2018 IORMC USA Qualification Session #1

Standings and Session Results

The first of five qualification sessions happened today and we have some early front-runners to head up the USA squad.

Panhandle Mahjong's Ryan Adams (Panda84), who has put up very good results in tournament play, did so again here with three 1st place finishes with his only blemish being a 3rd in the third round. Even still he posted an average of 33.45, a full 8 points clear of 2nd place Tina Koshimoto (破顔の楽士), who put up 2 first and 2 second place finishes to bank an average of 25.45.

Right on her heels is one of USA's representatives from last year, Kinyan Lui (Yukitora), who also put up 2 first and second place finishes, and sits just a little over 2 point adrift with an average of 23.20.

Holding onto the 4th spot for now is Nathaniel Kozinski (tateniu). A last place finish at Tina's table in the final round dampened a good effort, but he still sits with an average of 16.15.

The next 4 players also finished in the positive, and are one good session away from contending for a spot. Even for those who struggled in the first session, they still have the ability to drop a session later on if they play at least 4 of the 5 scheduled dates. So there's still time to put in some good scores and contend for a spot on the USA roster.

2018 Dallas Fort Worth Riichi Open Results

The results of the 2018 Dallas Fort Worth Riichi Open. Report coming later...

CONGRATULATIONS to Masahiro of LA Pride of Mahjong!


1Masahiro Yaehata123.85
2Tina Koshimoto57.75
3Hirotaka Takeuchi51.25
4David Bresnick43.95


1Masahiro Yaehata100.55
2Tina Koshimoto78.65
3David Bresnick53.75
4Hirotaka Takeuchi43.85
5Jarid Earnest25.35
6Ryan Lunt23.7
7Lich Pham3.25
8Gregory Chin0.2


NameHanchan 1Hanchan 2Hanchan 3Hanchan 4Hanchan 5Hanchan 6Sub-Total
Masahiro Yaehata37.6-30.3-58.428.794.3133.7
Tina Koshimoto2956.324.219.63.8-30.2102.7
Jarid Earnest48.613.633.1-13.3-8.512.285.7
David Bresnick4.311.29.633.8-15.83881.1
Hirotaka Takeuchi34.1-198.4-2.311.241.173.5
Ryan Lunt7.535.8-26.610.727.29.864.4
Gregory Chin38.926.517.2-13.34-14.159.2
Lich Pham-1034.339.6-43-6.343.758.3
Thomas Graham9-31.225.859.99.8-15.358
James Bragg24.7-32.316.732.633.1-28.346.5
Daniel Moreno-23.8-13.5-11.8-551.831.429.1
Eric Nguyen-6-88.8-8.418.4-2.52.3
Mark Kubota29.53.210.5-8.3-48.913.3-0.7
Joseph Reidy-31.645.6-27.323.3-13.3-0.9-4.2
Jaben McCormack-15.125.7-8.2-30.1-19.231.7-15.2
Edwin Dizon-15.2-36.425.920.8-1.5-13.6-20
Daniel Johns4.8-36-22.33.317.39.2-23.7
Garrett Sandifer11.62.8-4.627-22.9-53.4-39.5
Jason McGuire-4.9-21.7-4.6-12.424.2-25.8-45.2
Ryan Jacobs14.28.3-30-30.8-12.5-1.7-52.5
Grant Mahoney-34-78.5-24.628.5-27.1-55.7
Shayne Fell-43.616.621.1-25.230.7-56.9-57.3
Ryan Adams14.5-26.3-13-12.5-31.110.6-57.8
Michael McLeod-3824.2-10.41.9-27.2-13.5-63
Peter Burgos-23.36.4-29.7-23.3-26.47.7-88.6
Mason Fraser-11.4-16.3-5.911.4-43.1-31.2-96.5
Zachary Leak-32.9-15.8-
Cameron Waggoner-19.1-13.5-53.7-19.6-19.2-16-141.1

2018 Rochester Riichi Open - Day 2 and Results

With the scores still within a narrow range, there was still all to play for in the final 2 rounds before the playoff cutoff. The top 8 for the most part played nice and maintained their leads through the final 2 rounds to get to the playoffs.

