Rinshan Kaihou Cologne
Riichi Mahjong Club

My Experience of the Berghem Tournament

published on 2022-03-19, last updated on 2022-03-12 written by Ken
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Two Years after I joined the Mahjong Club in Cologne, I had the opportunity to participate at a Richii Mahjong Tournament. I was kinda nervous how well it would work for me with my two handicaps — near deaf hearing, fine motor skill problems — but Manuel’s story about one player who he met at a tournament who was complete deaf give me the courage to say: “Screw it! Even if it will be a bad experiment, I will do it!” My First Mahjong Tournamentntioned the tournament in Berghem (NL) I did not hesitate much and fill the registration for it. Well, step one for the tournament was done, but now I had to face the biggest hurdle for me: fu point counting… Until this point, I relied on the counting of the other club members for me. Thank you for not screwing me up till this point, guys. 

Therefore, I looked it up at the Internet: What are the basic points, how much for the wait, how much is a minkou worth, how much an ankou and I was kinda surprised how “easy” it is. And thanks to the kind guiding and help by Manuel who did with three “Counting Practice” nights for another club member and me, I had the chance to practice it, and it finally made it into my head. Even I still do not like the Practice: “Which are your Waiting Titles”

Well the tournament came closer and closer, and I got more and more nervous and the night before the tournament I had no chance to sleep, and so I started overtired the trip to Berghem, picked on the way to it Thai up, and we arrived kinda early at the tournament place.

After 30 Min the rest of our group arrived, I got my brand new T-Shirt and hoodie sweater with our club logo, and Manuel handed me a tool over to help me with building walls and revealing for what I was him really thankful. After registration and picking my lucky number 15 Manuel gave us the last word on the road and I had the time to gathering my thought and trying to get calm.

At the first hanchan, I was paired with Thai (the only one of our club with whom I played a hanchan together on this day. Unfortunate for me, at the first hand ever I played, I turned over the wrong tile for the Dora Indicator. (Duh!) Then, the next “shock” for me, one Player won a hand and revealed “Damn nice titles there… How much fu and han was that again?”

Heck, I was nervous, and I did not hear the calls. However, the three were really kind to me and tried their best to calm me down a bit. At the end of the hanchan, I did not win any hands and placed 4th which was a bit of a shock for me, but on the other hand, it motivated me to do better at the further hanchans.

At this point, I want to apologize to the players who were distracted a bit by my loudness or the loudness of the other players on my tables who needed to speak louder than usual because of me. The second hanchan was quite better for me, even I did not win it and placed 2nd, but my hands were smoother and I won two or three hands for myself. Funny thing was that we only got into East 2 Honba 5.

After the lunch break, and at the third hanchan I unfortunately had the unpleasant encounter that the three other players at first count and chitchat in Dutch only. Moreover, after I beg for pardon and said, “Please at least do the counting in English!” they overacted and start to count in unpleasant manners in front of me, but well happens and overall they were nice and kind to me, so I let it slip.

Before the fourth and last hanchan started, I checked the scoreboard again and to be honest I was happy and surprise I was not ranked last, because except the second hanchan where I got 9.700 points I was always way into minus points, so I actually was expecting to be last or somewhere near bottom.

So I tried to motivate myself for the last Hanchan and said to myself “Well shit happens, let’s aim for at least for the 2rd Place at this hanchan, and maybe, maybe I get close to the four digits negative points overall”. Well self-motivation is a great thing but losing to an open tanyao hand at the first hand another thing.

Overall, the last Hanchan went well for me, who was really battling with tiredness and the constantly forgetting how my hand looks like and checking it every few seconds. At the end, I placed 3th at that table and to be honest only because my toimen had to pay a baiman. (No, not mine…) But I won two or three hands for myself, and I was able to count it.

My final thoughts about the tournament: It was fun, I was able to play with a lot of players and was kinda proud that I did not knock this much title of the walls down. The tool which Manuel made for me was a big help with my fine motor skill problems, and mostly the other players spoke with me loudly (sorry again). But the night without sleep before the tournament and the way too light Mahjong titles took their toll on me, and so I was really overtired after the tournament. I am really looking forward to the next tournament, maybe seeing few players of the Berghem tournament again, and maybe the Mahjong Gods are a bit kinder to me and let me win at least once a Hanchan, would be great really 

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