As announced a while ago, a couple of #osamuko IRC denizens gathered in the Nordic city of Linköping for the Swedish Open Riichi Mahjong Championship 2013, a small 16-players tournament in mid-February. And it turned out to be quite a successful weekend for some of them.
We’ve compiled a bunch of reports and impressions from the attendants, check our stories (in alphabetical order) below:
As the tournament date drew closer and the first few arrived in menkoping, we–the hosts–still had yet to figure out how many we needed to accommodate. Or where. We also didn’t know when people were arriving, or who would be picking them up from the station. Worst of all, we had yet to buy whiskey for later.
Luckily, people somehow ended up arriving roughly at the same time (expect for mikolan, but he somehow managed by himself). And once everyone had gathered, everything had somehow been dealth with. The organizational mess I expected didn’t happen. Crisis averted.
As is usual for me in tournaments like these, whether in menkoping or elsewhere in europe, I’m more interested in everything happening around the tournament than the tournament itself. Highlights including osamu bringing shin ramyun, smoking victory cigars and and the realization that even though we planned fuck all beforehand, everything turned out all right.
Social play the first night was all about drinking Guinness and Bowmore while jamming on someone’s ukulele. The guys whose apartment we played at also had some guests over, which made for a lively night with some getting more drunk than others. The second night though, people had already begun heading back home and the festive spirit of yesterday was mostly gone. Still, we played until almost morning when the hosts decided we were being too loud and asked us to leave.
As for the tournament, I was unexpectedly appointed judge. Powers which I used a few times during the course of the day to not be a dick. Small mistakes which affected play to a minor degree were excused, and there weren’t any occasions were someone fucked up enough for play to be interrupted. As for my games, I finished second on four out of five tables. And I also finished second overall. Lunch came in boxes and a few of the tournament participants were a bit noisy during play, but overall things went well. After the tournament, everyone gathered for taco burgers and there we concluded that while there were some issues with organization, people had enjoyed coming here. And even though I didn’t take part in making the tournament happen, that made me feel a bit fuzzy inside.
The day kicked off with me almost getting lost on the way to the toilets, which is rather amazing considering they were just next door. At least that made me by chance find fso, Osamu and ron⁵ behind locked doors, so I could let them in. I also got the toilets pointed out for me! With that and some delays sorted out, it was time for a tense first game featuring Osamu and ron⁵, which I somehow managed to end up on top of. The game only made it to South 1—not due to slow play but due to a lot of draw rounds and dealer repeats—so who knows how it would have ended up had we played the full hanchan.
The second game was my low-point; I made the mistake of relaxing because two of my opponents didn’t seem to have much experience. I dealt in multiple times and didn’t win a single hand, making for a crushing fourth place. The third game started out well enough with consecutive wins and I was feeling confident, but then my mind snapped. As dealer in riichi with a 3456678s shape I was so insistent on pinfu that I didn’t realise I was waiting on 3s as well, until I drew and discarded one, whereupon I closed my eyes and asked myself what the hell I just did. The round ended up a draw and I could feel the flow seeping out beneath my fingernails, and sure enough, my next hand started out five tiles from tenpai. I think this is the stuff that fuels belief in occult mahjong. Next dealer got two straight mangan and I can be glad I ended up in second place. Fourth game was a ron-fest that was over with almost half an hour left until the gong, featuring me in a moment of hubris dealing into a haneman, forfeiting first place to once again get second. Friendly reminder of something obvious I’m usually aware of: a player not having discarded a single tile from one suit eleven turns in doesn’t necessarily mean their wait is in that suit. On to the fifth and last game, which quickly turned into a very tense battle against fso for first place. Two haneman ron got me 30k from the same player (poor guy) which gave me an ample lead that held to the end, although I could always feel fso breathing down my neck. Indeed, he was poised to overtake me in the very last hand but I was thankfully saved by Moah. All in all, I ended up in fourth place, which I’m very happy with, especially given the various mistakes I made. “Play like shit, get rewarded” the saying goes and that might have put me in the top three, but instead I got punished whenever I did, which is frankly a good thing. I had a great time overall and rounding it out by going back to an apartment for whisky and casual mahjong until we got chased out for making too much noise (sorry!) around four in the morning only made it better.
