Much discussion about a new seating system for mahjong tournaments, where you meet with players of the same strength. Visitors of Mahjong News say ‘no’ to it. Editor Martin Rep is quite confused.

I have played mahjong for almost twenty-five years, I have organized over twenty-five tournaments and I must have played some fifteen-hundred mahjong games. Yet, the game keeps surprising me.

No, I am not surprised that I can beat the same players who wiped the floor with me just two days before. Or that the Thirteen Orphans arrive just in time to help me win a tournament. No, I am surprised about the reactions on the ‘perfect seating system’.
For years, I have looked for a system which takes care that, in a tournament, you meet with players who are just as strong as you are. Or who, in that tournament, are about just as lucky as you are. So when Russian mahjong players Alexander Egorov and Vitaly Novikov came up with ‘Ritour.exe’, I was very happy and I immediately decided to implement this nice piece of software during my Furiten Riichi Mahjong Tournament.
This week, Mahjong News’s poll about the seating system was closed. The results leave no doubt. Two out of every three voters say: no, we do not want to be seated in accordance with our results, we want to draw lots and see what comes of that.
I was amongst those who said ‘yes’ to the ‘weighted system’. Now, I am puzzled by the results. Why do players like to meet with players who do not know the rules well? Who discard dangerous tiles without thinking it over? Who can win tables by sheer luck and walk away with that? (‘You have the skill, I get the luck.’)
Perhaps the voters against the ‘weighted seating system’ are right. Luck plays an important role in mahjong. This does not go only for the tiles you get, but also for the opponents you meet in a competition.
But maybe, players just have to get used to a new system. That is why I am not giving up so easily. Whatever you think if it: see you next year in the Furiten Tournament, and perhaps you are going to like it. I surely hope so!


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