Looking back and looking ahead (onto 2018)

The book has closed on 2017, a year which has seen growth in our club internally and externally. Our club has basically added a table on average each week meaning that instead of having 16-20 people, we’re at 20-24 on average with at one point 32 people in a single week (including our teaching table). It’s not a lot per-se, but we now have a larger group of regulars and semi-regulars.

Externally, the 2017 World Riichi Championship was held in Las Vegas in October. 10 members from Seattle participated in the 224 player event and while we didn’t blow the covers off (I mean, we were playing Japanese pro(s) each round), we didn’t disgrace ourselves either:

  • 29th – Zach Francks (Lost in round of 32)
  • T-121st – Charlie McDonnell/Shane Zamora
  • 147th – Kevin Shi
  • 157th – Matt Myers
  • 162nd – Edwin Dizon
  • 166th – Kinyan Lui
  • 173rd – Anthony Hsieh
  • 174th – David Li (now part of PML)
  • 220th – Shane Rideout

I think what a lot of people from our group realized was there was still a long ways to go, and a lot to learn and improve upon in the run-up to future international tournaments.

While the book for 2017 closes, a new one for 2018 opens and with it comes a full year to plan and do things. Our club had our first retreat over the New Year’s Holiday with 20 people attending, including some visitors from California.

We’ve come out of it with a better, unified vision for our club. And a lot of it involves well… more involvement.

The opening months are already being filled up with things to do. Our main event is the Sakura-con Mahjong Room (March 30th-April 1st) we’ve held since 2013. We’ll be in the same location (Rooms 309-310), but will have a couple new wrinkles for the attendees. These include a video rig for one of the automatic tables, as well as introducing mahjong video games. The video games will span many consoles, but we will also plan to have a dedicated Saki PSP table with a tournament during the con. There will still be tables for teaching and playing of course, but we thought it would be interesting to bring in other forms available.

We’re also on the move to different locales as well. In a couple weeks’ time the University of British Columbia Mahjong Club (January 27th-28th) will be hosting a tournament. It’s definitely more laid back than other tournaments hosted around North America, but it has allowed the two clubs to build a good rapport between the members.

Have tournament, will travel… and so soon after that tournament Seattle is sending 3 teams of 4 down to Los Angeles for the LA Pride of Mahjong’s Best in the West Tournament (February 17th-18th). This is the first live team tournament that I know of in the States, though it’s more of what you saw with the current ladies’ team tournament from JPML (Japanese Professional Mahjong League).

There are other tournaments for sure – Rochester Institute of Technology (March), and Dallas-Fort Worth (April), but those are a bit further away so participation will be tougher. In addition, there are plans for a North American Open as well as the 2nd Seattle Riichi Open slated for sometime in the latter half of this year.

Our group is looking forward to an eventful 2018, as we hope to continue the successes of prior years. We hope those of you who are able, can join us on the journey.

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