Cambridge mahjong ace in creditable world championship performance

PUBLISHED: 10:34 16 October 2017 | UPDATED: 11:36 17 October 2017

Chris Rowe member of the British team in this weekÄôs World Riichi Championship in Las Vegas, pictured at Cambridge Design Partnership, Church Road, Toft, Cambridge. Picture: Keith Heppell

Chris Rowe member of the British team in this weekÄôs World Riichi Championship in Las Vegas, pictured at Cambridge Design Partnership, Church Road, Toft, Cambridge. Picture: Keith Heppell

Iliffe Media Ltd

Chris Rowe finishes 146th out of 240 in Las Vegas tournament

A former Cambridge university student finished a creditable 146th out of 240 players in the 2017 Riichi Mahjong world championship in Las Vegas.

Christopher Rowe, who works for Cambridge Design Partnership, was selected to take part in the event after excelling at the game in England.

The event, which took place in the Palm Casino resort complex just off the Sunset Strip, was held just days after the worst gun massacre in American history.

Riichi mahjong is a Japanese variant of the ancient Chinese game. It is a tabletop game that is played by four players, with each player having a hand which they must try to complete to win points from the other players. It shares similarities with Rummikub and card games such as gin rummy and poker. It is played with 34 different tiles, of which there are four of each type, to make up 136 tiles used in total.

Mr Rowe, 27, began playing the game as a child and was delighted to compete against some professional Japanese players.

He said: “Mahjong is a four-player game with tiles. There are a lot of different ways to score points. A lot of the game is matching tiles as runs of three in the same suit.

“Overall I was happy with how I did. I would have liked to have finished a bit higher but jet lag and nerves meant I didn’t play my absolute best. I played against a lot of the Japanese pros and managed to beat a few, both in games and in the final rankings. One of my games was against the JPML president Shigekazu Moriyama, and was broadcast on Japan’s MondoTV online, I lost though.”

The shooting massacre a few days prior to the tournament was a tragedy but Mr Rowe never had any doubts about playing.

He added: “Most people were fairly pragmatic about it, in that it was a one-off incident that has happened. The whole championship was played inside one hotel which was a mile and a half away from the incident so security was fine.”

Japanese player Masaharu Tomotake was crowned world champion.

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