Kinryu Majan Taikai!

The Dutch don’t go half-measures with international tournaments, you have to give them that! As one of the most active communities in mahjong, their tournaments are always worth keeping an eye on.

…and that’s what I was doing on the 25th September while my co-workers beavered away in dreary Frankfurt, I was off on the ICE to sunny (?!) Utrecht.

OK, it wasn’t as romantic as that but it was certainly a welcome break! Work has been insanely busy for me lately. I barely have time to do normal things let alone find time to play Mahjong. That said, I have been setting aside some time to teach my colleagues how to play and that’s going well but trying to explain the finer points of pinfu wasn’t great training.

Still, that considered, I played really well (if I ignore the final game that I will get to…). Although I did hear complaints of ‘low-level’ play from some participants, I felt that all the tables I played on were very tight and of a very good level. There were only a few players that I could mark out as beginners but they were clearly already quite confident MCR players so it was more their style that didn’t suit riichi rather than low-level.

My first three tables were very tense and I had the honour of being able to sit opposite Maurice (winner of the ERC) on one table. I was playing well; going for it when I had to and defending when I had to. Nothing stunning but a good show and I had stayed at 15th place all the way through to the third round. I was feeling pretty pleased with myself overall…

So take a look at the results on

What happened…? Rick Moorman happened, that’s what. That boy was insanely good! On my final table he sat opposite me and, boy, did he clean up. I ended up -50,000, wiping out all my good work for the day! But credit where credit is due, he played really well and in the end, the best mahjonger won. I just hope I learnt something from him on that table so I can apply it to my next game.

Next European tournament is in Copenhagen. I’m still seeing if I can wrangle some time off work for it so watch this space…

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