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By Tom Sloper (湯姆·斯洛珀)

October 7, The Year Of The Pig
Column #338

Mahjong Competition Rules. It's almost here: the long-awaited World Mahjong Championship. The organizers are calling it the First World Mahjong Championship, but of course we recall the World Championship of Mahjong in Tokyo in 2002. Since this is the first world championship that's hosted and organized by the World Mahjong Organization (, perhaps it makes sense for them to call it that.

To add to the confusion, the WMC is the culmination of a series of events that some have called a "world series" in the face of two other competing "world series." One was in Macau, and was highly successful (using Alan Kwan's "Zung Jung" rules), and the other failed to materialize. Regardless of what the upcoming event is called, it's going to be great. Players from around the world have been waiting for this one, and they'll be there in droves.

If past WMO-organized events are any kind of yardstick, the majority of players will be Chinese, and extremely skilled players those Chinese are (after all, mahjong originated in China). There will also be great players from Austria, Denmark, France, Italy, Holland, Hungary, Japan, Sweden, and yes, there'll even be at least one full United States team competing.

The event also includes the first Mahjong Cultural Exchange Congress, a gathering of world mahjong and mind sports luminaries, to confer on future events and the promotion of mahjong worldwide. It's likely there will be some politicking and controversy as well. There will probably be further aftereffects of the infamous Copenhagen cheating incident (see column 325). And the big online mahjong providers, GigaMedia ( and MahjongTime (, are vying with one another for future online competitions. GigaMedia already announced a five-year exclusive co-host role of the MahJong World Championship with the WMO (, and MahjongTime is supposed to host an American online tournament this month (date yet to be announced).

The 2007 World Mahjong Championship will take place November 1-5 in Chengdu, Sichuan - in the very heart of China. As in the past, this column will now focus on MCR as I prepare. See you in Chengdu!


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© 2007 Tom Sloper. All rights reserved.