80 Foreign Players To Attend The World Mahjong Championships

Foreigners Play Mahjong in the 3rd World Mahjong Championship held in Chongqing in Oct. 2012.

From QQ:

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.

Foreigners Play Mahjong in the 3rd World Mahjong Championship held in Chongqing in Oct. 2012.

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%.

Foreigners Play Mahjong in the 3rd World Mahjong Championship held in Chongqing in Oct. 2012.

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.

Foreigners Play Mahjong in the 3rd World Mahjong Championship held in Chongqing in Oct. 2012.

Foreigners Play Mahjong in the 3rd World Mahjong Championship held in Chongqing in Oct. 2012.

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?

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  • Alex

    Mahjong is probably the best thing that came out of 5000 years of civilization

    • The Acidic Hasidic

      This. and its not even close.

    • linette lee

      …………Mahjong is probably the best thing that came out of 5000 years of civilization…….

      hahaha…..yes yes yes. ;}

      I don’t like Mahjong though. Too noisy. I hate the sound of it.

  • J-PAX


  • PixelPulse

    I only played the online one, looks a lot different in real life but it sounds like fun to play in a championship. I dont know why its important to know the history of the game though, I could care less about learning how dominoes or chess came about.

  • A Lu

    Three chinese friends tried to teach me. Immediately they started arguing about the rules to follow (they are from 3 different provinces). So, I still can’t play.

    Are there any standard rules?

    • The Acidic Hasidic

      Sichuan varient is most common (at least in beijing) and is referred to as 傻瓜麻将 or idiots mahjong.

      Everyone draws their tiles 13 (ill let them explain ordering to you). pick one up throw one down, until you win.

      Your goal is to make a hand consisting of 3 of a kind(s), 4 of a kind(s) or runs and 1 pair. Runs have to be the same suit (3,4,5 all bamboo). So a finished hand would look like (xxx,yyy,zzz,xyz, ww) or (abc,abc,def,xxx,yy). The 14th tile comes from your last draw that you dont discard.

      if you have xx in your hand and somebody else discards an x, you can peng it, meaning out of turn you pick it up and lay down xxx face up. Disadvantages are that people now know what type of hand you are making. also if you peng and lose the game its minus points.

      if your hand is xxx,yyy,zzz, tuv w (you are waiting for an T or W) and somebody discards that card then you can immediatley pick it up and win.

      • pengyou

        What you say basically the same for mostly any styles of mahjong.

        The main differences are:
        – in the ways you count points (ergo money)
        – some ending rules that get extra points
        – who pays (only the guy who gave the card / or everybody)

        Japanese mahjong has some different rules, notably a wild card randomly chosen in the end
        Taiwan mahjong has 16 tiles and counts flowers (most mainland styles skip flowers afaik)
        Mainland does have standard (guobiao) mahjong rules that are likely used in this kind of event but are not so exciting.
        To begin I recommend you to check out the guobiao rules though or HK mahjong.

    • Strangerland

      OMG same thing happened with me, two Chinese friends eager to teach me Mahjong but they ended up arguing about the “right mahjong game” and I still can’t play it now. A bit interesting though, when I watch the Chinese movies especially from the bygone era, and these madams suddenly throw their mahjong to the table and got to win- neglecting husband and houseworks. LOL.

  • Rick in China

    Is this really a “hot story” on the China internet circuit? Seems pretty *yawn* to me. Wow, 80 foreigners competing in Mahjong! Zero prize money for the win! Amaaaaazing.

    • Germandude

      So you too will be unable to sleep tonight because of this breaking news?

    • BigJ

      Yeah so fucking lame.

    • Cynic

      If you want excitement Rick we can argue with each other and see who gets banned first.

      • Rick in China

        That’s a bullshit comment Cynic, if you have nothing useful to say don’t comment on my post!

        (your turn)

        • Cynic

          You only want useful comments mister hypocrite? Half of your posts are mired with such banality they would cause a monkey to eat its own feces. Whats next, japes pointed at my use of grammar?


          • Rick in China

            Obviously you don’t know that many types of monkeys engage in coprophagia without any additional incentive required. Besides, we’re off topic, we all know Mah Jong was invented by Marco Polo when he visited during the Yuan dynasty but wasn’t *really* popular until a little later during the Ming dynasty, hence the myth it originated during the Ming dynasty.

          • Cynic

            i’m going to sue marco polo and maybe even you for perpetuating these lies. Cant believe these comments are allowed here. I should ask for the internet to be taken down.

          • mr.wiener

            for real?

