Mikhail Lugovkin: when I was separated just 20k from the first place, I realized the gap could be overcome. 

MOSCOW, Russia - After he became the new European Riichi Mahjong Champion, Mikhail Lugovkin stayed in the United Kingdom for a holiday. Now, finally he is back in Moscow, where Mahjong News correspondent Vitaly Novikov could reach him in the GLHF club, where local players can play riichi at two automatic tables. 

Congratulating Mikhail Lugovkin From Russia.
Congratulating Mikhail Lugovkin From Russia.

FARNHAM, United Kingdom - Sitting on the plane flying back to windy Amarillo, I had a moment to take stock in the days events in Farnham, England, and the ERMC.

Champion Mikhail Lugovkin addresses the assembly while his runner-ups Désirée Heemskerk, Mateusz Woźniak, and Henrik Leth look on.

FARNHAM, United Kingdom - Mikhail Lugovkin from Russia rises to the occation as the new reigning European Riichi Champion.

Before the European Riichi Championship, I planned to write an analysis of the results. I had more or less a headline ready: ‘March Of The Russians’, or, alternatively, ‘The Russians are the new Danes’.
How wrong I was.

Désirée Heemskerk beams during the award ceremony of the ERMC 2016.

FARNHAM, United Kingdom - She looks far from unhappy – yet she would have the right to be. Désirée Heemskerk from the Netherlands is celebrating her runner-up position in the European Championship 2016, while she could have been champion instead of her Russian competitor Mikhail Lugovkin – if only it would not have been for that last ron she gave to Freddy Christiansen.