Tuesday 30 September 2014

Tom Sloper Explains American Mah-Jongg on SinoVision

Tom SloperLOS ANGELES: Tom Sloper is glad he was able to clear up some confusion about American mah-jongg for Chinese players. His first interview with China Press ran in print August 24th, followed by his SinoVision video stories which became available online this week.  

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Nice idea, but I think it's a bit premature

I think this is a really good idea, and I love the concept of a proper European Championships with national teams (and it opens up the concept of some sort of mahjong World Cup, which would be amazing). I think the main issue wouldn't be for the tournament itself, but for participants and wannabe participants, specifically with deciding who will feature the national teams. For countries which do not have enough players, I presume things would be fairly straightforward, and whoever wants to compete will be able to. However, for oversubscribed countries, how will they decide the teams? The UK at least doesn't really have anything resembling a domestic league, or regular tournaments, so how would the top five UK players be judged? Most of the players are spread out, and can't play each other regularly to really judge skill, so how would you judge who should represent the team for Great Britain with so little data? It could go on the UK Open results, but that's just a single tournament and wouldn't be a fair reflection of skill. It could go on EMA rankings, but there are mostly likely skilled players in the UK who don't have the money and/or free time to travel to all the EMA ranked matches on the continent, but who would most likely make the effort for the European Championships. I think it's a really good idea, and it could be a really good team tournament, but I think it's a bit too early in the development of the game to start breaking teams up by nationality. I know for example that the Cambridge University society could probably send a fairly strong team of five players, and that's just one group of players within the UK. When you've got such an uneven distribution of players across countries, it doesn't make sense to go for national teams just yet.
This is a comment on "Austria wants next European Riichi Championship, ‘for Europeans only’"


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