A thrilling finish caps off an eventful 2018 IORMC Team competition!Read More
Qualification for the USA team for the IORMC is completed! See who will represent the USA this year!Read More
Information and registration for the 2018 IORMC qualifiers for US and Canada!Read More
The World Riichi Championship begins its ramp up to 2020 with the announcement of their location!Read More
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
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!
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!
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!
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:
- 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)
(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...
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:
- Round 8 - Players grouped into 1st-4th in each cut section and paired
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.
Hello! Tournament coordinator Edwin here with an announcement regarding the qualifiers for the 2017 IORMC to be held later this year.
(Edit: Canadian qualifiers are announced below)
First of all there is a new addition to the tournament! Not only will there be the team competition as done in prior years on November 5th at 1100 UTC (0300 PST/0400 MST/0500 CST/0600 EST/0700 AST as we will have turned the clocks back already for those observing Daylight Savings time), but there will be an individual competition for the top 16 finishers two weeks later on November 19th at the same time!
We had 17 countries represented last year and we only expect that number to grow this year!
That said, it is that time again for us to start qualifications!
At this point, the US qualifiers will be held on Tenhou for the following dates:
- Saturday, July 29
- Saturday, August 26
- Saturday, September 16
- Saturday, September 30
The US will hold their qualifiers first at 1200 PDT/1500 EDT.
Same qualifying format will apply. The top 2 qualifying scores will be taken with the average of all hanchan scores within those sessions becoming the basis of ranking players. This is to factor in the possibility of byes in rounds which would adversely affect those receiving byes.
Updated: Canada will have their qualification on the following dates:
- Saturday, September 2
- Saturday, September 9
- Saturday, September 16
- Saturday, September 23
- Saturday, September 30
A minimum of 2 qualification sessions is needed to qualify, and if you play 4 or all 5, your lowest session is dropped.
Canada will hold their qualifiers first at 1400 PDT/1700 EDT/1800 ADT
The rules have changed since the last IORMC, and we will have those posted here as well as links to registration for the qualifiers so please stay tuned over the coming days!
The 2nd Vancouver Riichi Open was played earlier this month with 28 players from the University of British Columbia, Seattle (SRMC) and California (PML) represented.
Day 1 was filled with wild swings, the biggest highlighted by UBC player Celeste who started off with a huge win of 61.6 points (which wound up being the largest single round score posted), but then went last with -48.8, another first for 26.6 points and rounded off the day with a 2nd place and 3.6 points. All in all, good for 43 points and a 7th place standing.
5 of the top 8 were occupied by players from Seattle, with Shane Rideout using 2 strong first place finishes early and coasted to a 3rd place standing and 69.3 points. Daniel Moreno from the Pacific Mahjong League put in 4 solid performances, finishing in the top half each hanchan for 71.4 points.
Leading the pack however was UBC president Casper Tsai who played very solid throughout Day 1, yours truly playing against both Daniel and Casper on the same table almost ekeing out a 2nd place finish until getting directly hit on a riichi-ippatsu-tanyao-chitoitsu to send me into 3rd. But back to Casper, his aggressive, but intuitive defensive style of play gave him the advantage and the Day 1 lead of 21.9 points over Daniel.
Despite the fact the top 2 had broken away, there was still all to play for as 7 players were within 30 points of 8th. And that came into play as the tiles were not kind to many in the top 8. 3 players would finish third in their penultimate hanchan and 2 would finish last. Casper even could not avoid the bloodbath finishing in third himself. But one more huge 1st place finish meant that he still topped the standings, despite Daniel putting in 2 firsts of his own.
2 players who survived the battering were the aformentioned Shane Rideout who despite finishing 3rd twice, did not suffer huge losses and slipped into the playoffs in 3rd place. Kinyan Lui (SRMC) who had been sitting in 5th was knocked out the cut after round 5 and a last place finish, but slid into the final spot after finishing 2nd in her last hanchan. It really was good fortune though as Sylvain Royer (PML) had used a huge first place finish to move into the top 8 only to fall at the hands of his "teammate" Daniel and finish just 4 points off the final spot.
The biggest winner was Anne Qu (UBC) who fell behind early with a score of -47 after 2 rounds, but 3 large firsts and a second later moved all the way to 6th and in the playoffs.
In the playoffs there would be some rematches. One of which was notable in that on the drive back to Seattle, while all of us were flat out impressed with Casper's play throughout the tournament, David Li (SRMC) would mention that it was Casper who was impressed with David's play as David had given Casper his only third during the qualifying rounds, and then in the rematch in the semifinal had a commanding first. It would not be the last one however, as Casper would still finish in second setting up one final rematch between the duo. They moved on at the expense of Celeste who had one of her swings at the wrong time, and Kinyan who just couldn't get anything started.
