We don’t want the game to die a death here.
- Knowing the rules
- Knowing the yaku (both in your and the game's language!!!)
- Knowing how to score han and fu
- Knowing at least the lines of the point tables for 20, 25, 30 and 40 fu, oya and ko scores
- Knowing what you will throw before drawing (plan your draws before drawing)
- Knowing what you wait on (check your waits before seeing a potential discard)
- Knowing the words "pon, kan, chii, ron, tsumo, riichi"
I also understand that some people refuse obstinately to join or even visit a club once before showing up at a tournament, when there is one in proximity (proximity is 200 km in my opinion for something you can do at least once every 6 months)... clubs will bend over backwards to welcome you heartily to play, learn and have fun. In 2011, I ended up playing against some people who have never touched tiles before (and admitted only to having played on a game server related to clocks, for less than 5 games). It was the most displeasing experience of that event (and of all my mahjong experience) to have a player play nothing buy 7 pairs all game, irrespective of their session or total score.
I also don't want to be asked to count someone's yaku and hand for them, and then be genuinely told "I don't know what you said but I like the total!". In fact, people who know me know that the position I advocate now is that if you have to ask what your hand is worth, to me, it's worth nothing. I'm willing to give 1000 pts to buy the peace (1500 oya), but no more.
The only thing I am worried about is that if EMA is doing everything they can to welcome Japanese participation to a tournament in 2014, it has to be understood that while a language barrier is comprehensible, a player that cannot understand the rules will never be able to communicate "Can you count my hand for me?", and the feelings would not be received well by them. Or many of us, to be quite honest. I wish the 2014 Paris team to have the clairvoyance required to pull off a successful event, how many referees and interpreters will they need, what will be the accepted languages at the tournament, and will there be a universal way to convey scores and payments? To me, the answer seems obvious, but has it made it to the responsible people and will they take responsibility in that regard?
Quelque chose me dit que ce sera ni l'anglais, ni le français...