Hannover German Riichi Open 2009 report

So here is a report for osamus burogu about the tournament in Hannover yesterday from my point of view.

After raping COOLSANDERS, ramus and rA in a match on tenhou until 01:00 am and reading some more of umineko, I went to bed at 02:00 am. Too bad I had to get up at 04:30 again to catch my train that was departuring at 05:55 from the main train station here. During the 2 and a half hour ride to Hannover, which cost me 80 bux one way, I spent some time looking over the printout of the EMA riichi rule book, in order to get familiar with the actual gameplay with real tiles. This was going to be the first time that I will touch mahjong tiles after all.
So I enjoyed a rather empty ICE train until the stop before Hannover, (Göttingen) where about 2 dozen of old and noisy ladies boarded the train and annoyed me until my arrival in Hannover at 08:20. Maybe a bad omen I thought, since I heard that a lot of old (dutch) ladies were going to participate in the tournament. At least the train wasn’t late I thought, and called NPX since we made out to meet with drob at the Hannover main train station and maybe play a little warmup match in preparation to the battles that awaited us at the actual tournament.
After sipping a cheap, bad tasting coffee from the station and waiting until about 08:40, I finally met with NPX and his gf, and we continued waiting for drob. Unfortunatly, he was nowhere to be seen until about 09:00 and NPX didn’t have drobs cellphone number, but I gave drob NPX’s number the day before and he didn’t call either. So then NPX got a call from phrosen, saying that he and his buddy arrived at the jazz club where the tournament was held and NPX told phrosen to look for a tall swede with a leather coat. It turned out drob just arrived at the jazz club too and our whole wait was in vain, with no chance of playing a warmup match. He later said he forgot his cellphone at the hotel or something, whatever.
Me, NPX and his gf then took the subway to what seemed like the closest station to the location, and after walking more or less by instinct and a city map, we arrived at about 09:40 at the jazz club. The location is basically a catacomb-like basement bar, pretty small and narrow for us 48 players and several other poeple, but really nicely built into a place that relayed a good mahjong parlor atmosphere. So in front of the club we met phrosen, his buddy, drob and a few other poeple and went down to sign up and draw lots that decided our table schedule. And WHOA, what a schedule. It turned out that I will get a warmup match anyhow: The first table was drob, NPX, me and an older dutch lady.

But some words to the general rules before that:
Everyone started out with zero points in the beginning of the tournament (no 25k or whatever deposits in the hanchan, so a hanchan can’t end by ronnig someone to death), and then you just add all your losses and gains of the hands. Scores were only written down by one of the players (we used riichi sticks though) and there were scoring and yaku sheets provided at each table. Time limit for each of the 4 games was 90 minutes, if the game didn’t end the south round before that (which happened really scarcely). We used Red fives, but no open tanyao (yea). Uma was 3000 and 9000 points for second and first place from third and fourth respectively.

So, now up to the first game with us 3 players of the #mahjong crew.