While the first semifinal was pretty clearcut, the other semifinal was a close game throughout, but Shane Rideout would prevail with Daniel Moreno holding on against Pacific Mahjong Open winner Charles McDonell to move on to the final. And with the top 2 winning bids, there would be all to play for.
And with everything at stake, the game was played very close to the vest and the scores barely budged for the most part. However, in all last, David as dealer would hit Daniel hard catapulting him into 2nd place just 200 points behind Casper.
- Casper Tsai - 34000
- David Li - 33800
- Shane Rideout - 30600
- Daniel Moreno - 21600
Now, as far as everyone at the table was concerned, it was known that Casper would not be accepting the invitation, so at the time Daniel was the odd man out. But as Daniel is apt to do, he finds a way in the final hand, hitting a haneman against Shane Rideout, and he immediately exclaimed what we would eventually find out. A haneman plus the bonus was 12300, making the standings the following:
- Casper Tsai - 34000
- Daniel Moreno - 33900
- David Li - 33800
- Shane Rideout - 9300
Just 200 points separated the top 3 players!
And so to the table it seemed that Daniel and David would be the 2 representatives to go to the WRC. But that's when Daniel finally mentioned he already had a sponsor's exemption, so in the end it didn't matter. That meant that David Li and Shane Rideout have earned a seat for the World Riichi Championships! Congratulations!
Full standings can be found here (link).
The Dallas-Fort Worth Mahjong Club held their first tournament at the Grapevine Convention Center with players from 8 states competing for a seat at the World Riichi Championships later this year!
A full write-up can be found on the DFW Mahjong website (link), but congratulations go out to local Tina Koshimoto for winning the tournament!
Full results can also be found here (link).
-Edwin Dizon (NARMA Tournament Operations Coordinator)
March saw the East Coast holding it's first tournament of the year with Rochester Institute of Technology's Nine Gates Mahjong Club holding their 2017 open. 28 players would do battle in the first weekend in March to claim the title.
By the end of the first day there was a breakaway group of 6 who separated themselves by about 30 points from the rest of the field. Leading the charge was Nine Gates member Stanley Louie. 4 solid first place finishes put him clear by 14 points over alumnus Steven Smith. 5 points behind Steven was Montreal's Alexandre Boily, whose 3 second place finishes were consistent enough for 3rd. Rounding out the lead group were Christopher Omahen, Ty Kennedy and Jaben McCormack. Barring a collapse in the final 2 rounds, all 6 seemed pretty safe to make the playoffs.
Behind them however was Patrick Garrity and Jeffrey O'Connell, who while they occupied the final 2 qualifying spots at the end of Day 1, were far from safe as a chase group of 7 people were still within striking distance.
The road would not be easy however, as both would sit down to an opponent in the top 6 for the 5th round. While Jeffrey would cruise to an easy victory and a +37 round score all but securing his place in the finals, Patrick would not be as fortunate. The aforementioned Alexandre did not rest on his laurels and continued to press at the expense of Patrick. A -24.1 score in the 5th round would open up a spot for the chase group.
Filling that spot was Garrett Sandifer. Despite spinning his wheels on the first day, he put together 2 first place finishes in the last 2 rounds from 14th to 4th.
Those not in the top 3 would be relieved to have the scores halved after qualifying as the gap between 3rd and 4th was a touch over 40 points. With the distance cut to 20, there was a chance that those behind could rally to the top 4. And in fact not 1, but 2 players would crack the top 4.
8th place Ty Kennedy would take full advantage of facing 1st place Stanley Louie, not only taking first, but sending Stanley into last in their semifinal match. That swing of 56.5 points was enough to send Ty into the top 4. The other player to make it would be Steven Smith, who also took advantage of his matchup with 4th place Garrett Sandifer. While finishing ahead of Garrett would be enough to pass him, he would have to worry about the other table and if not one, but 2 people could pass him up. But with a semifinal score of 48.6, completely routing the table, he easily secured himself a spot in the finals. Not only that, but he had a 34 point lead going into the final. Barring a 4th place finish, and no breakaway winner, he would secure the title.
Things aren't that easy though as Christopher Omahen would make one final push. But while he would win the finals with a score of 29.4, he fell just 1.3 points short of Steven missing out by the narrowest of margins.
And so congratulations go out to Steven Smith for winning the 2017 Rochester Riichi Open!
