World Series of Mahjong Riichi Event

Sigh.

Will it be my eternal state of Mahjongness that I will always have a lot to learn.

Reachmahjong.com and World Mahjong Limited held the second ever World Series of Mahjong Reach Event yesterday at Venetian Macau yesterday.

And I didn’t win. Again.

OK, OK, reporting from a non-Garthe-centric point of view, it was our second event here in Macau and we’re starting to get a feel for this thing.

Congratulations to Tanaka, winner of the 2010 WSOM Reach Mahjong event!

A small field gathered Thursday morning. Six qualified from tournaments held in Japan: Hiroaki Suzuki, Teruko Kemmoku, Yasumi Inada, Fumitaka Tanaka, Saori Azuma and Katsuhiko Kamata. Another player qualified online through Mahjong Club, Shaofu. And the rest of us bought in directly the morning of the event.

The first round consisted of 9 games and the top 4 players would move on to the final round taking 25% of their accumulated scores and play 2 games to decide the winner.

Kamata slowly and methodically put together a lead and was leading the field with 62.2 points by the end of the 5th game. I much more haphazardly had worked my way into second place with 28.8 and the way I got there highlights why I’m still not a tournament winner.

Back to Garthe centric mode, as I was playing so I only remember my games. I jumped out to an early lead in the first game with a 12,000 point hand on my turn as dealer. Then a couple hands later I turned right around and game those points to Kemmoku on her turn as dealer. She’d laid a trap by reaching with the 5 of cracks while waiting for the 2. Of course it looked suspicious but when I got to one away from ready with a Simples, Peace, Dora hand, I couldn’t resist throwing the 2 which completed her Double run along with the Red Dragon, Reach, and a Hidden Dora. That drop let Azuma slide into 1st place for that game, and I was off to a very mediocre start.

I finally got things moving on the last hand of the 3rd game, my turn as dealer when I drew my own winner on a monster,

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I wavered on reaching with this hand as I was in such a position that someone throwing the 4 or me drawing either the 4 or 7 would assure me 1st place. But one of the differences between this tournament and other Reach tournaments was that each turn as dealer would last only one hand, i.e., there were no continuances. That meant that that hand was my one chance to win the game so I decided to go for it. It was even more nerve wracking when Shaofu followed my own reach with a reach of his own. But I drew my own winner for 6000 points from each player and a huge boost in the standings.

I followed that win with a big loss put myself right back were I was before my win and that was the way it was to be for me and Tanaka making it to the final round. We both had big wins followed by equally big losses so that we needed to make something happen on the last game to make it to the finals. Kamata assured his spot with slow methodical play and Azuma played slowly and methodically after building up her points in the 1st 2 games. But I think that final push at the end gave Tanaka and I a bit of an edge going into the final game.

I started out by throwing 7700 to the first dealer Tanaka, on a reach, 1st turn, Hidden Dora hand. It was annoying because I had been ready with just a Peace hand for 7 turns already when he’d reached, but my winner just didn’t come out. I got lucky the next hand drawing my own winner and hitting two Hidden Dora for a monster 3000/6000 points. I followed that up with another Mangan hand on my turn as dealer and got lucky on Kamata’s turn as dealer to draw my own winner after only 5 draws.

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With a big win in that first game, I just needed to hold my position in the second game to take the tournament. Alas, Impatient Garthe reared his silly head again in the second hand and threw 12,000 points Azuma on a Reach, 1st turn, Peace, 3 Colored Runs, Hidden Dora. That sealed my fate. Having dropped to 4th place, Tanaka need only to make sure he finished ahead of me and did so by winning a couple small hands here and there. I thought I had a chance on the second to last hand, reaching with

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West was Dora and drawing my winner would put me right back in the thick of things. Unfortunately, Kamata as dealer reached and drew his own winner to end my chance and even take another Reach stick from me. I reached again on the last hand with a much smaller chance of winning, but before I could even get close, Kamata threw 1500 to Tanaka, not only ending my hopes, but just dropping him down to 4th place by less than 1 point.

So the final standings put me in second, Azuma in 3rd and Kamata on the bubble, a point his buddy Takashi Ogura was quick to point out. “Bubble Boy! Bubble Boy!”

Congratulations again to Tanaka on solid play to win the second WSOM Reach Event. Looking forward to seeing more challengers at the next one! But first, on to the Main Event!!!

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