The dutch lady was writing down our points and made the seat arrangement procedure, of which I have no idea how it worked (something with 6 tiles and rolling dice). Since this was the first time I was playing real mahjong and actually hold tiles in my hand, I was pretty nervous to fuck things up. I took quite some time building the wall, double checking that it had 17 tiles and almost screwed them all over the table when I tried to push my wall to form the square on the table. NPX started out as the dealer of the game. Luckily, I didn’t fuck that one up, contrary to NPX who forget to draw and discarded a tile and thus had a dead hand, meaning he couldn’t win or get into tenpai.
I had an average hand during the first hand and got into tenpai at about turn 13 with a pinfu, dora 2 hand IIRC. I actually intended to play really safe and defensivley for starters, but then the gambling adrenaline started to boil up within me and riichi’d with that hand. There were no other riichis at this time and my wait was obvious from my pond, so it’s not surprising that the game ended in a draw and I quickly regretted this premature riichi. Anyways +1500 tenpai payment, better than nothing I thought. Then Drob had a pretty good start and got 2 dealer mangan, one off NPX and one tsumo IIRC. He seemed already out of reach for this round, leading with almost 30k. After some more rounds of draws or smaller hands, one of me being dealer and another player winning, I made another late riichi in the game with a hand worth a mangan at best (if I get ura dora or ippatsu). The few remaining turns quickly went by, with me already expecting another draw. That’s when I took the last tile of the game and
キタ(), haitei, riichi, tsumo and 2 other han, mangan. Not too bad for my first hand ever, is it? I finally started to calm down a bit and eagerly awaited the next hands.
Later during the south round I got a nicely shaped hand that screamed at me to go for either toitoi or chitoitsu. I made the decision to got for toitoi when I had a set of the hatsu and two 5m (one red), which was the dora for this hand, and pon’d the ton, thus opening my hand. Some turns later, I drew a third 5m and was 1 shanten, making the hand possible toitoi, hatsu, dora 5 (three 5m, red 5m and a red 5s), maybe even sanankou with tsumo, a damn nice baiman that could get me in the lead before drob. My heart started to throb like hell again at this promising sight and even more sweat started to wet my hands with every draw. When NPX discarded the fourth 5m, my mind finally went blank for an instant and I just thought oh shit, what do I do now? Somehow, I managed to say “kan”, dumbfounding everyone at the table with that kan on the dora. Unsure of what to do now, I went to the draw of the dead wall while somebody else flipped over the new dora indicator.
Now guess what: The new kan dora was 5m as well. Holy shit. WTF? lol j/k. That’s pretty much everything which crossed my, and probably everyone else’s, at this moment. I couldn’t think rationally of anything. I didn’t know how many dora I had now, if this was a sanbaiman or even a counted yakuman, and I didnt even try to tink about it either. I just knew I had some extraordinary sand here, making this already awesome hand into a total monster. I don’t know if I was in tenpai at this point or 1 or 2 draws later, but I was at some point and couldn’t believe this. I cursed every draw and dealing that didn’t yield my winning tiles (5s 7p shanpon machi) and feared this game ending in another draw or someone secretly pulling a cheap tsumo/ron. But my sand didn’t run out, and after some turns that seemed like an eternity, I finally managed to tsumo on a 7p and win this fuckawesome hand. I still couldn’t make out how many han I had, I only knew it was toitoi, hatsu and a ton of dora and left the counting to the other players while I was trying to recover my sanity. Dora ten (10). Counted yakuman.
Fuck, did I ever get one on tenhou (4p)?! No idea. But I managed to remember there was a camera in my pocked, so I quickly made 3 pictures of this spectacle. Seems like I was shivering like shit though, so the two that also show the dora indicators are blurry as hell (in b4 “ur lying dude”). NPX was dealer and had to pay half of my 32k for this hand, but he stacked the wall with the dora and discarded the 5m I kan’d after all (you still have my pity though).

The game soon ended by exceeding the 90 minutes time limit and I finished, what a surprise, as first with +44k points. Not only was I very glad about the this godly luck, but also about how I didn’t deal into any hands and didn’t screw anything up or commit remarkable striking mistakes in the whole hanchan, (apart from the little “mistake?” of riichi’ng early in round 1) or at least I didn’t notice them.

First round tl;dr:
Did not deal into any hands

Won a mangan, and a counted yakuman (I think the best hand in the entire tourney, didnt hear of any other yakuman)
Finished first with +44k before drob, dutch lady and NPX


That monster hand also leaped me into first place in the entire tournament after round 1 and I spent the 20 minute break still puzzled and anticipating the next match.

On the second table, I played a german and a dutch lady, and a german guy that got second place on the end result of the whole tournament being the best german player and thus is the current german champion.

The game started with good hands for him, riichi’ng as dealer in early mid-game 2 or 3 times and winning a chi toi tsu and maybe something other. I stuck to defense here and took apart my hand when a tile seemed dangerous. My dealer round went by without me winning as well, and then the german lady won a haneman or dealer mangan off the dutch lady. After about half the time with me being third with about -3000, I told myself to do something and tried to play more aggressively, which resulted in dealing into a mangan of the german lady while I was in riichi modo. After another round with uselessly opening ~3-4 han hand, I finally got a good one and started building a pon palace™(©#mahjong). Luckily, I won this hand by running the dutch lady with toitoi, dora 3, sanshoku doukou, Haneman. That must have put me into third, close to second (the guy) but with the first place still being about 20k far away.

The last hand we played before the time ran out again was quite dramatic, with 2 people riichi’ng and the third opening her hand aggressively. I got into tenpai after that too with pinfu, dora 3, wating on 36s but decided not to riichi to keep options for the hand and because the situation seemed so dangerous. I dealt seemingly dangerous tiles to keep my tenpai later anyways and this took quite a few turns of tsumokiri’ing until late game when first place dealt the 3s and I could finally end this exciting last round roulette by ronning her. Still this pinfu, dora 3 7700 win wasn’t enough for first place, but I finished a solid second place with +15k points after the time ran out again.

Should I have riichi’d this round to aim for first? With riichi and one ura dora, I would have gotten haneman and topped that game as well. The guy that later got best german on place 2 got third about 13k points behind me IIRC.

Second round tl;dr:
Dealt into mangan during riichi modo

Won a haneman and almost mangan
Finished second with +15k


After the second round, I was still at the top of the whole field and we had a longer break with snacks and delicious cake being served for everyone at the bar.