          • Rick in China

            Forrealz! Go to english corners and entice arguments (RL trolling) with this one, as well as “China stole noodles from Italy, and Communism..even your flag, from Russia!” :D

    • rollin wit 9’s

      no prize money because it was already embezzled and shoveled off into someone’s account.

    • dave

      More important than grandpa Wen’s 2.7 million dollars.

      • Rick in China

        I never really had an issue with leaders being wealthy, I wouldn’t want a broke ass guy leading my country. You’d expect a country’s leader to have massive connections and means to make a lot of cash – and that’s totally acceptable to me, it’s only an issue when it’s exclusively through embezzlement and theft, and that’s not necessarily the case..even though so many would jump to that conclusion regardless of evidence to suggest it.

      • Rick in China

        I have to retract my statement (in context) above. Your statement was wrong – it’s not 2.7 MILLION, it’s 2.7 BILLION dollars, spread across his family members. There’s a HUGE difference between 2.7 million and 2.7 billion….

        I think we can all agree that 2.7 million dollars for a senior gov’t official isn’t much *at all*, and totally reasonable. The mistake here is BILLION. 2.7 BILLION dollars….. and that’s a little more than *fishy*.

  • Cynic

    really lao wai can use chopsticks?

  • Con ate dog

    They must be pretty good. I play on occasion, but I usually get my ass kicked.

  • Cynic

    Look how shitty their hands are in the pictures. They must be playing chicken scratch hands. Which really isn’t playing mahjong at all.

  • Harland

    I’ve been to the “Museum of Majiang” in Ningbo, where majiang was invented (there are several competing stories but all agree 1860 or thereabouts). I was hoping to see some really cool majiang sets. They had about three or four, the rest were all Japanese or Korean or Chinese crap sets. Never before have I been so disappointed by a museum. It’s not even a proper museum, it’s just one open-air room in the Tianyi Library.

    I’d like majiang a lot more if it were not a glorified version of Rummy. Yawn. Lead, follow, or ditch. Zzzzz….

    • mr.wiener

      I prefer Chinese drinking games to Majiang any day of the week…..I wonder how many brain cells I can lose this weekend?

    • You need to see “The Thing” on Interstate 10 near Willcox, Arizona if you want to see a cheezy museum. It’s worth the 1$ entry fee just to see how bad it is.

      • Fire

        Hey, Ghostcopter is good. I enjoy it.

        • Your musical taste is outstanding :)
          Seriously, thanks for the props, Fire. I should explain that the songs on that website all were rejected for a movie I’m working on but I didn’t want to just dump them as I’d grown rather attached to them. I’ll have some new stuff coming soon.(More rejects)

          • Fire

            I look forward to listen to more of them. Other people here know about your music? those rhythm transport me to another place, they are great. No point destroying any work of art that have been created, they should be shared.

          • haha….You’re very kind. I agree they shouldn’t be destroyed. It’s not so much that the songs were bad, just not suitable for the movie.
            BACK TO MORE MAHJONG!!

          • linette lee

            hey ghostcopter, where is the link to your music? Are they good?

          • Should be on my avatar if you click on my name.

          • linette lee

            I like your music. It’s very nice. You should post your music on youtube. You will have fans. :)

            I also like this type of music.

      • Driving from Fort Walton Beach, Florida to Los Angeles on Interstate 10, my friend, Dan and I got outside of El Paso when we saw the first billboard advertising “The Thing” (It’s all desert and flattened rattlesnake carcasses so you can’t miss it) 10 miles later….another billboard. “The Thing……What is it?” Another 10 miles….another billboard. ”The Thing…..Scientists Can’t Explain It!” These billboards lure you in all through New Mexico until finally…..

        Dan: We’re stopping to see “The Thing”.
        Me: Fuckin-A right we are.

        To be continued….. BACK TO THE MAHJONG!

        • mr.wiener

          so what was the “thing” after all that buildup?

          • Don’t spoil it, wiener! It’s an ongoing work of art mirroring the way Dan and I were suckered in to see “The Thing”

            If you must know right away….read here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Thing_%28tourist_attraction%29
            But I can assure you it doesn’t begin to describe how shitty it really is.

          • mr.wiener

            The horror….the horror…..

          • Episode 2

            I parked my truck in front of some genuine Native American teepees made out of concrete. After passing through the gift shop full of genuine Native American drums and tomahawks made in China we wandered over to the ticket booth, took out our 1 dollars and purchased 2 tickets to enter the domain of “The Thing”. After going into the first building, our ears were assaulted by the most aggressive ad campaign I’ve ever heard. “T-shirts! T-shirts! T-shirts! T-shirts! Get your “Thing” T-shirts! T-shirts! T-shirts! 1 for 2 dollars or 3 for 5 dollars! T-shirts! T-shirts!” It was like a fucking nightmare. We entered the first room. The Old West Barbwire Museum. It was just as it said. A collection of barbwire showing the different styles and shapes of ……..barbwire. I never imagined barbwire could be so fascinating. T-shirts!

