Edewecht 2014 tournament report, possible EMA rule changes

I (Simon) am very happy to have won the EMA 4-hanchan tournament at Edewecht, 2014-10-25.

Edewecht is considered the German mahjong capital. Many proliferous tournament players from Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark were competing. Mahjongnews.com has the final rankings and a photo.

The lunch buffet was amazing, as was the cake! And we’ve had many friendly discussions.

Playing a tournament calls for a different strategy than online play. Tournaments have few hanchans, with prizes only for the top few. So, you wish to push ahead strongly. It is still often correct to defend and fold, but I’ve pushed some hands I’d have folded online.

Online play is evaluated over many hanchans, and average table placing/average scores matter. The strategical difference is even larger on tenhou.net, where dan-ranked players have to avoid fourth place at all costs.

The best example is from my final tournament hanchan, the 4th hanchan. Between the 3rd and 4th hanchan, I’m ranked 2/27 on the wall list, about 7,000 points behind Stefanie. Several more trail similarly closely. To maintain a chance at top-3, I pretty much have to win the last hanchan.

It’s South round, 3rd game, I’m oya. Table scores were approximately:
North: -17,000
Simon: -2,000
South: 6,000
West: 13,000

The South player has ponned 4 times:

3z3z3z 2z2z2z 5z5z5z 6z6z6z 0z

Tsuuiisou was unlikely from the player’s discards, so it’s a baiman. Nan is a double wind for this player.

I ignore it and push this iishanten:

8p8p8p 6p6p 4p4p 4s0s5s6s7s8s (6p is dora)

…to the following tenpai, then declare a riichi:

8p8p8p 6p6p 4p4p 0s5s5s6s7s8s (6p is dora)

With all four winning tiles still in the game, I tsumo a couple turns later for a sanankou oya baiman.

Dealing into the open hand would have meant I lose oya, finish the table as last player, and fall below rank 10/27. :-) In online play, especially while still in iishanten, I would have folded the hand.

Preparing a rules revision

I’m a committee member for revision of the EMA Riichi Competition Rules (RCR). Besides fixing errors and holes in the rules, we have competing design guidelines:

  • Should we do what the players want as a majority?
  • Should we do what is common in Japanese rulesets?
  • Should we do what is simplest from a game-rule-designing viewpoint?
  • Should we do what we, a small group of 7 Europeans, reason is best?

Between the hanchans in Edewecht, I was distributing a little survey, to find out what the playerbase wants. The survey was asking about these possible major changes:

Open tanyao (introduce, it’s a standard rule): players seem 50-50 split; open tanyao is likely to come
Red fives (remove, most tourney rulesets lack them): players seem to like red fives
Kuikae nashi (forbid swap-calling chii/pon): players like it forbidden
Ryanhan shibari (remove 2-han minimum, it’s uncommon in Japan): players like having it

I was only asking for personal preference here. I’ve removed any hint on the survey about what is Japanese tournament standard. The survey had several more questions for the less-proliferous rules like renhou, nagashi mangan, kiriage mangan, 3-second rule etc. My little website lists most discussion items, but the committee hasn’t decided on anything yet.

The Dutch players were conducting this survey a little earlier this month. Many of them would like open tanyao, but would like to keep the red fives. One reason might be that their club is called Red Fives Riichi. :-)

The committee is still gathering info (yes, it’s a year after it was founded) and will begin discussion in November. Sadly, not all committee members would like publicly visible discussion. I will relay interesting developments on IRC.

Best regards
Simon

5 thoughts on “Edewecht 2014 tournament report, possible EMA rule changes

  1. Too bad, y’don’t have discussion threads on each of the rule considerations. Interesting scenarios, by which some I haven’t even considered. So, here’s my take on them, on pure opinion:

