JPML 10-Tier Tournament and Champions League Report

Two big tournaments finished at JPML in August: Champions League and the prestigious 10-Tier Tournament. There were a number of familiar faces on both fronts and we’ll take a quick look at both events and see how our friends fared.

Champions League is open to all members of JPML. There are 3 opportunities each month to play and each player must put in 5 days during the season, which lasts for 5 months. The total scores are tallied and the top 28 players move on to the next round. The field is then whittled down to 16. From this round the top 2 players from each table move on to the semi-final.

Fellow American, Garthe Nelson, made it all the way to the semi-finals this time around, but the tiles weren’t with him there and he couldn’t force his hands into the winners. On the other table, Makoto Sawazaki and Takahiro Fujiwara battled with Kotaro Uchikawa. Fujiwara was the only big name to make it to the final table and he then went on to win the entire tournament.

He has won Champions League in the past, but the field was considerably smaller in 2005. This must be a great confidence boost to the long-time pro. You can catch Fujiwara on Mahjong Fight Club and Ron2 as a featured pro.

One of JPML’s most prestigious and sought-after titles is the 10-Tier Tournament. Starting with the 1st-Graders (sho-dan), each level holds it’s own qualifier. The winners from Grade 1 get to battle Grade 2, those winners move on to play with Grade 3 and so on, until they get to the main event in July.

Makoto Sawazaki, Hiro Yamada, Takahiro Fujiwara, Masayoshi Aara, Shigekazu Moriyama and Dump Ohashi all made it to the final 16. They played down to 8 and the 4 winners from there would move on to play with the defending champion, Yudai Maehara. You may remember that Maehara is also the current Phoenix Cup title holder. Yukio Yoshida, Masayoshi Ara, Dump Ohashi and Kazutoshi Itagawa were the final four.

Yudai Maehara took this tournament down again and Itagawa was the runner-up. You can be sure that Garthe and I will be kicking much more butt in next year’s event and you’ll see all of our other friends like Shintaro Konno and Kaori Shimizu as well.

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