            To be continued………. . . . .MORE MAHJONG MADNESS!!!

          • Seppo1

            Wow, a well spoken (but somewhat naive) USA person. A diamond in the rough. Too bad your episodes stink of ‘old world’. You could probably find a book written by an anthropologist about what was there before “The Thing”, as you put it.

            Fucking ignorant seppos. I would asciii facepalm if I was sure of the formatting.

          • Episode 3

            Let’s continue, shall we?…………….. . . . We walked through several more exhibits of……well……you just have to see for yourself but the most notable was an old Rolls Royce convertible sporting a sign that read “This car was said to be once owned by Adolf Hitler. THE THING is………nobody knows this for certain”. As we walked towards the room containing “THE THING” we noticed an old mah-jong table with a giant blood stain. There was a sign on the wall reading “At this table, the legendary Chinese bandit, Ching Ho, had his throat slashed by his mistress, Wang Ziyi, after showing his hand of 3 Tens, 3 Jacks, 3 Queens, 3 Kings and a pair of Aces and winning her entire fortune that she had built up as the madame of The Gilded Cage Cat-house and Saloon in Tuscon, Arizona. Ching Ho had been a railroad worker that escaped the camp and joined up with the local Mescalero Apache tribe who after hijacking several stagecoaches gave him the name, Anatonka, which means “Shitty Driver” in the Mescalero dialect. His great, great, great grandson still remains in America and owns the Mongolian Barbeque in Pahrump, Nevada. Wang Ziyi escaped back to Beijing, China where her great, great, great grand-daughter, actress Zhang Ziyi, still maintains her bitchy disposition.”
            (Ok, I made up the story about the mah-jong table as a clever way to remain on topic because I know fuck-all about mah-jong but I did read on E-How about the basic rules)

            To be continued……. BACK TO MAH JONG MAYHEM!

          • Episode 4

            Ok……now is the part with THE THING. As I mentioned before……as you walk through and inspect all the cool exhibits your ears are being barraged and assaulted by advertising to buy some “THE THING” merchandise. Mugs, glasses, bow and arrows, Indian headdresses with feathers, hats, etc. We stood with dread reading the sign. “You are about to enter the Lair of THE THING” I walked up to the glass case in which THE THING was entombed. Inside was a what looked to be some mummified remains of a humanoid-type creature holding a baby. It seemed to be made of wood and was obviously made by the worst craftsman ever with a friggin chainsaw.
            Dan: Awwwwww maaaaaaaaan. Are you fucking kidding me?
            Me: Fuckin-A. This is officially the stupidest thing ever. (Note to Seppo 1: While there is an abundance of important and significant archeological sites in the area concerning Native American civilization, it is not to be found here.)
            As I observed THE THING, a loudspeaker is blaring “Hot Dogs! Hot Dogs! Hot Dogs!! Hot Dogs! Get your Hot Dogs at THE THING Snack Bar! Hot Dogs! Hot Dogs! Hot Dogs! 3 for 5 dollars plus a XXX large soft drink! HOT DOGS! hot dogs! Hot Dogs! HOT DOGS!!!! I suddenly realized that absolute genius of the entrepreneur that put this whole clip joint together. A million dollar advertising campaign for a 10 dollar chunk of wood that he probably carved himself. It didn’t matter how shitty it was….he had already separated me from my 1 dollar.
            The EXIT led right into the gift shop. As we perused through the shop, my eyes suddenly froze and the angels sang as I made a frozen rope, straight to the shelf displaying the coolest thing ever. That items that was and to this day, the perfect ice-breaker for parties and night clubs anywhere. ………RATTLESNAKE EGGS! If you’re not familiar with Rattlesnake Eggs you can check this here link… http://www.oldlivery.com/store/souvenirs/rattlesnake_eggs.htm

            Basically, it’s a small envelope with a picture of a rattlesnake and a warning, CAUTION! Store eggs in a cool place to prevent hatching. Inside the envelope is a washer on a rubber band that you wind up about 25-50 times so that anyone who is curious to look inside the envelope will be suddenly startled by the snapping, rattling sound, as if a baby rattlesnake had hatched and scaring the bejesus out of anybody in the vicinity. It was totally worth stopping at THE THING just to score Rattlesnake Eggs.
            We pulled back onto the Interstate heading west. We knew we’d be in LA several hours later and ready to hit a club and draw the ladies to us with our Rattlesnake Eggs. ( SINGLE FILE, LADIES!) A few miles later, I spotted another billboard reading:
            “If you missed THE THING, make a U-turn at next exit!”