At the third table, I was up against a dutch guy, a dutch lady and phrosen, so I played against every participant from #mahjong. The dutch guy was apparently an experienced player, currently ranking 6th place in the european riichi ranking and being third in the dutch ranking, which seems like quite something.
Anyways, the game went on slowly at the beginning, with some draws until phrosen started to win a hand. And he didn’t stop with that. Phrosen continued to win low til average hands, most off them by ronning the dutch puro guy, over and over. He obviously wasn’t very amused by this.
During this game, my concentration was apparently deteriorating with every hand, and I made a couple of noticeable but not fatal mistakes. For example, I should have chi’d tiles earlier that later were my winning tiles or I had a complex pattern of man tiles and I struggled to make out an optimal wait for them. I guess I also spent way more time thinking about discards than in the previous matches. The game kept being dominated by draws or wins by phrosen until the time ran out again, one time he even ron’d the dutch guy for a closed chinitsu iipeikou. I didn’t win a single hand during the whole session, but ended up second due to not dealing into any hands and thanks to tenpai payments. With the uma of +3000, I stood at second place with a glorious score of +5000 for this hanchan.

Third round tl;dr:
Didn’t deal into any hands

Didn’t win any hands (good thing they don’t have yakitori)

Phrosen kept raping us, especially the dutch puro guy
Finished second with +5k


Now I was only third place in the total ranking, with the first place being about 40k far ahead of even the second place. Still, I could of course be glad about how I didn’t fuck up too big until now. Exhaustion of the journey, the game stress and especially the uncomfortable seats at the tables kept creeping up on me though, and I hoped I won’t screw up the final table.

At the last table, I played 2 dutch ladies and Björn Schulz, the currently best ranked german player in the EMA riichi ranking. I mailed with him a few times before the tournament to ask a couple of questions about the rules. It seems like his games up until now went not very well in. In spite of this, he had a good start as dealer and got two mangan hands, one tsumo and one ron on one of the ladies IIRC. That game seemed already pretty much settled, and I even carelessly dealt into an open hand of one of the ladies, which cost me 5200. But things got way worse soon for me. Becoming more and more exhausted and losing concentration, I finally made my first fatal fuckups in this last game.
You know when you are south and are completely focused on sorting and analyzing your hand at the beginning, already deciding on which tile you will most like discard on your turn? Yea, I did that in the previous games as well, but I made the fucking mistake of discarding that tile without drawing a fourteenth tile from the wall first. Yea, a dead hand. Meaning I can’t win this one or even get into tenpai (no chombo though). FUCKDAMN SHITCUNTS. Of course it was my mistake and I had to take responsibility, so I raged hard within myself and tried to stock up safe tiles to just not deal into anyone’s hand until the round finally ended in a draw.
Shaking my head over such a retarded beginner mistake, the next round was approaching and I again got caught up into the starting procedure of analyzing my hand and being completely focused on this one, forgetting my previous mistake. While thinking some more and after hearing something requesting like “It’s your turn.” by Björn, I AGAIN discarded that fucking useless wind tile into the pond without drawing from the wall. FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF. Another dead hand.
Man, I did so well with not fucking up until now, but it really got back at me close before the end. So I again spent the round raging and trying to deal safe tiles, which soon ran out after one or two riichi during mid game. The round was won by tsumo or ron on one of the other players and I couldn’t do shit. Second and first place were already far ahead of me, being at something about -11k-ish and I couldn’t do much except playing more aggressively if I want to get into a positive score for this hanchan. After triple checking with everyone in the next round that I was following the correct procedure by drawing a tile from the wall, I got into tenpai with a mangan at best hand at about turn 13. I riichi’d this one, even though though there were not many turns left and the dealer riichi’d as well. Unfortunately, I drew the dealers winning tile briefly before the end and thus dealt into her dealer mangan. Another 12k points I gotta pay here, putting me into last within a hopeless situation since the game was soon ending too and it was still east third round, with me having yet to become dealer.
After another round, I finally got on the dealer spot with few time left. I got an okay hand and was in tenpai at about turn 7, but didn’t riichi yet because the hand wasn’t worth shit with no other yaku. After some more turns, I got it to be a tanyao and hoped for some magic sand yielding a bunch of ura dora from my 2 sets, so I riichi’d this one. To my surprise, I was able to tsumo the next turn on my winning tile but unfortunately, another player chi’d before that so I didn’t get the han for ippatsu. I still got 2 ura dora, making this hand into a nice dealer mangan and getting me out of last. We tried to quickly play another round, which ended after a couple of turns due to the time running out again.

Well, fuck. I got third with -10k points for this session, eliminating all possibilities of getting a top rank in the end result.

Fourth and last round tl;dr:
Dealt into a 5200 hand and a dealer mangan during riichi modo
Won a dealer mangan

Fucked up hard 2 times by forgetting to draw and thus resulting in a dead hand
Finished third with -10k


Although I didn’t get a top rank with these stupid fuckups during the last game, I guess I can be quite satisfied with my total score of +52.800, which put me into place 6, even before Björn and that dutch puro.

