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麻将
The Third China Majiang Championship and Forum

October 29-31, 2005, Beijing, China

Although I only placed 90th out of 92 players, I really did win a hand once in a while, and here's proof. Nagi-san was using my camera when I won this one. Pure Straight, Mixed Double Chow, All Chows. I had a couple other wins get captured on camera too (Kaori Tanaka filmed one of them.)
I really wanted to capture a picture of the Great Wall behind the tournament building.
Looking at this part of the Wall you have to wonder why it was deemed important to put it here. This part clearly shows that the Great Wall isn't a single linear structure. Rather, there are parts of it hither and thither, with branches jutting off.
This part of the Wall goes right along the ridgetop.

The Jixian Training Center exists amid rugged surroundings. Wonder if we'll see this place during the televised proceedings in 2008.
The last round hath ended. I hadn't met Aono-san (left) before this, but when he signed his name and country on our table's score sheet I recognized the characters for "Japan" so I chatted with him in Japanese a little before the round began. The man on the right, Mr. Gan Lie, reminded me of my uncle Elmer in Louisiana (they have similar chins).
It was an exciting round. At one point in the game, Mr. Gan had accused Aono-san of not saying "hu" properly on a win (it's a rule that one must say "hu" when winning). But when the referee came around, I defended Aono-san. "He said hu, I heard him."
I guess I made good karma for myself by doing so. When I won a hand, the lady (Wang Fengzhi) argued against the points I was claiming, but Aono-san defended my score.
Then, Mr. Aono got Mr. Gan back. Mr. Gan said "pung," then decided not to make the pung. Aono-san called a referee over, and Mr. Gan got docked some points on the spot.
We survived another harrowing ride back to the Yuxinyuan, getting back after sunset.
Pretty, huh?

The awards ceremony. If you squint (or if you have the original 4-megapixel image rather than this shrunken web photo), you can see Mr. Liu at left and Ma Huidi at right.
The #1 winner has been announced. It's Gao Jun. I played a round against him, and I hadn't noticed him to be that fierce a competitor. (I had noticed the way that he was always chatting up the older lady at our table.)
The China Jiexiu team took 3rd place in the team competition (it was the best Chinese team). Zhang Bingcheng (L) and Jiao Linghua (2nd from left) were both notably tough opponents when I played against them (in different rounds). Zhang Bingcheng took 4th place in the individual competition. Just my luck to be placed at the same table as the toughest players at the tournament.
The 1st and 2nd place team awards went to the Japan Sports Majan Association. These eight players comprised two teams. On the list of teams, their team names were written in English as "Japanese Majhong Turnverein Team" (team A and team B) -- but nobody knows what "turnverein" means. These folks came seemingly out of nowhere to take top honors! I hadn't encountered any of them at WCMJ in Tokyo, CMOC in Hainan, or OEMC in Nijmegen. But wow, what great players. And really nice folks too.
I already told you the story of the round I played against Aono-san (in the brown suit). I also played a round with Suzuki-san (the lady to his right) - she was darned good, let me tell you.

The staff got bouquets...
... and immediately gave them to the foreign guests! The referee next to me told me that he remembered me from Hainan.
Staff photo. Without these folks, the tournament wouldn't have gone so smoothly.
I didn't catch this lady's name. She's a filmmaker, and was making a documentary with some of the European guests. Remember that night Henrik had to ask me to sit in for him?

I wanted a photo of me with the champ.
Henrik and the French/Hungarian team joined in the photo.
Mr. Okuma was pleased that I was wearing the necktie with his handwriting on it.
The Danish contingent joins in.

Mugging with Kajimoto-san.
The world champ and the Chinese champ.

Four champions. Sune Korreman, top European player from OEMC'05, reigning world champion Mai Hatsune, Gao Jun (top Chinese player), and Masato Chiba (European champ).
Players from the top team. L to R: Suzuki-san, Saga-san, Aono-san, Idota-san.
The French team. Me (USA), Stéphane Parcollet, András (Andy) Boda (Hungary), Laurent Mahé.
Quan Li was having a good time.

The French team wanted to do a stacked-fists picture and Quan Li wanted in on it, but we shooed him away.
French team with fists stacked.
May Hu was a coordinator who helped us with a lot of the details before and during the trip. Details like making the hotel get the hot water to work (the water was hot enough for showering only after we complained, twice) and making sure we got transportation to and from the airport, and she even helped get my reservation for my last couple of days in downtown Beijing. At the final dinner, I commented to her that I liked the music they'd played over the sound system between rounds and during dinners. She relayed my comment, and as a result I was given one of the CDs (American oldies, played with Chinese instrumentation). She even gave me the name of the other CD (Chinese traditional music) so I could go looking for it. I love shopping excursions with a specific goal! May is a law student (studying criminal law).
Posing with my fave, Kaori Tanaka, and my good friend Nagi-san. These are the folks who witnessed some of the hands that I actually did win! (^_^)

A group shot of the Europeans and the Japanese regulars. By which I mean, the Japanese folks who I'd come to know from numerous tournaments. The JSMA folks who took top team honors were new to me, but I expect I'll see them again next time.
Mr. Gao and Mr. Okuma.
With Aya Furukawa. Kawaii desu, ne?
One more picture with Kaori Tanaka. Kanojo mo kawaii!
I don't know why, but Japanese women often strike this sort of pose. Or they make V signs ("peace signs") with two fingers, or some other exaggerated pose. I guess it comes from living in a culture that's stereotypically associated with cameras and picture-taking...
But you'd think that someone who makes her living behind the camera would view things differently. Ah well. I had a good time.

Mugging with Chiba-san. He seemed very different from my first remembrance of him in Nijmegen. Then he seemed so reserved, shy almost. But in Beijing he was very outgoing. He joked a lot, was very companionable.
The after-party party. We European types got together with the Japanese regulars for more drinking and storytelling. Each of us had to make a toast...
...and that was unfortunate.
Because after each toast...

...another swallow had to be taken.
I get a headache just looking at these pictures again.
Mr. Okuma was smart. He left early and went to bed.
A little too late, I did the same.

And another late night game in the lobby of Bldg. #2 was going on.


Friday, October 28, 2005 - First Day in China
Saturday, October 29, 2005 - Tournament Day One
Sunday, October 30, 2005 - Tournament Day Two
Monday, October 31, 2005 - Last Tournament Day
Wednesday, November 2, 2005 - Sightseeing in Beijing
Thursday, November 3, 2005 - Last Beijing Outing



Copyright 2005 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.