There would be one party-crasher though. Sitting just over 44 points adrift of 8th place, Club Riichi de Montreal's Loic Roberge stormed his way up into the Top 8, at the expense of Mike Lee.  He would make it all the way to the finals, joining fellow clubmate Shan Kuang, Andrew McAnally from Baltimore, and local RIT member Bruce Bland at the final table.

As the scores stood going into the final table, Shan and Loic would need a complete victory as both sat over 30 points away from Arthur and Bruce. Bruce just needed to finish ahead of Arthur and the title would be his.

However Arthur, as first dealer, won two mangan hands right off the bat, making the task even more difficult for all those at the table. It would wind up being too much in the end as Arthur claims the 2018 Rochester Riichi Open title. Congratulations!

Rochester's post on the tournament can be found here.

  • Rochester Riichi Open 2018
    March 3-4, 2018 // Rochester, NY
  • Final Table
  • 1.Arthur McAnally+96.0
    2.Bruce Bland+73.45
    3.Loic Roberge+20.2
    4.Shan Kuang-0.2
  • Top 8
  • 5.George Liu-Krason+55.2
    6.Chris Letourneau+48.55
    7.Alex Ng+8.6
    8.Michael McLeod-15.4
  • Rest of Standings
  • 9.Daniel Moreno+113.0
    10.Steve Smith+54.0
    11.William Lou+46.15
    12.Aaron Ebejer+12.65
    13.Gabriel Ocasio+11.8
    14.Henry Chen+11.2
    15.Patrick Garrity+10.2
    16.Ty Kennedy+5.35
    17.Mike Lee-0.4
    18.Cassandra McClure-2.15
  • 19.Stanley Louie-10.0
    20.Derek Purpura-30.7
    21.Gaetano Loweecy-34.7
    22.Christopher Omahen-35.4
    23.Noah Bock-38.5
    24.Valliappa Chockalingam-57.5
    25.Jaben McCormack-64.25
    26.Alexandre Boily-79.85
    27.Justin Dilgard-93.8
    28.Forrest Shooster-118.0

2018 Rochester Riichi Open - Day 1 Results

Day 1 results of the Rochester Reach Open, currently under way in Rochester, NY, shows a close lead by George Liu-Krason.

Late winter snowstorms striking the northeast have not stopped the 28 U.S. and Canadian players from assembling at the Rochester Institute of Technology for this two day, 8-hanchan event. The closing of the first day found the top ranks dominated by east coast players - George Liu-Krason (MA) - 1st, Bruce Bland (NY) - 2nd, Arthur McAnally (MD) - 3rd, and Michael McLeod (NY). 

Saturday's competition was punctuated by a sainbaiman as well as two lucky rinshan wins in the same hanchan. We will be posting full results later today following the conclusion of the event!

  • Rochester Riichi Open 2018
    March 3-4, 2018 // Rochester, NY
  • Final Table
  • 1.Arthur McAnally+96.0
    2.Bruce Bland+73.45
    3.Loic Roberge+20.2
    4.Shan Kuang-0.2
  • Top 8
  • 5.George Liu-Krason+55.2
    6.Chris Letourneau+48.55
    7.Alex Ng+8.6
    8.Michael McLeod-15.4
  • Rest of Standings
  • 9.Daniel Moreno+113.0
    10.Steve Smith+54.0
    11.William Lou+46.15
    12.Aaron Ebejer+12.65
    13.Gabriel Ocasio+11.8
    14.Henry Chen+11.2
    15.Patrick Garrity+10.2
    16.Ty Kennedy+5.35
    17.Mike Lee-0.4
    18.Cassandra McClure-2.15
  • 19.Stanley Louie-10.0
    20.Derek Purpura-30.7
    21.Gaetano Loweecy-34.7
    22.Christopher Omahen-35.4
    23.Noah Bock-38.5
    24.Valliappa Chockalingam-57.5
    25.Jaben McCormack-64.25
    26.Alexandre Boily-79.85
    27.Justin Dilgard-93.8
    28.Forrest Shooster-118.0

Upcoming Tournaments

For those that have not been following the calendar, there are 2 tournaments coming up in the next few months.