    ** Definition of group, meld — In the Wiki, I abandoned the term “meld”. Overall, I stuck with “tile group” coupled with “closed/open”.
    ** Tenpai definition — For an odd situation, what if every waiting tile ended up in the dead wall?
    ** Confusing yaku, han — I blame Euro sources for confusing me on the difference before, until Osamu corrected me.
    ** Haitei rinshan — No. The possibility is being confused with some word definitions. The “haiteihai” (last tile draw) is defined as the very last tile drawn in the live wall. So, no dead wall tile can ever be called for haitei.
    ** Renhou — A very confusing case. Can’t even start with this one, other than it shouldn’t be yakuman.
    ** Sekinin barai and honba — Agreed. Make the discarder pay for the honba. As an alternative, make the Pao player pay for the honba. Splitting would just over complicate things.
    ** Choice of yakuman — Just bring in multiple yakuman. ( :p ) In the case of the single yakuman rule, then Pao should apply per the Daisangen example described in this section. In short, if Pao is involved, then Pao is invoked.
    “Multiple yakuman are scored as if only one of the hand’s most expensive yakuman had been achieved. ”
    No such thing as the more expensive yakuman, because they’re all equal.
    ** Too fast play — Not the fault of the faster players. The slower player needs to learn how to play and sort tiles faster, or even read the hand while unsorted.
    ** Timing for calls — The Japanese didn’t like the 3-second rule. I don’t either.
    ** Discard rows — The length of the last discard row should be a non-issue. Row length is merely customary anyways.
    ** Furiten ends on call — Player should be furiten until the next turn, regardless of any prior tile calls.
    ** Chankan furiten — Interesting. What if a player attains tenpai sometime after the shouminkan?
    ** Chankan and ippatsu — Chankan can combine with Ippatsu. Allowing this combination forces players to reconsider the kan call immediately after the riichi.
    ** Tenpai revelation order — Interesting situation, where Ryuukyoku may actually determine the result of the game at Oorasu.
    ** Exhaustive draw timing — For Ryuukyoku, yea, I agree with the checks: (a) check Nagashi, (b) check for Chombo, and then (c) apply Ryuukyoku as normal. For timing, see Agari yame.
    For renchan with the occurance with Nagashi, the dealer has to be tenpai – whether or not the dealer earned the Nagashi.
    If chombo occurs not at the fault of the dealer, then the dealer should not be punished with a seat rotation. If the dealer commits the chombo, then yes, rotate the winds.
    ** Nagashi mangan — Nagashi with a kan call? No. Dead nagashi hand? Then the nagashi cannot be earned. The dead hand case should be consisent for all cases.
    ** Agari yame — Interesting case where Ryuukyoku may actually determine the end of the game. To avoid the tenpai reveal timing, then agari yame should be used. The case, where last dealer can indefinitely milk the dealer position for points, is a gambling situation anyways.
    ** Riichi stick splitting — As an American, we hate ties. For left over riichi sticks at the end of the game, use the Seat Wind tie-breaker to determine the direction to award them.
    ** Dead hand — Overall, I’m quite lenient with dead hands; as I generally do not use them. To go through the questions here:
    — Dead hand is best applied with a declaration first, just as riichi itself is declared.
    — Dead hands should not be able to do anything, including riichi.
    — Kyuushuu kyuuhai? A dead hand on haipai? As ridiculous as it sounds, no, it shouldn’t be able to call that.
    — No on Nagashi.
    — If the dead hand occurs after a riichi call, then chombo should not be applied. Who can predict the future here? If the riichi call occurs after the dead hand, then that’s an obvious yes.
    ** Wall toppling penalty — This can be quite a pet peeve. Under no circumstances should a player ever do this; but it happens.
    — To really discourage this, then apply the dead wall penalty.
    — For blatant cases, then apply the chombo.
    — For rage quitting, then ejection (hope this never happens).
    ** False win penalty — Invalid wins = chombo. All players should know what is required for winning a hand. No excuse here.
    ** Chombo payments — Variable. The tournament/event should specify how chombo is handled.
    ** Chombo after gong — After the gong? As in time limit? Well, if that happens, allow one more hand – and that’s it. Though, imagine someone deliberately invoking chombo just to get that one more hand — and then proceeds to produce a baiman, or something like that.
    ** Scoresheet verification — Tab everything. While I find it funny for one player out of the four responsible for maintaining score during the game, it is something within my own capability — jotting down every point exchange. If players question score records or wish verification, then it is the player’s right to check and make sure accuracy. For speed, I note han-fu, players involved, players calling riichi, chombo, and ryuukyoku. instead of han-fu, why not points? It’s actually easier to check back.
    ** Ryanhan shibari nashi — Ryanhan shibari used to shorten a dealer’s renchan count. Yea, increasing the difficulty for the dealer to retain renchan makes no difference in the long run anyways. Plus, nashi will force non-dealers to find ways to force the wind rotation anyways. Then again, I bring out this honba 10 game:
    http://tenhou.net/0/?log=2014010103gm-00a9-0000-ca27a20c&tw=2&ts=9
    What could the other players have done to stop that miracle rush?
    ** Kuitan ari — Many like open tanyao. Use it.
    ** Akadora nashi — Red dora is a matter of preference. With or without, the game is generally the same anyways.
    ** Kuikae — Yup. Should be outright forbidden.
    ** Daisuushii — Your choice on using “double yakuman” or not. Since multiple yakuman are not used, then no point in having double yakuman either.
    ** No abortive draws — Disagree removing any of them, as they provide exits from precarious situations.
    ** No nagashi mangan — Nagashi is not complex.
    ** Kiriage mangan — I never heard of kiriage until seeing Maru-jan. Either-or here.
    ** No kazoe yakuman — Kazoe’s are wonderful. :p
    ** Chombo payment — Tournament specification.
    ** Smaller uma — Can pretty much do almost anything here.

    Well, that’s my 2 x 50 cents.

  2. Kinda forgot bout it while filling our national survey but maybe you could discuss some sort of ranking change so non-playing refs would be getting some ranking points for their services :?. Maybe something like their current (at the time of tournament) ranking + 50 pts but no more than 750-800 with points weight 1, 2 or 3 depending on tournament’s mers grade (1 for m1, 1-2 for m2, 2-3 for m5)

    1. (If I were European…)
      I’d be all for giving refs 800pt at the weight of the tournament. Refs are supposed to have mastered the game to a certain level anyways.

      That and stop Russian rating inflation in the EMA. A 17-person event should never count substitutes or fake players as placeholders (i.e. 17th getting 158 power points instead of 0.)

      But screw it, I don’t count because yurop.

  3. I’m no tournament player, but I like open tanyao and red fives. But if they’re not in play, I don’t care.
    I don’t know about EMA Ruleset… But what about the kandora indicator revealing time. Does EMA applies the fast revealing: whichever the kan type you reveal the kandora indicator the moment before you discard or claim rinshan kaihô. Or another way is used?

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