WSOM Main Event Day 1 – Cool!

In keeping with my previous assessments of tournaments with beers, they’re all awesome.

Today was the first day of the Main Event of World Series of Mahjong. Following on the heels of my performance in the Reach event, I was looking to take the Series by storm today.

Well, I’ve taken it a little bit more by breeze, but at least I’ve finished the first day positive. I have to say, of the players I’ve been up against so far, I feel like the level of play has risen considerably from 2 years ago.

With the acceptance of the Chicken Hand, a hand with no hand points, I assumed the game would simply become a flurry of pons and chows as players rushed to make the fastest hands possible. That has certainly not been the case as most of the hands I’ve seen players aiming for have been high in point values. And while aiming for those hands, they’ve also been generally chincy with tiles that looks suspiciously wanted by other players. Defense?!?!?

So no surprise here that the high point hands that I had such an easy time winning two years ago have been harder to come by this time around. I have gotten a few, but then I’ve had to pay for quite a few too. The worst was a 3 Colored Runs I threw into on the last hand of the last round today. I was shooting to finish the round positive and had gotten to ready with a Mixed Outside Hand:

7c-8c-9c-9d-9d-1b-2b-3b-8b-9b-W-W-W

In case readers are not familiar with the way the WSOM rules work, ponning West there doesn’t actually make the hand any cheaper like it would in Reach Mahjong. Thus it’s in your interest to pon or chow if such a hand seems viable. My wait wasn’t so great, but then, the reward was considerable if someone would just throw my 7! Unfortunately what came was the 2 of cracks which happened to be someone’s single tile wait. And she had 3 Colored runs and Peace and Simples too boot! Ouch! 135 to put me down for the round and diminish my hard-earned positive score so far. But like I said, an expensive hand that the player had clearly aimed for putting together.

Jenn feels the opposite, and has correspondingly gigantic scores to corroborate. She finished with a whopping 480 point round to propel herself to what I would have to imagine to be at least the top 10. I would use such a win to pat myself on the back and congratulate myself on a round well played. She suspects that maybe the level of play has dropped to help her out. (Jenn’s note: Actually, I’m pretty sure I have just been lucky on Day 1. I have lots of time to lose all those points on Day 2!)

In fact, Jenn’s not the only one doing well. Kazuya Kojima, Shintaro Konno, and Makoto Sawazaki were all in the top 20 after 2 rounds and finished strong in the 3rd too. We’ll see tomorrow as we each face more of the field. How strong are we?

Mmmmmmm, Mahjong.

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