I hadn’t really played much since Copenhagen back in September so I was a bit nervous, and losing big in the social play the night before didn’t really help. It seemed luck was on my side however, I kept getting great starting hands on my first table and managed to get a lot of tsumos (still can’t take a hand off of fso though orz). Went into the second table still feeling the rush from the first and managed to snag first with a mangan chiitoi, ending up at a 200 point difference after the counters were taken into account. There was some discrepancy in the score table so we had to redo a lot of calculations, which was very tense ;_; Being in first place with a ~40k lead got me a bit to cocky on my third table, I got much slower hands than before and started bleeding points from tenpai payments. The turning point was me getting impatient and dealing into a daburon with a risky tile to try and keep my tenpai (I made the same mistake in Copenhagen, except it wasn’t daburon). That pretty much settled my loss at the third table and I sat down at the fourth feeling a bit on tilt. I play really bad on tilt and my play at the fourth table was just terrible, and I ended up fourth again. Now at a few thousand points into the negative my focus shifted to simply trying to get back to a positive score. It didn’t work out at all and in the end I finished fourth again and ended up about -50k and 12th/16 place. I was in a rush to get to the train which was leaving so I had to leave just as we finished, and therefore missed the price ceremony and whatever followed.
Overall I had a great time, if I can learn to not be so impatient at times and do reckless plays I could probably improve a lot.
(To be added later)
I was IDless for a long time, so, last year I applied for a passport so I could attend more EMA tournaments. Last year I wanted to go to Paris or even Warsaw but I didn’t register to them because was afraid I wouldn’t get the passport in time.
Sometime in January fso announced that the Swedes will be hosting a tournament (I think, knowing fso, the announcement would definitely be last minute!).
Before I left the UK for the first time ever I visited London, had a look at Buckingham Palace, the advertisement thing that is somehow a tourist attraction and the Sherlock Holmes museum. I also went to the arcade on Goodge Street but that place was dead.
Anyway, let’s skip ahead to the mahjong (’cause I’m too lazy to write more about my trip and ron^5 is getting impatient) I did pretty well in the pre-tournament games (112 or something) but I did mediocre during the actual tournament. I would like to say I was aiming for +-0 and I had forgot to add in the 300 point bonus from a renchan during the last hand but alas, I’m no Saki.
They say good baduk players can remember games days after they play or even watch them. If the same can be said about good mahjong players then, after sitting down and attempting to write this part, I can safely confirm I am not a good player.
While most of my games are mostly blur, the most memorable game was the 3rd for several reasons:
1: Only game I came 1st (my placing for the tournament was 33132)
2: It was a close game, with me being above 2nd by about 1000 points
3: I like to think that I was the one who stopped mikolan from winning the tournament even though I did not participate in the double ron.
Other memorable moments include some guy intently staring at the tiles in his wall before stacking them.
It was my first tournament after Copenhagen last year where I first heard the Swedish guys discussing to hold a tournament of their own too. When it became clear that Osamu and so many others from IRC were going (most of them being from the area anyways), I just decided to sign up too. fso was kind enough to provide lodging at his place and we spent a lot of time at other people’s places, making for a pretty nice weekend full of Mahjong.
After taking a plane to Stockholm Arlanda Airport on Friday and a subsequent 2.5 hour ride in a crammed train, I arrived in Linköping on Friday evening. I actually forgot my mobile phone back home, which was uh- not so good, but thanks to free wifi and Mikolan I managed to get in touch with fso in order to pick me up from the Linköping station. Conveniently, Moah from France was just about to arrive at the same time so we got him as well and went to some guys shared flat where we proceeded to spend the rest of the evening playing Mahjong and having good Whiskey. No being home along on a fridey night I’m afraid.
Time for the tournament on the next day, which start was delayed a bit by one player sleeping in. fso and I were wearing our glorious Tenhou T-Shirts and boy, did that work out in our favor.