Final results can be found here (link).
-Edwin Dizon (NARMA Tournament Operations Coordinator)
One of the international events held is the International Online Riichi Mahjong Championship, or IORMC. Originally as an exchange between South Korea and Japan, it had slowly incorporated more and more countries from around the region eventually featuring 17 countries from around the world in 2016. As a point of interest we went back to look at the history of the tournament, and was able to find information as far back as 2011. Back then it was 8 v 8 with Japan's 8 actually being pros in real life.
For those curious, we've collected the results from KML's (Korea Mahjong League) archives and put them all in one place here:
Report by Edwin Dizon (Tournament Director)
The North American Riichi Mahjong Association recently finished qualification matches for the 2016 International Online Riichi Mahjong Competition (IORMC) to be held Saturday, November 5th at 2000 JST (0400 PDT/0700 EDT/0800 ADT) on Tenhou. The IORMC began in 2011 as a competition between Japan and Korea, but has since expanded to include countries around the world. This years’ iteration, as of this writing, has 16 confirmed countries. This will be the USA’s second year, and Canada’s first, in the competition. Last year’s results, where the USA placed two players in the top 12, can be found here.
The format for the USA and Canadian qualifiers played throughout September and October was four events, each with four hanchan. Players could compete in all events, but were required to play in a minimum of two. A player’s top two qualifying scores were taken and an aggregate average (in event of byes) calculated. The top four ranking players in each country would represent their respective nation.
Qualification replays can be found on NARMA’s YouTube channel.
In the US region, Harmonix (Wei Bin Wang) jumped out to a whopping 241 score (60.25 average) in the first qualifier. While he couldn’t match that total over the final 3, he used it to secure the 4th spot with an average of 38.57 over 7 games.
スピカテリブル (Martin Zhang) played in all 4 qualifiers and scored no less than 63 points (15.75 average) finishing in the top 5 in every single event. His top two scores of 136 and 174 (38.75 average) qualified him for 3rd.
雪泉@月閃 (Zixuan Jiang), was unable to make the final qualifier due to a late schedule change, but it wasn’t necessary. He finished top 2 in two of the qualifiers with scores of 129 and 190 (39.875 average) making the 2nd highest overall score.
Finally, the top qualifier DdR_Dan (Daniel Pascua) missed the first qualifier but didn’t need it. His name was already familiar to our broadcast staff as a solid player. He didn’t disappoint, finishing top 2 in two of the final three qualifiers with scores of 204 and 132 (an amazing 42 average.)
Moving north to Canada, things were not as clear-cut. Their top finisher was Element (William Lou) who had been sitting comfortably with a total of 165 in his two qualifiers (20.625 average.) He cemented the top spot by scoring 160 in the final qualifier, raising his average to 34.375 - more than 10 points over the closest competitor.
Unfortunately エンジェルス☆ (Stephen So) was also a casualty of the late schedule change of the final event and missed the last qualifier. However, his two qualifying scores of 125 and 46 (21.375 average) were enough to secure 3rd overall.
AW (Casper Tsai) played in all four qualifiers and used a top score of 152 in the 3rd qualifier to propel him up to the top 4 taking the last spot with a 20.375 average.
That left one more spot which was all to play for in the final qualifier. At the time, Chien held the all-important slot with a total of 105 over 8 games. But there were players behind him who, if they could drop their lowest standing score, could easily overtake the position. They included kuowiz (130 points in 4 games), 505fam (103 points), riya (92 points) and mjfever (68 points), so Chien’s position was tenuous at best. Early on, it looked it like it would be a battle between 505fam and mjfever; after two rounds mjfever was +13 and 505fam +81. But an unfortunate connection issue by 505fam brought it all down to the final hanchan.
505fam +40 (143 points through 7 games)
mjfever +73 (141 points)
Kuowiz -2 (128 points)
And as the pairings would have it, all 3 would play each other in the final hanchan!
In that final hanchan, the players all went aggressive knowing that finishing above the other 2 all but guaranteed the final spot. kuowiz would jump out to an early lead, while 505fam struggled to gain traction. mjfever held steady and had the best chance to close the deficit, but in the end kuowiz (Josh Kuo) continuously shut the door on hand after hand, claiming a victory score of +59 and rocketing to 2nd overall with an average of 23.375.
With kuowiz’s qualification to the Canadian team, this means that the entire contingent is of current and former University of British Columbia’s Mahjong Club members! Perhaps not surprising as their club boasts a roster of about 100 members.
Congratulations to all our qualifiers and good luck in the wee hours of November 5th!