CHENGDU, China - During the November 5th meeting of the Mahjong International League in Chengdu, China, the organization officially voted to accept and recognize riichi mahjong as a world competitive game. Also during the same meeting, the Sichuan style of mahjong known as bloody mahjong was officially recognized as a local-rules competitive game. These, and other steps by the MIL, continue the sportification of the mahjong.
Adding riichi mahjong began in mid-2016 when the European Mahjong Association made the formal request to the MIL that riichi mahjong be recognized. During the 1st World Grand Prix of Bloody Mahjong, held in Chengdu China, the MIL convened its 2nd executive counsel and 1st congressional meeting, during which the EMA's request was considered, and ultimately certified. The acceptance of this certification is big news to riichi mahjong players around the world as it finalizes riichi mahjong as a recognized mind-sport, opening the doors to future possibilities for world sporting competitive events as observed by the MIL, and the International Mind Sport Association (IMSA).
During this same meeting, the MIL also officially adopted Xiaoquan Xing as a formal member of the executive counsel. Mr. Xiaoquan Xing is most notable for founding China's official mahjong competition rules, adopted by the Chinese State Sports Commission as its 255th sport in January 1998. It is these rules that were the springboard for the Mahjong International League's efforts to sportify mahjong around the world, and having their author on board is both a tremendous honor, and a significant benefit to the MIL's efforts.
Continuing the sportification movement, currently the Mahjong International League holds observer status with the International Mind Sport Association, founded by honorary President José Damiani, who also sits as General Counselor of the MIL. It is the hopes of the MIL that the IMSA accepts MIL as an official participant in the IMSA, along side bridge, chess, draughts, go, and Chinese checkers. The IMSA will be convening sometime in early 2017 to further discuss the status of the MIL, and the MIL are hopeful their conclusion will be to fully accept mahjong into their mind-sport family. For mahjong players around the world, this would be outstanding news, in part because the IMSA itself has been working closely with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on a process to include the IMSA, and its various mind-sport events, as an official part of the Olympics. This continues to be a dream of mind-sport players around the world, and many continue to await what may develop from cooperation between the IMSA and the IOC.