|Trying Your Hand at Tournaments
Some people play Mah Jongg for years without ever playing in a tournament, and some frequently travel throughout the country, and even the world, sparing no expense, to play in them. Autumn is a popular time for tournaments, as summer vacations are a memory, and players have had ample time to familiarize themselves and play with the current NMJL Mah Jongg card.
Some tournaments are sponsored by a local Mah Jongg group and take place in a community center, recreation center, church, or synagogue. These tournaments generally draw local players and may last a few hours. Attendees may range from 20 to nearly 100. If you have never played in a tournament before, this may be a good one to attend.
There are tournaments sponsored by Mah Jongg-related groups that are often held in hotels. These tournaments may occur over an entire day or even a weekend. Attendees may number in the hundreds and may travel several hours to attend.
Tournaments may also be held on cruise ships. The actual cost of the tournament may be small, or perhaps included in the cost of the cruise. These tournaments tend to draw players from throughout the United States and perhaps from other countries too.
While most tournaments offer prizes of some sort, often cash, some tournaments offer Master Points, which allow players to be ranked internationally.
Did you know that Mah Jongg gained recognition as the 25th sport by the State Sports Commission of China in January 1998?
There are some international tournaments that do not play Western-style Mah Jongg. Just like major sports like soccer, there is a World Championship of Mah Jongg! Players from thirty countries are meeting in Las Vegas from October 5-9, 2017 to take part in the second World Riichi Championship.Riichi Mah Jongg is a Japanese variant, which until recently has mostly only been popular in Japan. However, there is an increasing player base worldwide. The competitors are by invitation-only. This is an elimination tournament, with a pool of 240 players eventually narrowed down to a single World Champion. Here is a fascinating look at a group of international amateur and pro Mah Jongg players who traveled to Las Vegas to compete for the title of ‘World Champion’ at the biggest Mah Jongg tournament ever- the World Riichi Championship 2017.
You can also follow all of the action at the World Riichi Championship here
Whatever your fancy, and whatever your skill level, if you have not played in a Mah Jongg tournament, consider playing in one soon. Start small or play on a grand scale; there are many opportunities to do so!