It was a typical english morning for the second UK riichi open in Guildford. The field was significantly greater than the previous UK open with 48 participants. There were also several new faces attending coming from mahjong university clubs across the UK. Several players from France had arrived to compete and also a small but strong selection of Finnish players. Last year’s winner, Ans Hoogland, was also present to defend her title. Following the trend of recent European riichi tournaments, there were five Han-chan planned and so the morning started early at 8.30am for registration. However, unlike recent tournaments, there was no bell for 15 minutes before the end.

I felt pressure being on home ground and also having done well so far this year. I’m also ashamed to say that i haven’t gotten much practice in recent months However, my fears were unfounded for the first four games and perhaps the break in play made me play mahjong with a fresher mind. I scored highly in the games where luck was on my side and pulled in to play defensively when lady luck was not with me. A basic strategy, I know, but one too easily forgotten when stress comes into play.

There wasn’t one particular hand that stood out in my games. Each table was tight though and the level of play was very high. It was especially interesting to meet those players with whom I hadn’t had a chance to play with yet.

The part of the tournament that stood out most for me was the final table. I was drawing first position with Steven Chowney, also from the UK. This last table was where my game suffered. I’d like to blame it on fatigue, but if I’m honest, it was the stress and this is almost always my downfall in tournaments.

Steven managed to pass me by a good margin to take first. I took second and French player Nicolas Poilleux took third.

In conclusion, I need to learn some stress management if I want to improve my game further and also keep up with all these new players joining the tournaments.

Finally, a big thank you to the organizers. Another great day for mahjong in the UK and i hope British players can start to make a real impact on the continent soon!=

RM on Social