Kinryu Majan Taikai 2008 Riichi Mahjong Tournament

A few weeks ago, a friend of RM.com, Bjoern Schulz, visited the Netherlands to take part in a Reach Competition. He also kindly wrote an article for us so here it is! Bjoern also runs a German Reach site so any German speakers please check his site out! Find it here.

18 Hours Mahjong-Trip

5.30am, Lahnstein (near Koblenz, Germany). We departure for Almere (Netherlands). We (Andreas Maier, Philipp Scharpf, Sebastian Scharpf and me) were off to play the Kinryu Majan Taikai 2008 Riichi Mahjong Tournament. But to get there on time we had to leave Germany at the crack of dawn.

We miscalculate though and the drive was smooth so we arrived much too early. Cigarettes helped bridge the gap. The others took the time to play some training games, while I chatted with some acquaintances from the European Riichi Open Championship. In the meanwhile everybody had to pick a number for table assignments.

There were 4 games with a time-limit of 90 minutes. In between there were some little breaks so I could maintain my nicotine level. The points from all 4 games were totalled to give a final result. Altogether there were 48 players (8 Germans, 1 French and the rest Dutch). But now back to my story.

After all players drew their numbers, the organisers (Robert Rijnders and Paula Pereira Gomes) said some words and started the Tournament. Finally, my favourite moment appeared – the sound of the shuffling tiles at all tables at the same time, goosebumps. Unfortunately the first two table went crappy for me. I played good mahjong, didn’t do any major mistakes, but I couldn’t finish any hands. And if I had good tiles and reached with a good wait, I still didn’t win a hand. But you can’t do anything if the last tile doesn’t show.

I finished with a third and fourth place (the third place only because Martin Rep made a chombo in the first hand, so he had to pay mangan. But overall it was not so bad for him because he made the third place in the whole tournament). The intermediate result after two games: me 41th place – 31.200 and i was pissed off because of that (greetz to Richard!). What cheered me up was the result of my buddies at this point: Sebastian 1st +85.700, Philipp 3rd + 59.600 and Anreas 12th +16.300. Amazing job at their first tournament.

In the second half I finally had some luck and could win some hands. Thanks to the yakitori rule which was used instead of red fives I had two 1st places and finished positive. Final result: 23th +9.700. My buddies placed better, although Sebastian couldn’t hold his first place. He got 11th +38.300. Andreas played very solidly and got 13th +36.000 and Philipp did great, 2nd with 92.300. The absolute best player this day was Sjef Strik with 115.200 points. The second win in this tournament in a row! So two of the European Riichi experts and organisers of the European championship came in place 1 and 3.

All in all it was a very successful tournament, with a lot of players, good organisation and great atmosphere. You could notice the improvement of the European players compared to the European Championship. There was more like a Riichi feeling which I missed in the EC.

But I have to say many of the players come from CO and riichi is only in the beginnings here in Europe, so it’s only natural and of course it will be much better in the future. It was a successful day with kind people with same interest, Riichi!

To come back to the story, after the award ceremony, where Gertjan Davies became Dutch champion (the additional points of the Cherry Blossom Tournament and Kinryu Majan Taikei), we drank some beer to make it a real trip and prepared for the return journey. The way back took soooo long and we couldn’t find a McD… to eat something.

Finally back in our hometown, the first way lead us to a drivein. To waste no more time, we ate while driving home. In the meanwhile the clock said 23.30pm and we finished our 18 hours Mahjong Trip.

So the moral of the story? In February there will be the same journey, this time to Nijmegen for the Cherry Blossom Tournament. And maybe you will be there too…

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