I don’t remember too much from my actual games so I’ll summarize it briefly:
During the tournament, I played solidly defensive, not dealing in too much but not winning big either. The largest hand I won was a single dealer mangan and the highest I had to pay was nondealer mangan, I think. My play was also rather conservative in terms of calling except for one or two early chinitsu/honitsu attempts. So “as usual”, I was not hit by huge strokes of luck or curses, like a guy who dealt into an damaten chinitsu ryanpeikou dealer baiman (holy shit) early on at one of my tables.
In my first 3 sessions where I placed 2nd, the 1st place at each table was taken by the fellow #osamuko guys who ended up on places 2-4 overall. I then went on to win my remaining 2 hanchan, actually putting me in first place on the overall ranking and making me the official “Swedish” champion. Hooray!
There was some usual divergence in the skill levels of players as there were a few beginners, but most were playing pretty good, taking defense into account and keeping up a reasonable game speed. Only my last table felt noticeably slow and we didn’t even reach south round in this one. The only slight complaint I would express is that sometimes, where familiar players faced each other, it could get casually noisy at times.
I again noticed that under pressure, I have problems dealing with more complex shapes. I sometimes end up “rushing” a discard and one or two turns later regretting having dealt that tile from a complex patten. I seriously need to harness my bamboo skills I suppose. Apart from that, I am not aware of particular blunders in my games (should have kept damaten instead of Riichi one time), which of course doesn’t mean there could have been none.
But anyways. after placing 2nd in the UK Open last year and 4th in Copenhagen about half a year ago, I reached some pretty decent results recently, if I dare to say so myself.
After a short winners ceremony with trophies for the first 3 places and cleaning up the place a bit, we went out to eat and –obviously– play some more Mahjong afterwards, keeping the spirit alive. For the record, I then did win a hanchan between us 4 best players there.
Finally, after a hard day it was time to enjoy a nice Cuban cigar of victory for me, fso and Yazphier under a cold Swedish night sky.
I also spent Sunday in Linköping and left for Germany on Monday morning again. Overall I had a really great time and would love to visit again for another tournament, hopefully next year, or meeting the guys at some other European tournament in the meantime.
Yazphier (3rd), ron⁵ (1st), fso (2nd)
You could probably say that Tenhou Shirts provided us with Mahjong superpowers similar to what Tacos can do
It all begun with some friendly play at fredo and Sams place. Being drinking involved the hiki (main arranger) turned quite drunk and the evening late. Unfortunate this resulted in the club president coming late for the first hanchan.
First hanchan, starting oya against Moah, fredo and jakob, the game felt stable but slow, the gong sounding already at south 1.
Loosing my oya, I was in the lead but within reach of both moah and fredo. My attempt to finish quickly was unsuccessful and the game ended with jakob on an adrenaline chock, a kokushi tsumo jumping him from the steady last to first place. What to say, quite satisfied to end up second against a yakuman.
Second hanchan, playing ron^5 and with two fellow clubmembers. The game succeded into an almost full east round with ryuukyoku, at a point I was going for a iipeiko chinitsu that magically turned into a single wait ryanpeiko chinitsu being my first ryanpeiko ever. After that the game was set.
Third hanchan totally shaked me, playing two fellow clubmembers and Mikoto.
After been playing those clubmembers many many time the only threat I saw was Mikotos unlimited sand supply as displayed during the friendly play the night before. This however was a mayor setback as not only did Mikoto get off balance after forfeighting a riichi tsumo but also did I deal into a riichi ippatsu putting the believed weakest player in the lead. This lead was strengthened even further as another riichi ippatsu was dealt.
After this devistating hanchan I was now upto both osamu and fso.
It started with typical fso start, taking a strong lead with a few mangan. During the south round I was still about 10k behind and while second place would be satisfactory, I got hands that gave me the opportunity to take the lead.
Especially as I would be oya during the last hand and with plenty of time. The hanchan ended with me taking first place by a damaten haitei.
Feeling secure, the last hanchan against mikolan and hiki started. That Mikolan was off balance by his earlier losses was noticeable and hiki with his psuedoaggro style made stable play easy.
Overall I’m satisfied with the tournament. It was a litte small with only 16 participants but almost everything went smooth. Giving us ideas on how to make it even better for the next tournament.