The Rochester Institute of Technology's Nine Gates Mahjong Club will be holding its 2018 Rochester Riichi Open on March 3rd & 4th on their campus. Rochester has one of the larger clubs in the country and its alumni have since moved on to clubs all across the country including Seattle and California.

The Dallas-Fort Worth Mahjong Club will be holding their 2018 Riichi Open at the Grapevine Convention Center on April 14th and 15th. Just make sure to have your taxes done before that weekend!

In addition the Seattle Riichi Mahjong Club has tentative plans to hold their 2018 Seattle Riichi Open in July of this year. Stay tuned for more details!

Check out the Events page for links to their pages for more information as well as to sign up!

2017 IORMC Individual Recap

Results and links to replays can be found here.

Heading into the individual tournament, we had 2 representatives in the top 16 - one each from Canada and the United States. Before things started, there was a bit of a hiccup as the 7th place player from Japan was actually a no-show. While a staff member was put in to replace the missing player going forward the players just missing will probably be asked to be subs in case something similar happens.

To the quarterfinals though and the USA representative xGeo (George Liu-Krason) was basically involved in a 3-way beatdown of the 16th place participant cutieboy (Woo-Jin Choi - KOR). George was holding onto the lead, but in the final 2 hands he wound up paying in, including an unfortunate riichi then paying in on his next draw to finish outside the top 2.

For Canada's Khold (Simon Chen), it was a successful, but perhaps bizarre game. He led wire to wire, won just 3 hands, all of them were by tsumo's, and most bizarre of all - all were either via haitei ryaoue, or in the case of all last - a penultimate tille tsumo-haitei-chitoitsu.

That earned him a 1st and into the semfinals, but it was not as easy. In fact, heading into S2 he was yakitori and 18700 points from 2nd place. But after a ryuukoku, Simon is able to draw the right side of his 2 sided wait for sanshouku for an oya-mangan  He'd close out the game with another win, securing his 2nd place finish and a spot in the final table.

If the finals were one hanchan only, Simon would have won the title. 4 hands went for mangan and three of those belonged to him, giving him a 51.7 score and a 35 point lead over 2nd. However, the finals were an aggregate of 2 hanchan - though all he'd have to do avoid is a last place finish and he would probably secure the title.

Unfortunately for him, he never got any traction in the 2nd hanchan. In E1-1, soraru (Lulu Zhou - CHN) would tsumo a haneman while Simon was oya. And in S-1, Karlocia (Karolina Trepinska - FRA) would tsumo an oya-baiman. As a result of that, Simon could not avoid finishing in last, and in fact the order of the first hanchan was reversed in the 2nd. But due to Simon's loss being greater, he fell from 1st to a tie for 3rd as soraru would combine her 2nd and 3rd place finishes to win by 0.4 points.

While certainly it is not the result either player wanted, it was still very impressive that we had 2 players competing here earlier today. Congratulations to our participants and we'll look to build for next year!

2017 IORMC Team Recap

Final team results can be found here.

The 2017 IORMC Team competition has come and gone and while neither the USA or Canada disgraced at the table, it should be said that both countries struggled to hang in there the entire tournament. I won't go through the games because the records are out there since I'm sure there will be those who can parse the game better than I (I'll have the game links on the spreadsheet though), but I can at least give my perspective (for what brain activity I could have at 3 in the morning).

In fact, the USA was about to go really negative until Yukitora (Kinyan L.) on all last ended up with a riichi-ippatsu-tsumo-tanyao-sanankou-dora 5 for 11 han for a sayonara gyakuten (walk-off) win. That helped the USA go from 0-1-1-2 to 1-1-1-1 and finished the opening round around 0 at (4.4). Same went for Canada who went 1-1-1-1 and was at (1.1).

The idea that it was perhaps jitters or getting used to the dynamic seemed to not pan out in the 2nd round. There was no lifeline this time for the USA, though xGeo banked his first 1st place to help minimize the damage. Canada treaded water again with another 1-1-1-1 finish, but registered a slightly more negative score.

