Riichi Reaches Guildford UK

Earlier this week I asked Ian Fraser of the Guildford riichi club to write a short article introducing their club to the world and summing up their mahjong year. Ian kindly obliged so read on… According to the proverb – “Great oaks from tiny acorns grow.” A small Riichi ‘acorn’ was planted in Guildford in January 2009, in the form of around a dozen local players coming together for a club night.

The participants were a mixture of a few players who had played together socially for many years, and some brand new converts to the game who had learned to play via a short course run by Ian Fraser, who is more normally associated with teaching bridge in the area. Their adopted scheme is to play two games of eighty minutes each, with a twenty minute break in between. Winning scores from game one meet each other in game two.

Along with bridge playing pal, and fellow Riichi devotee Peter Langford, Ian attended the first European Riichi Tournament in 2008. They were sufficiently motivated by the experience to organise the first UK Riichi Tournament in August 2009, inviting a number of visitors from mainland Europe, and in which many of the club members participated. It proved a great success and also helped to encourage yet further growth in the group. The club meets fortnightly at a local social club in Guildford, and seems to be going from strength to strength.

In the course of the year several more ‘graduates’ from the short courses have begun to attend. There are now over 30 potential participants and most recently, a record six tables were required to accommodate all who turned up. Not yet an oak, great or otherwise – certainly not a forest – but the sapling seems to be in waxing good health! – Ian Fraser

Guildford is holding next year’s UK Riichi Tournament so mark your calendars!

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