Hanchan 4. From l.: Nicolas Poilleux, Wenlong Li, Yuko Ito, Martin Rep.

PUTEAUX/PARIS – It is a strange thing to be in a mahjong tournament and only having to care about the game. No interviews, no reports to write, no results to care about. Yesterday evening, I was invited by organizers Valérian and Quentin Tomas to say a few words during the opening of the World Riichi Championship. I seized the occasion to announce that, after the WRC, I will retire as the editor-in-chief of Mahjong News.

And guess what? Now it is my successor Scott D. Miller who is doing all the work. He takes cares of the results (so you know where to complain if you think they are late…) and he also writes some bits and pieces. So I was glad I could help him making pictures; at least I had something to do.
Why?
It is amazing how many people today react on my retirement. Why? They all want to know. They make me feel sorry already… And why – well, that’s clear. After seventeen years, it’s time someone else will do the job. And Scott seems to like it – after all, he is a mahjong teacher, and he has written a book about it.
So now I can concentrate on the game. Here’s what comes of that…
Hanchan 1: Chinese Song Panjing plays very well, I end in second position. I am amazed by the gameplay of Japanese Sarukawa, who feeds me an ippatsu twice. We made a calculation mistake, so Scott – now as a referee – looks disappointed at me. A lot of work to correct – so sorry, boys!
Hanchan 2: An awfully strong player, Masayoshi Ara, gives me no chance. Neither does the other Japanese player, Tsuyoshi Nakamura. Third place for me.
Hanchan 3: Anything that might go wrong, does go wrong. John Duckworth from the UK wins almost everything. After the East wind, I run out of sticks, so the referee lends me 10,000 points. But at the end of the hanchan, I have nothing left. Fourth place.
Hanchan 4: A nice one, but again the Japanese (Yuko Ito) and the Chinese (Wenlong Li) are too strong for me. Third place. Due to that horrible third hanchan, I am on number 102 in the standings. No place of honor for me…
After the game, Wenlong Li comes to me. He regrets that I am quitting with Mahjong News. “You remember the OEMC in Venice?” he asks me. “You helped me so well then.”
It is great to have mahjong friends all over the world. This is a real honoured place.

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