There was still a chance for a good showing I thought with a solid 3rd round, but the two countries apparently diverged from this point. USA continued its struggles with xGeo being the only bright spot banking yet another 1st in a 1-0-1-2 round, sending the team to a (113.4) score and a 13/16 placing. Canada put together 2 1st place finishes, one of which was from Khold (Simon C.) making him 2-1-0-0 so far putting them in 7th with one round to go.

At this point, a score around 0 seems about the best I could ask for from the USA, while Canada could move up a position or two with good scores. I was on my last legs entering my 23rd hour of being awake so I just waited for the scores to show up in the lobby.

First person to show up was xGeo (George L-K), whose 2nd place finish all but cemented him a spot in the individual competition. What came next was a first place finish from Corak to salvage his tournament, and then another first from DdR_Dan and next thing you know, the USA is back around 0! A first place finish from Yukitora could put us in position for yet another 6th place finish!

And when her score popped up as +48.4, the USA was actually sitting in 6th! The last table though saw Lindskog from Sweden put in a +63.4, and knocked the USA to 7th.

Canada was faring much better early on in the 4th round. Even with a 1-1-1-0 put in, they at one point held the 4th place spot. Unfortunately DdR_Dan's 1st place finish came at the expense of Canada's Element (William L.), but still put them 1 place better than last year in 9th.

So as a team, both the USA and Canada put up comparable results from last year, and we'll hope to make inroads next year.

There is still the matter of the individual competition to be held 2 weeks from now, and here each country was able to send a representative to compete for top player. As mentioned before, xGeo's results improved each round eventually finishing in 12th overall with a score of 77.6. Most impressive was Canada's representative, Khold (Simon C.), who put together 2 strong 1st and 2nd place finishes for a score of 128.6 and a 3rd place finish - the highest from any NA player in the IORMC.

So congratulations to our representatives this year, and good luck to Simon and George in the individual competition!

2017 IORMC Team Competition Things to Know

With the season turning and the weather turning a shade colder (at least for us here in NA), the 7th IORMC Team Competition will take place early Sunday morning (Nov 5th) with country bragging rights at stake. For the individuals, the top 16 will compete 2 weeks later in a separate individual competition.

The pairings are rosters are out, which can be found here.

People willing to burn the midnight oil can view the games in the tournament lobby here. The first round begins at 3 AM PST/6 AM EST/7 AM AST.

Will a North American team finally take the title? Or will Russia and Asia continue their dominance?

Good luck to our participants!


IORMC Update!

Qualification for the IORMC has been completed for both USA and Canada and we have our 4 representatives for this years' competition! Full standings can be found at the end of the article, but our teams for 2017 are:

United States

  • Yukitora (Kinyan Lui)
  • DdR_Dan (Daniel Pascua)
  • xGeo (George Liu-Krason)
  • Corak (Arthur McAnally)

For Daniel, he returns from the 2016 team and George make his 2nd appearance after being on the inaugural team in 2015. This will be Kinyan's and Arthur's first year representing the USA.


  • Juun (Jun Oh)
  • Khold (Simon Chen)
  • Element (William Lou)
  • AW (Casper Tsai)

For Casper and William, they represent Canada for a 2nd consecutive year (which is also the duration of the team's existence). while Jun improves from a reserve to the main team joining Simon as first time participants.

Pairings have also been announced for the IORMC, with 16 countries in all participating. The parings can be found here. Several players from the recently concluded WRC are participating including Top 8 finisher Lena Weinguny.

Good luck to everyone in the wee hours of November 5th!

United States (Standings)

Canada (Standings)

2017 Seattle Riichi Open Results

(taken from Seattle Riichi Mahjong Club's blog)

(Final results can be found here)

The 2017 Seattle Riichi Open was played from July 15-16, and could be considered a success for our first major foray into tournaments. Everything went basically on schedule with little downtime (for me anyways) which means that spacing was good.

We had managed to reach 40 registered participants at time of check-in, but late withdrawals brought that number down to 35, which meant that one of our planned subs had to fill in. It also meant that instead of the possible 4 seats on offer, we were down to 3.

