The World Mahjong Championships Has Arrived, 80 Foreign Mahjong Players to Compete With You
Mahjong Also Has Its Own World Championships
Last Year It Was Held in Netherlands
Most people might have taken Mahjong as a casual strategic game, but now it has formed its own world-class organization like other games, making “The 3rd Mahjong Championships” held in Qianjiang, Chongqing in October 25 possible and not surprising.
The game was held by The World Mahjong Organization, an open NGO founded in October 2005, by 8 countries: China, Japan, the US, and other European nations. Up till now, 30 countries and regions have joined the organization—the leading authority on the activities, competition, training and exchange of Mahjong. In 2007, The World Mahjong Organization held the 1st World Mahjong Championships in Emeishan, Sichuan province, attracting 144 players from 17 countries and regions. The 2nd Championships was held in the Netherlands in 2010, by The European Mahjong League; 208 players from more than 20 countries and regions competed in this championship.
Although it is termed “world-class”, judging from its influence and the irregularity of the championships, the organization is still developing. One interesting thing and perhaps owing to it being the place of Mahjong’s origin, the previous two first place individual and team winners were both Chinese contestants.
Foreign Mahjong Players Also Came to Participate
Majority of Netizens Root For The Students’ Team
188 players take part in the game, among them are 80 foreigners and some students of Peking University and Tsinghua University.
It is reported that the sign up process of Chinese candidates for the Championships started in May this year. Candidates had to pass an elimination round either online or offline, a semi-final and a final in order to be qualified for the World Championships. Meanwhile, the Organizing Committee will pick the most representative players to compete in the Championships, so as to promote a healthy, scientific and friendly Mahjong culture. Previously, Tianjin, Hefei and other places have held their regional qualification games. And almost 10,000 players competed in the Chongqing regional qualification games, which took about 9 days before there was a final result.
Because of the regional qualification, the Championships attracted a lot of foreign players as well as the previous two games. In addition, the intercollegiate qualification games held in Beijing and Tianjin also attracted college students from Peking University, Tsinghua University and Nankai University, among whom 4 won the qualification for the world games. “Obviously, college-student Mahjong players are joining the games for they take Mahjong as a cultural heritage, because winners of the games will not be awarded any prize money.”
Would joining The Mahjong Championships be a bad influence to students who are supposed to focus on their studying? On October 19, a portal site ran a poll on “What do you think of college students taking part in the World Mahjong Championships?” The option “I think it’s okay for students to join the games and I think Mahjong and other card games as well are casual games. Plus students have their right to decide whether to join or not” had got the most supporters, which was 40.37%.
An Emphasis on Exchange and No Prize Money
Anyone Who Completes the Competition Can Get A Medal.
Even though the Championships have already been held two times, none of the winners have been awarded any prize money.
Jiang Xuanqi, Chief Secretary of the World Mahjong Organization had made it clear that Mahjong is a cultural heritage, so “no prize money” is the basic premise of the championship. As learned by this reporter, each player will be awarded a medal by the Organizing Committee. Each medal has its own code number and says “The 3rd World Mahjong Championship” on it, which is very memorable. What more, each country or region that has joined the games will be presented an automatic Mahjong table, and players with exceptional results will be presented a set of specially made Mahjong set.
“The Chinese culture, with Mahjong being one part of it, is very broad and profound, but many people enjoy playing Mahjong without understanding the cultural background behind the game.” Jiang Xuanqi explained that the reason why they hold such a championship is to give a chance for more people to get a deeper understanding of the game of Mahjong. And the fact that so many players participated and supported the games, even without any prize money provided, is the best positive affirmation of Mahjong culture.
It is learned by this reporter that before the World Championship, The World Mahjong Organization held a world Mahjong referee training program, and 47 foreigners took the program and examination. This year the Championship will help to give Mahjong players titles of different “grades” similar to the grades of the game of go and Chinese Chess. Players who are up to the “Mahjong Grade Qualification System” standard can all apply for and be given certificate of Mahjong Grade.
Comments from Sina Weibo :
I hope that Chinese Mahjong can be popular around the world and more foreigners will love this game.
I heard that you can see people playing Mahjong everywhere on the streets of Chongqing.
I hate Mahjong because it has become a custom for Chinese people to gamble with Mahjong. And I am afraid of it.
I love playing Mahjong, but I’ve got no one to play with.
It’s the people who gamble, not the tool that they use.
Sichuan people are going to promote Mahjong all the way to the Olympics!
If money weren’t involved, a lot of things would be a lot nicer.
[The foreigners] Must’ve all been taught by Chinese people.
Now those gamblers have got a new excuse [to play Mahjong]!
I also want to participate, how do I sign up?
The history of Mahjong is much older than that of Bridge.
Are there really people who play Mahjong without gambling?
What do you think? Have you played Mahjong before? What do you think of the game?