Leaving home for mahjong tournament in Paris, some snowflakes, 40 minutes early. Bus arrive and leaves on time. Lucky as the bus to Arlanda was 2(!) hours late due to the weather, I mean fuck, I wouldn’t even call this snow. Apparently a lot of trains were also canceled.
On the bus, playing some ketsui doing some minor progress after getting used to the bumpy driver. But ends up seasick after a good 50 minutes. Try to get some sleep.
Apparently southern Sweden has been struck by the storm, Sven.
Almost 2 hours to kill, luckily they serve beer. Also started Ghost Trick while waiting for the flight. Paris airport went as smooth as it could. Mere 10 minutes before sitting on my next shuttle. Why must people be rude and leave no leg space for the people behind.
Finally in Paris, metro smells of urine, but the train itself is quite nice, 11 hours after departure have I arrived in the grandeur mansion, even managed to take a tram detour to Brimborion towards a wrong Versailles.
Evening well spent testing The last of us, some beer and watching some gaming with Moah and a nap.
Morning came, had a good rest, coffee and smoke and a broken psp, luckily it’s only the umd reader. A problem I’ve fixed before, but cracked games will have to suffice for the rest of the trip.
In the venue, served with some refreshments the atmosphere is quite nice, the venue itself is good, however all tables (except one) are set with (modified) huge Chinese sets. However, after playing a hand or two I realize they are quite nice, and even if they are huge, I prefer them before the ones used in Guildford/Windsor.
First hanchan; Playing two British and one French. Starts out with Lester getting something huge. Riichi ippatsu pinfu sanshoku or something like that….The game continues in his favor with no real opportunity for big wins and I end up 2nd just below 0.
Food break, sandwiches….
Second hanchan; Playing the Winner of the tournament; my hotel manager, who took the early lead; and another French. It was a fairly even game that I felt was satisfying even if it ended with me being third.
Third hanchan; Another British opponent, Bielby. This game was really interesting yet frustrating. East 3:1 we have four honba, 2 riichi sticks and no real payments done. Dealer is early taking a dragon and could clearly be going for a honitsu. Myself in a tanpin 3 dora tenpai I decide to throw the 1-pin (3 2-pin gone). This was however the game’s downfall as he apparently also had toitoi… The rest of the game ended without any big scores from anyone and I ended at -16.9 (+uma) purely due to additional tenpai payments and tsumos.
Last hanchan for the day and I’m playing 3 unknown (to me) players. This round starts with a kan palace and I was quickly 2nd with big distances in both directions. Last hand I notice a player swapping and looking at the tiles in the dead wall. Didn’t mention anything as I didn’t know how to prove it and as the player being dead last I couldn’t see how it would have beneficial. I however mentioned this to Moah afterwards to let him know to keep his eyes open in future games.
End of first day. 21st of 28 with a total score of -39k… I dealt into a total of two hands (the other was a small one into Moah) but nevertheless wasn’t winning enough. The atmosphere was still nice and afterwards we went eating some Chinese food with some of the organizers and then got the train back home.
DS battery behaving stupid again…
Next day, more coffee and some pastry for breakfast…
First hanchan; I played the substitute player and the Thomas brothers. It didn’t go that well as I, while declaring riichi, dealt into a mangan to Quentin. He later got a tsumo chinitsu iipeiko taking a mayor lead and I ended up being last. After the game, the substitute player gave me some tips regarding my shows and tells which I kinda suspected, always good to get such feedback. I was also during the day paying special attention for people who might fiddle with the wall due to the previous incident but didn’t see anything.
Second hanchan; Played the person ending 3rd, and two more players I didn’t know anything about. I started having the flow to easily build medium-sized hands while defending putting me in an early lead. Do, my kamicha, was pressuring my lead quite nicely and while he was oya I decided to try and go for a quick open yakuhai, possibly chanta, but when I got my south I just ignored the chanta. However, towards the end, after my toimen had declared riichi I drew a hatsu and got scared. To no use of course as the other three were open in my hand. Damn I felt stupid when the hand ended. Nevertheless, managed to keep my lead and finish with 24k (+uma). First win of the tournament but still with a negative total. Also, during this hanchan the cheating player got caught while playing one of the organizers. The player ended up admitting to cheating.
Another sandwich for dinner and I managed to take a crappy green cheese one which ended up half eaten in the trash.
At the start of the third hanchan I received a KitKat for getting first in the previous hanchan. Choice between wasabi and strawberry cheesecake, always pick the pink one.
Last hanchan; Starting as west, my toimen obviously going for yakuhais early. Didn’t feel any direct pressure from any of them I easily got a positive score but with the shimocha getting a lot of early riichis made it tough to build hands and get the lead. When switching to nanba my toimen suddenly started go for concealed hands and managed in the second to last hand win a riichi (ippatsu?) tanpin dora putting me in the lead. Being oya in the last hand with a low lead, I was really glad it finished with a opened tsumo yakuhai. First with only 4,400…
Due to problems with the computer I couldn’t double check my scores but I think I ended up with an astonishing +6000 points or so, putting me somewhere between 10-12 depending on how they handle the substitute and the disqualification. Moah ending 3 positions higher up.
No social play after the tournament so Moah and I went back to his place to chill and eat at his local Japanese restaurant. No complains there.
After taking the train with Moah in the morning I decided to take a walk from La defense. It was a quite nice promenade ending at the triumph thingy. Was about to get close but when they wanted to charge you for it I thought fuck no. And went for my shuttle instead.
My flight home went as it should even if I got slightly confused at the airport. Almost a decimeter of snow when I arrive back home.
There might been a lot of times when the French spoke in French both at and round the tables but I never felt neglected nor that they were passing any information during play. There was in general more talk round the tables than other tournaments I’ve been to, but as I hardly understood anything, it never managed to get me distracted. Much of the in between information was in French, even when they tried to be considerate. This however was no issue as there was always someone nearby that could translate.
Unfortunately I got to see one chombo (faulty declare of win, 1st hanchan) but I liked that the view on accidentally revealing tiles from the walls where pretty relaxed. There was a quite broad array of skill among the players, but I never got annoyed by it as I have at previous tournaments and I didn’t notice anyone having issues with counting etc. In general all games went very smoothly.
There were plenty to drink (instant coffee, the, soda and lager) and pastry and candies so even if the “lunch” wasn’t that great was there no need to be dissatisfied (not to forget it was mentioned in the description that it would be sandwiches).
There were some issues with the computer so it was quite hard to get information regarding specific positions and such, the organizers did a good job regardless. There, as far as I could tell, was no trophies but instead some more physical prizes. Am not sure what actually should be preferred but winning big items might be a problem for players taking a flight home. And some social play would have been nice.
Finally but not least; Hotel Moah was a nice accommodation, as long as you’re not allergic to felines. It might however be problematic if you are a troupe bigger than one.
All this of course accomplished by the soundtrack of Versailles no Bara.