The schedule was aggressive in my opinion with the time limits set at G/75 (that's chess term for game in 75 minutes). But by the end of Day 1 most tables finished before or at the time limit so in terms of finishing people were able to get it done. By the end of Day 1, and with only one round left to go in qualifying, the Top 4 were over 25 points clear over 5th place.

Something must have happened overnight though because all 4 wound up on the wrong side of the ledger in the 6th round, effectively crunching the top 7 into a range of just a smidge over 12 points. Factor in the 1/3 division of all scores and it meant that if you finished 1st you were guaranteed to be in the finals. 2nd place would give you a good chance, but not guaranteed.

Another situation that occurred was that 4 of the top 8 already held a WRC seat. Which meant that we actually had 4 people for 3 seats! There was all to play for going into the playoffs.

In the semis, the last hand resulted a tie for 1st in one semifinal meaning that the two players (Zach Francks, Kevin Shi) actually split the uma. At a +10 for each it meant that Charlie McDonell, who had finished 1st outright in his semifinal held a 10.2 point lead going into the finals. With Daniel Moreno rounding out the field it meant that Kevin Shi, the only player out of the quartet who did not have a seat yet, would automatically earn one.

That also meant that for the other 3 - Kira Nebilak, Anthony Hsieh and Sakina Toyota, they were fighting for 2 spots. Kira had almost a 16 point advantage over the other two, while Anthony had just a 0.1 advantage over Sakina! That meant that Kira just needed to avoid trouble and Anthony and Sakina would try to make sure they were ahead of the other.

As the table progressed though, I noticed that with half of the time elapsed the table was still on East. And when I looked closer the reason was apparent. Anthony was dealer on East 3, and was on yonhonba (4th dealer repeat). He also had the majority of points which meant that barring an Atlanta Falcon-style collapse, he all but secured the 2nd WRC seat.

That left the final seat between Sakina and Kira. Kira had a lead of 15.8 over Sakina, so to hold onto the position Sakina could not finish 2nd and Kira 4th, and if Sakina finished 1 place ahead of Kira, she could not be ahead in points more than 5,800. And while I didn't hear the point counts exactly it sounded like Sakina was in 2nd and Kira in 4th which meant there was all to play for.

But when I got the table report, Sakina was in 3rd place and Kira 4th. The point difference? 4,100.

Which meant that by 1.7 points Kira secured the 3rd and final WRC seat!

With the seats determined, there was the matter of figuring out the actual winner of the tournament. Kevin with nothing to lose perhaps went more aggressively than before and paid for it at the table finishing with (5,100) points. That meant that the other 3 players - 2016 PML Open winner Charlie McDonell, 2014 WRC Top 32 finisher Zach Francks, and PML's Daniel Moreno - who has finished in 2nd or 3rd in all tournaments he has played in, were all in contention.

Heading into all last Charlie was in the lead with Zach in 2nd and Daniel just 100 points behind Zach. Going for the title, Zach declared riichi looking to overtake. But when he didn't win the hand he fell from 2nd to 3rd.

Which meant that we now have a multiple tournament winner as Charlie McDonell wins the 2017 Seattle Riichi Open! Congratulations to you Charlie!

Now for a couple of comments as the tournament director side of things...

Pairing Format

This tournament featured a pairing format trying to put sense to the pairings that is normally random. It doesn't make sense to me that in one of the final qualifying rounds that say in a cut of the top 8 of a 36 person field like this one, you could have a random pairing of players in 4th-7th-8th-28th. Coming from a tournament director background in chess, I originally thought about implementing a swiss-system format. But with cutoffs for the top players, this made such a system completely unfeasible because you wound up with a situation like the above where someone above the cut is guaranteed to finish 3rd or possibly 4th and drop out right when the cut happens.

That's where I came up with the ordinal pairing system, which just split the groups into quartiles based upon scores and paired top down from each group for the opening rounds, with the final qualifying rounds being paired in groups of a size of the cut*2. Duplicates were going to happen, but that was going to be an inevitability unless we had a large enough field that switching two people in adjacent tables wouldn't still create a duplicate pairing. The system was breaking down about the point I expected it to, and the switch in Round 5 to the cut*2 group size worked well.

