Mikhail Lugovkin playing riichi in Moscow.

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. 

Mahjong News: Mikhail, when did you learn to play riichi?
Mikhail Lugovkin: For the first time I met riichi back in the 1990s when I with my brothers played NES/Famicom playstation. Surely, we did not know the exact rules though some general ideas of hand building we understood. In addition, we tried to memorize all Chinese characters by heart. And only in 2008 I found riichi rules at www.mahjong.ru or www.riichi.ru not mention here “Four Winds” allowing to play with the computer. Speaking in chess terms at that time I have learned to "move the pieces" since I am still in the process of learning riichi.

How often do you play currently and where: which servers, clubs, tournaments?
I play at www.tenhou.net , nick “macabre”. I do not play too much on a regular basis, sometimes several games per day, then I take a long break. I try not to miss the available tournaments, sometimes I play home games with friends.

As for the European Riichi Championship, what goal did you set for yourself initially, and what goal once you have got to the final?
The goal in any tournament is usually ‘to be higher median’. Later it transformed into ‘a place better than 2.5’. Such kind of result makes you feel that you are better than the average player. Since I knew that the best representatives of their respective countries will play at the ERMC, it was not clear what to expect, and what's the average, so that the goal for the ERMC was “to get at least in the 2nd quartile”. After getting into top-16 since my place was bad enough (#13), the chances of a significant change was not much, so I decided to "protect your points like a beast", to go up by little and not to risk too much. Fortunately, the result of the "protection of points" exceeded all expectations.

What do you remember the most from the European championship?
During the last hanchan being separated from the first place for 20k points I understood that the gap could be overcome, especially having different places in hanchans at both tables. After tsumo on dealer’s haneman I set myself to not lose the chance being at the first place at my table. But until the end of session the question about score at tables 3 and 4 remained, and only the final award ceremony made clear all the issues.

I am very proud of three Russian participants to the ERMC whom I introduced to riichi: Alexandr Altynchurin, Andrey Shifrin, Dimitriy Volodin. All they came up in the first half of the tournament table, and moreover: three of us, counting me amongst them, are top-3 of entire Russian team.

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  • I proud my good friend!
    Graz!!!

  • Guest - Prohogii

    Мишка, поздравляю. Молодчина!!!! Аська у меня работает только на прием. Если есть возможность... "стукнись" в ВК или ОК )

  • Guest - Nick

    I am very proud of three Russian participants to the ERMC whom I introduced to riichi: Alexandr Altynchurin, Andrey Shifrin, Dimitriy Volodin. All they came up in the first half of the tournament table, and moreover: three of us, counting me amongst them, are top-3 of entire Russian team.

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