            The End

  • Getrealson

    Just when you thought that China couldn’t get any more fucking boring, along comes a Mahjong competition/museum/discussion.

    • Seppo1

      Switch back to youtube, CNN or whatever it is that you lowly fools watch then fucktard

  • DrumBass

    Let’s have a guess, all those “foreigners” are either white or black and will get face winning coverage on tv?

    • Seppo1

      And you are sad because you will never even see a commercial TV camera in your lifetime, whinging pom

  • Ruffled Feathers

    Is this the best news they could come up with? Boring as shit; next.

  • linette lee

    Mahjong is such a hard game. I tried to play but I still don’t play too well. It’s hard. It’s harder than poker. I don’t know how. No mahjong or poker for me.

    • bprichard

      Poker is much much harder than mahjong. At least it is if you want to play it well. It’s easier to learn the rules of poker, but not getting your shit taken when playing with real players is much much harder.

      • Rick in China

        Poker is much harder than Mahjong – definitely right there. Mahjong is learning a process and following through it, the strategy being watching what tiles other people are playing and picking which sets you want to go for – then just *going thru the motions* until the game ends, for the most part.

        Poker is better because – there’s a social element, and that makes it immeasurably more difficult. You have to learn to read people, play a persona, change your persona to throw them off guessing what you’ve got at times, figuring out when they’re doing the same, learn to bet properly for different types of game outcome depending on what people likely have, learn odds on different card combinations across the board… the “rules” are easy, the strategy is not.. I’ve been getting into Texas Hold’em lately and while we play for small amounts, play a few hours a week in general, and it’s great. :D

        • bprichard

          Dead on. I like to play both, but my mindset is completely different. When I play mahjong, I’m totally relaxed, more or less running on an internal algorithm. I’ve played a lot of mahjong, so there is rarely much need to think. With a little additional focus, players can do a fairly decent job of guessing what pieces their opponents need to go out (in some circumstances).

          When I play poker (assuming I don’t fold my initial hand, which I almost always do), things get a lot more intense, and I have to consider who I’m playing against and how they are running. Then run a lazy man’s version of hand and pot odds (easy enough in Hold ‘Em, but a huge pain in Omaha).

          It’s just day and night.

  • Henry

    Mah Jong has been been big in the New York Jewish community for nearly a century.

    • bprichard

      Yup, the rules of American Mahjong are quite different, though.

  • rollin wit 9’s

    sorry, but I’ll stick to Tom Clancy

    • mr.wiener

      Is his next book going to be about a broke ass America climbing out of the financial hole created its knavish enemies [Russia, China and those nasty muslims]?

      • Seppo1

        And when he is on his death-bed he will write about the USA (not America you ignorant fucktard) spending their effort and money internally to better their own country and people, rather than slaughtering poor people in other countries.

        • mr.wiener

          Aww , somebody’s grumpy huh? Could we get him a biscuit. I think the poor lad is hypoglycemic.
          why do you make the distinction between the USA ans America anyway?

  • CAPT. WE x-D

    I hate this game. I don’t understand how Chinese people can play it for days on end.

    • Seppo1

      You would rather pump hundreds of dollars into a flashing slot machine, by yourself, in a seedy corner of Vegas? How many seppos do this?

  • ThinkBlue

    What the hell is scientific mahjong culture?

  • Rick in China

    There is a difference between serving the people for the betterment of their country, and *being servants* of the people. I do not consider government employees to be *servants* of any sort, but they do (or should) serve.

    Are there any presidents/prime ministers in the world who are not millionaires?

  • Thank you to all chinese players and the organisation commitee to let us have such a beautiful moment.
    I really enjoyed facing all thoose players and will come for sure once again.

  • dim mak

    Bitches. It’s not mahjong if there’s no money involved.

  • 安全套的安,奥迪的迪

    …i might check back, but only to see i cynic mr. weiner and rick in china go on. What the h happened to this website? Fiona, those facebook connect buttons + lots of copy pages about other countries – lack of new or interesting content, or even interest in what happens to your “successful business” = a business model you might want to reevaluate. Catching the interest of a few hundred 老外 in china and nanny hiccups doesn’t make you facebook. do one thing well before you take over the world. Shenyang

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