But what I learned from this tournament is that having the tables filled from the top to the bottom of each quartile isn't as important as perhaps filling it with one from each quartile. In other words, the importance of having the 1st table filled with 1st-10th-19th-28th in a 36 person field is minimal as just having Top Quartile-2nd Quartile-3rd Quartile-4th Quartile. So I might change the format so that it just has to be the latter, and duplicates are swapped out unless it absolutely cannot be avoided.

Condensing of points at playoffs

In the first tournament I participated in, which was the 2015 NYC Riichi Open, I was introduced to having the points halved when players passed through the qualification rounds. And from each of the tournaments I played in, it seemed like that division was insufficient to collapse the field enough for there to be much drama to who might finish in 1st - especially for those at the bottom of the cut who almost had zero chance to come back. That's where I had thought of the idea of dividing the points by a factor equal to:

  • Number of Qualifying Rounds/Number of Playoff Rounds

In this case it would be 6/2 or 3. But when I implemented it in this case, it collapsed the field so much that the difference between 1st and 8th was less than the uma difference between adjacent placings. It almost made it equivalent to Montreal's tournament which was a clearing of points and a straight top 2 advance which was not the intention of this method.

It is my opinion that we need to balance the importance of games in qualifying with the ability for those in those at the bottom part of the playoffs to have a chance (not significant, but greater than say being hit by lightning) to come back to win.

The other thing to think of is that we in the North American region are as a whole are still in its infancy in regards to the riichi mahjong scene when compared to other main organizations in the WRC such as the JPML (Japanese Professional Mahjong League) and the EMA (European Mahjong Association). As such we have players with a wide range of ability which could lead to inflated scores such as what we saw in the 2015 NYC Riichi Open.

But what we've seen in recent tournaments is that perhaps this gap is narrowing as we hold more tournaments and the floor for our players rises. It's possible that there may be no need to have such a division of points after qualifying - especially if I carry my pairings of the final 2 rounds of qualifying grouping people in sizes of cut*2 as those players (in this tournament's case the top 16) will be beating each other up and score ranges may narrow. Perhaps next year we have a schedule of the following

  • Rounds 1-4 - Quartile Pairings
  • Rounds 5-6 - Cx2 Pairings (where field is grouped into sections of cut x 2, and paired internally
  • Rounds 7 - Semifinals (Players grouped into sections = cut size, and paired as follows:
    • 1-3-5-7
    • 2-4-5-8
  • Round 8 - Players grouped into 1st-4th in each cut section and paired
    • 1st-4th
    • 5th-8th

Other notes

The location was great for the field size, but if we have a larger tournament, we will need more TV's as players will move outside of the playing area we were at and may not have line of sight to the TV and the timer.

We had extra space and people, and realized that with that public location we could have a place and personnel to teach people if they were interested in learning. Great recruitment tool.

And for some of the personnel I had, the division of labor could have been better with someone on the admin side helping me enter things into the computer and confirm player scores instead of having the runners just verify scores. They can also teach if necessary.


Overall, I think the tournament went well. There were lots of things to take away and work on to make next year better, which should be the case anyways. Hopefully next year will be even better.

IORMC US/Canada Rules and Registration

Hello! Thanks for your patience!

We are ready to take signups for the IORMC Qualifications. Dates and times for US and Canadian qualifying can be found in our last article.

Both USA and Canada sessions will be on Tenhou and constitute of 4 hanchan each. USA will pair players by dividing the players into quartiles by score and putting one person from each quartile together avoiding duplicates when possible. Canada will be pairing randomly.

There are some rules changes, those are found below with translations (error: busting is not allowed).

Eligibility rules for the IORMC state that in order to participate for the US or Canada, you must either posses a passport of that country or have permanent residency. While we will not ask for that detail of personal information, we do ask that you respect their rules when signing up.

Registration for each country are found below (Players can register by end of day Wednesday for each session up until the penultimate session. You will receive a link to enter the tournament lobby once registration for each qualifier date closes):