Po krótkiej przerwie wracamy do wnikania w struktury zorganizowanej grupy Osamuko. Tym razem, moi agenci wpadli, zupełnie przypadkiem, na agenta o kryptonimie Shaun Drury.
- How did you start at Mahjong?
At university, we always played games like hearts, bridge, poker etc, my housemate brought home a mahjong set he brought off ebay, we learned to Japanese rules off youtube videos, then we just started playing between ourselves.
- What do you like the most about the game?
The strategy is great, every draw you make is like a new puzzle to solve, there’s plenty of room to be aggressive and to be defensive. Every hand is different, and it’s huge fun trying to work out the best thing to do with each new hand.
- How often do you play?
When I was at university, we would play at least one hanchan a day, sometimes more. I would then play a few games on Tenhou, but since I’ve graduated, I’ve played less and less, I played in a recent online team tournament, but my team got knocked out early, so I did some commentary instead.
- Online or live Mahjong – which do you prefer and why?
Live, any day of the week. Playing online is just so impersonal. When you play with 3 other people, you have to be able to read body language, and think on your feet, the computer will not tell you when you’re in tenpai or furiten here, it will not help you how to score, you really have to know the game to play live.
- How do you pratice?
I don’t really practice in the traditional sense, I don’t sit and play for hours on end. In my opinion, playing 5 hanchans online does not give you even one hanchan of experience in live play. As a game, Riichi Mahjong doesn’t have as high a skill or strategy ceiling as a game like bridge (which I also play) which requires constant revision on conventions and bidding techniques, as well as card play and defence. The hardest thing to get right in Mahjong is knowing whether or not to attack or defend. Anyone can learn HOW to attack or defend, but knowing when to employ either strategy is REALLY hard to get right, and it’s something that I still struggle with.
- Favorite Yakuman?
Ryuuiisou or Suuankou Tanki. I’ve been playing for almost 3 years, and I’ve only had one yakuman in play, and that was a Kokushi Musou.
- Any tournament achievements?
I came 3rd out of 32 at both the 2013 and 2014 UK Riichi Mahjong Tournaments.
- A quick tip for Mahjong beginners?
Two tips: One: STOP OPENING YOUR HAND SO QUICKLY, chill out a little, stop going for Toi Toi and Honitsu, experiment with closed hands and learn how powerful they can become.
Two: Not losing points is much more important than gaining them.