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.

Mahjong News’s correspondent Vitaly Novikov from Russia would not mind a similar headline. Yesterday, after the name of the new European champion was announced – Mikhail Lugovkin from, indeed, Russia - he wrote to me proudly about the ‘best play’ of the Russians. And that I should take in consideration ‘that initially we had 20-21 seats and for many reasons including visa refusal (!) some players could not make it.’ Actually, twelve Russians went to Farnham, England.
I did know it (the Dutch got one of the Russian seats, making Ans Hoogland very happy) and I like to congratulate Vitaly with the beautiful result of his fellow-countryman. And then, of course, I do not mention that one fatal Bamboo 5 file which Dutch Désirée Heemskerk discarded in the last game, which cost her 12,000 points plus the European title; I won’t mention that because that’s the way it goes in riichi mahjong.
But I will show Vitaly the figures, and they tell another story. It’s not the Russians who ruled the European championship, it was the Ukrainians. The average score of their five players in the ERMC2016 was 86,80. They are the winners of the unofficial country classification. The Russians are not even close: with an average score of 67,25 points they end on the seventh place of that imaginary competition.
Ukraine, by the way, had just one player in the Finals – Sergey Ignatov landed on place #16 – but their lowest ranking player did not do too bad, with his 62nd position.
Second best in the ranking are the Chinese, with an average score of 80,25 – they remain the masters of the ‘Game of a Thousand Intelligences’, even though riichi mahjong is a Japanese affair in the first place.
The Germans, with an average of 73,75, did also quite well. Even better than the Danes. The notorious Vikings ended in fifth position, after the Polish. Yet, they were represented in the finals with three players; and with Henrik Leth (#4) and Freddy Christiansen (#5) they did an excellent job. On the other hand, Isabel Bahania Steenholm - until the ERMC she was the #8 player in the EMA riichi ranking - ended on a disappointing 96th place. While much laureated Morten Andersen did even worse, with his 122th place.
If these fabulous players would have done better, and played their normal game… then maybe after the next European championship, the Danes will be the new Danes again.

Unofficial Country Classification of the European Championship Riichi Mahjong 2016 

Place Country Points # Players Average/Player
1 UKR 434 5 86,80
2 CHN 321 4 80,25
3 GER 590 8 73,75
4 POL 803 11 73,00
5 DEN 706 10 70,60
6 GBR 1024 15 68,27
7 RUS 807 12 67,25
8 CZE 196 3 65,33
9 AUT 652 10 65,20
10 SWE 189 3 63,00
11 NED 901 16 56,31
12 FRA 622 12 51,83
13 SVK 294 6 49,00
14 FIN 72 2 36,00
15 USA 111 5 22,20

This ranking is based the position of the players in the final ranking of the ERMC2016: the number 1 player got 128 points, the last player got 1 point. Countries with less than 2 players are left out of the results.

Martin Rep, former editor of Mahjong News, still writes occasionally contributions for The Independent Internet Mahjong Newspaper.

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Comments (2)

  • Guest - Vitaly Novikov

    Technically speaking I would divide all countries into 2 even 3 groups by number of players at ERMC-2016. Since statistics of group of 2-5 players is far more "compact" then of group of 10+ players.

    From that prospective Germany and Poland also performed well. And "big" groups performance of best 3 players can be measured. And here Denmark is on top featuring 4th, 5th and 7th places.

  • Guest - Dominik Kolenda

    That's a nice job done Martin. The only stats that are missing on the site.

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