Well, only two weeks and I’m finally getting to my thoughts on our recent festival. At this age, it takes that long for me to recover from a night of no sleep. Thanks to Jenn for holding us together in our foray into WRC commentating!

Also thanks to all those in Japan and around the world who made the whole event come together. That means everyone, from the brass in JPML to all the players who participated. But of course special thanks has to go to our dear Gemma, truly the one person without whom the event just wouldn’t have happened.

Next congratulations to nomos for winning the whole thing! He’s a new player on Ronron and swept right in to claim the title. Congratualations also to 分析ロトム , better knows as Russel to his many fans in the UK, for taking runner up. Russel fought hard to win the final 2 games but nomos’ aggressive play at the end of the first game to take first place proved to be what I would consider the deciding factor. On the final hand of that game, he had the option of winning 3900 points with a Common Flush and one Value Honor from another player but he would only have kept second place with that move. He chose to hold out for more to win that game, and when it came down to it at the end of the 3rd game, those extra 10 points going from 2nd to 1st in game 1 were huge. Kudos to Russell for coming back from that first game deficit, but it was a gutsy play by nomos in that first game that made all the difference.

I only managed to complete a 6-game series in 2 of the qualifiers. If we get to do another of these, I guess I’m going to have to allot more than 30 minutes per game. I think there were a couple of factors that contributed to the longer game times, the first and foremost being that Ronron has not had to contend with that level of participation before. It’s one of those problems that actually we like to have. Here’s hoping we can expand capacity for the next one.

I also had local league play in Gunma that weekend so it was a struggle to get games in at every free moment. For example, here I am coming back from league on my way through Takasaki station.

“Strange Foreigner” as they say here (変な外人)

That was my best showing at 82nd. So thanks also to players like BenzenTsumo who placed 12th that round, and Mystere (ミステール), among others for getting my picture much higher in the rankings than I was able to.

Can I get an “応援” (supporter) pic for BenZen?

Finally just a thought about player performances. Way to go to the growing community outside of Japan for taking over half the final table! That is obviously a huge improvement over performances at the first two WRC tournaments which had only pros from Japan in the final 4. First of all that reflects the steady advance in everyone’s Riichi Mahjong ability and it’s exciting to anticipate a WRC champion from outside of Japan, in Vienna next year.

But I think there’s one more factor at play here: the fact that it was played online. I have actually noticed this effect on myself too, in that if I play I only play online for a while, my live game definitely suffers. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we need to quit playing online. It definitely has its benefits too. Beyond simply allowing more opportunities to play, it also expands the group of people we get to play against, and probably speeds games up a bit too. But the fact that the computer is doing a lot of the work for us means that when we do play live, our minds are a little slower dealing with the extra work. Sorting your hand, determining your wait, noticing when your tiles come out for pon/chi/ron, and scoring, to name a few, are all things the machine takes care of for us. When I play live after a long stint of just Mahjong Fight Club/Ronron, I definitely find that I’m a step behind in all of those duties. Even something as simple as where to break the wall after the rolling the dice requires extra thought.

So my final thought as we look forward to more WRC events is that yes, more online events! But also, as we gear up for live competition in Vienna next year, make sure you get as much live practice in as possible too. You want the mundane tasks like sorting your hand and scoring to come as second nature so you can concentrate on the more important decisions like whether or not to win a cheaper hand to take second place early on the final table, so that you can more comfortably coast to victory at the end.

Congratulations again to nomos on a well earned victory! By the way you can follow his also relatively new twitter at @LouNomos.

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