In retrospect, I’m really not sure of what to think of this result now. Obviously, this good 6th place is mainly thanks to loads of sand, that lucky awesome counted yakuman I pulled in the first session and I can’t say I had huge bad luck during all the games. On the other hand, I guess I also made an ok job at not dealing into people’s hands and not fucking up until the last game, even beating the second place and that dutch puro in games 2 and 3 respectively.
Of course you can’t really compare real games and online games, especially since I only played my first 4 real games there, but I suppose the general level of play is higher on the tenhou dan room.

The overall atmosphere and people were all nice and it was a fun day playing real mahjong for the first time. I will definitely try to come to the next year tournament in Hannover as well.

I left shortly after the award ceremony (7pm), receiving a certificate and some kind of whisk which everybody in the top ten got. The top three places got small trophies as well.

I was back home at about 11pm and after rambling about the day with the #mahjong folks for a few hours, I could finally catch some sleep after this long and exhausting day.

The next near upcoming tournaments are

  • In Vienna, July 26th
  • In Guildford UK, Aug 22nd

Just check out the mahjongnews calendar, riichi tournaments use “RR” rules.

I will most likely visit the Vienna one and try to signup for the Guildford tournament too.

Anyways, some pictures I took including the yakuman dora 10 hand.

A brief report, including a video and the ranking.

18 thoughts on “Hannover German Riichi Open 2009 report

  1. man, i wish i could have come to some tourney, since it’s not too far, but july sucks, not being able to travel alone sucks, and whisks suck.
    for being the first time you played with real tiles 6th must be quite good, also lol kazoe yakuman.
    but what i want to hear the most is: did you use any trick you learnt from Akagi? Like hinting at a tanpin and then going for a hell wait on a wind tile, or something like that.
    i can imagine the dutch ladies zawazawa’ing.

    1. Taiga:
      No , I didn’t (at least not consciously) try to mindfuck my opponents since I was so nervous and occupied with my own hands already. I don’t think the other guys I played were doing something like that either, but I can’t tell for sure. Most poeple come from chinese mahjong and don’t know some details of the riichi rules anyways. Also, many, especially the older ladies happiliy open kan’d when there were other riichis already.
      Now mindfuck your parents and get your ass to vienna with rA, Taiga_tan.

      =3=:
      =3=

      tyblazitar:
      Yea, quite some sand here. Thanks to TRA for giving me some the night before.
      I will try to come to the Kopenhagen tourney as well, but I can’t tell for sure yet.

      The Forger of Skies:
      >ramus sux
      ^

      Ruro:
      What? What kind of shitrules are that?!
      Also, I’m not osamu.

      puyo:
      Yes, it’s how umaikeiki said with the uma. Everyone started at zero points in the beginning of the tournament and we didn’t play with the usual 25k base points you get in a hanchan, so the end score is just the result of all your wins and losses.

  2. First time playing IRL, and Kazoe Yakuman? Holy shucking fit.

    Hm, I think I’ll maybe visit Denmark in October, seems pretty large, and would probably be an interesting experience.

  3. lol i just imagined old dutch ladies with long noses with zawa katakana writings behind them :D Also, cheer up Osamu real games are like this, when you play like the 8th hanchan and it’s 3am already fuckups just come naturally. Also at least this tournament used riichi rules, the last competition that i saw used europen riichi rules with stupid yaku-s like 1-4-7 beeing a chii for 1 yaku :P and with no furiten (seriously riichi with no furiten ? :P ) I hope i can go to this event next year :P

  4. Damn good, I wish there would be a few games not-family games near me so I can get out of my house and lose in a tournament or two.

  5. Ruro: Osamu doesn’t write all the posts on this blog – we’re a few that do. This one was posted by a guy named ronronronronron. Yeah, we think it’s a stupid name too.

  6. glad to hear that there is such a large-scale richii tourney outside Japan.

    I really want to join, but Europe is too far for me (sosad)

  7. One more point to add

    Is these tournament only counts the total of all the points in the games, while the place you get in each round becomes immaterial?

  8. Sounds like they had uma of +9k +3k -3k -9k so the place you get should have a small (6000 point) effect.

    And yeah there are like 7 people posting articles on this blog now. You have to check the tiny text under each post title.

  9. Very nice work there. I didn’t know about the tournament in Guildford, I think I’ll try and rope some of my friends into it.

  10. shit i fail hard, didn’t notice the name thingy. also by shit rules i mean that i saw some kind of european riichi variant that didn’t even had anything to do with the riichi i know (it was pretty much that every shitty combiantion was worth at least 1 yaku, no furiten rules , and as i mentioned before the 1-4-7 was 1 yaku combination there). Also these days i fucking fail hard at mj (getting 1 yaku hands or nothing). also ronronronronron is an unusual nickname but at least none will copycat it.

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