COPENHAGEN - Martin Wedel Jacobsen from Denmark is the new European champion mahjong. He was a very strong revelation during the Second Open European Mahjong Championship, which was concluded today in the Danish capital of Copenhagen.
The rather shy, calculating but also quite lucky player was honored for his outstanding score of 27 points, in eight rounds. Before the last round, he was three points ahead of Kohichi Oda from Japan, so he did not really have to worry that he got just 2 points in the last round. Kohichi Oda in the final classification was just 1 point behind. Number 3 was a great surprise: the young student Benjamin Boas from the USA.
The great difference with the first OEMC, two years ago in the Netherlands, is that the European players seem to step out of the shadows of the Asian players. In Holland, the places 1 through 4 as well as the first team prize were for the Japanese. In Copenhagen, in the top ten there were only two places for the Japanese players (Kohichi Oka on 2, and Yuri Tezuka on 8) and one for the Chinese: Gao Junrong on number 10. Masato Chiba from Japan, who had a 100 percent score on the first OEMC, ended on position number 29, with 18 points.
The first team in Copenhagen, however, still was for a Japanese team: Tokyo. On the second place, the Danish team Norse Winds, whilst the third team prize was for France Bleu.
The prize for the best European player of course was also for Martin Wedel Jacobson. Mr. Martin Rep, editor of Mahjong News, handed the prize to the new official champion.
The championship was very interesting for the players on the positions number 1 through 8. They all can participate for free in the 2007 World Mahjong Championship in Chengdu, China. Above this, the number 1 gets his airline ticket and hotel cost paid by the organization of the WMC.
A very sad moment at the Second Open European Mahjong Championship today was when head referee Mr. Uwe Martens had to announce that a Japanese player had been disqualified for cheating. He had been caught in the act Saturday by the referee staff. Just before the start of the tournament, a special committee of the tournament organization confirmed the decision to disqualify him, after the Japanese had written an appeal.
For the referee team, the OEMC 2007 is a difficult event. On this tournament, almost all the talks are about the referees and the strict way that they make decisions. It is the judges and not the players now who are the new mahjong gods of the tournament.
Mr. Uwe Martens: “Luckily most players now accept that they have to take care what they are doing.' But for some players, some decisions are hard to accept. E.g. that a winning hand is declared faulty when the winning tile is not put next to the other combinations.“