Nicole contemplating her next move.

UTRECHT, the Netherlands - Mahjong News is pleased to announce the addition to its stellar line-up of hard working journalists it's newest reporter, Ms. Nicole Haasbroek from the Netherlands. She will be augmenting an already well-rounded workforce to help bring the news on mahjong to world.

To best introduce Ms. Haasbroek to its worldwide readership, Mahjong News opens up its biopic, beginning with asking Ms. Nicole to say a few words in greeting.

Mahjong News: Let’s begin by your telling us a little bit about yourself, who you are, and where you come from.

Ms. Haasbroek: How to introduce myself? I'm an avid mahjong enthusiast from the heart of the Netherlands. I'm also a strong advocate for fair play and I'm very appreciative of common courtesy and good table manners!



Mahjong News: How did you come to be playing mahjong?

Ms. Haasbroek: I discovered the intriguing dynamics of mahjong later in life, so there are no pictures of me as a little girl at the mahjong table. ;) It was the end of 2011 when I encountered a group of the elderly ladies in my local library who were demonstrating the game. Curious by nature I joined their MCR club in the beginning of 2012. As with many things in life, I taught myself how to play. Both MCR and later, at the end of 2013, riichi.

 

Mahjong News: Did you have any mentors to look up to and guide you, and did you have any inspirations to help move you forward.

Ms. Haasbroek: I never had any mentors or teachers, or guidance in any shape or form. I had to figure everything out myself, so I read every shred of information I could find online and gratefully accepted any invitation to play. I also enjoyed the discussions with fellow players about what is and what is not allowed during the game (hence my interest in the SHM). The next logical step for me was to get certified as both a EMA MCR (2015) and riichi (2016) referee. I've acted a few times as a riichi referee, and had the honor of being the sole referee for the Dutch MCR Open 2016.



Mahjong News: I believe you typically play in the Netherlands. Can you tell us about the mahjong scene there, and how that goes for you?

Ms. Haasbroek: I entered the tournament circuit in the fall of 2012; first as a MCR player, later as riichi player. In the beginning I solely played in the Netherlands, lately I've been playing almost exclusively abroad. I even acted as a referee on two foreign tournaments. In 2013/14 I was a board member of the Dutch Mahjong Association, concerning myself mostly with our 'recreational players'.

Even though I haven't played in the Netherlands these last few months, I can inform you we are very active in organizing tournaments. The Dutch organize as many as 8 MCR tournaments and 6 riichi tournaments. We also host 4 tournaments with the so-called Dutch Tournament Rules, which is a ruleset similar to the Babcock rules if I'm not mistaken.

I never won any tournaments of importance; I ended up in 2nd place a few times. And meeting famous people? Ehm, I've met a lot of European players, or are you thinking about famous Japanese players?

Nicole keening the sharp eye as a referee.

Mahjong News: What comes next for Nicole, in life, and in mahjong?

Ms. Haasbroek: What comes next for me? As every other riichi player on the planet, I'm looking forward to the upcoming WRC in Las Vegas. I was delighted to secure a seat and I'm already preparing for this major event. Part of that is playing abroad in 2-day tournaments. I'm not only working on my skills, I believe getting in a specific mindset is equally as important. How else can one play for four days straight without a lapse of concentration?

On a more private note: I'm planning on moving in the very near future, and I'm very excited about the new possibilities this opens up for me.



Mahjong News: Any other words you’d like to share with the readers?

Ms. Haasbroek: I enjoy listening to jazz, shooting pool, going to the theater, hiking, dining out (probably because I'm not a kitchen diva ;) ) and I'm obsessive reader and movie buff.

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