This is in response to Gemma\'s Journal on EMA riichi rules:
http://www.reachmahjong.com/home/index. ... 4&Itemid=1
EMA is certainly democratic, I would hate it if people think otherwise, and of course rules can - and should be - debated!However, should things like open tanyao be opened for discussion, now that the players are more established? Should there be a more democratic stance taken on these controversial points? Or perhaps more than one sort of rule set should be allowed but that all rules approved by the EMA will count towards the EMA ranking… That might be a compromise that we could all get behind.
Before returning to the questions posed, let\'s begin with a little background on the EMA riichi rules.
In early 2008 EMA established a riichi rules working group which consisted of Dutch and Danish players and some English speaking advisors from Japan including Jenn Barr and Ben Boas. The Dutch and Danish riichi player communities were and are the largest in Europe, to the best of my knowledge. And independently of each other we played virtually the same riichi rules, which it turned out were in some instances a bit oldfashioned compared to modern day riichi in Japan. We changed several rules to be more up to date, but some we chose to keep, full well knowing that they would seem outdated to the pro Japanese players.
Keeping Tanyao concealed was not due to a fear of change, or anything like that. It was motivated by the different play level and thus play style of pro Japanese and most Euro players. Expert players know when and how to use Tanyao: defensively for a quick win in order to keep a dangerous opponent from winning, or offensively if combined with e.g. several dora tiles. But if the field of players are less experienced they might simply go for the hand almost every time, in a way a pro player never would. It tends to spoil the fun of the game somewhat. In a way the concealed tanyao is there in order to increase the defensive element in the European riichi game.
Pro players really ought to have no problem changing between rule sets, but yes you need to remind yourself if you\'re used to other rules. One day\'s intensive training should do the trick. I recommend showing up a day early for tournaments, this usually allows you to play with the competitors, e.g. Friday night before the tournament the next day, as well as having time to meet and greet with new and old mahjong friends.
EMA is not ready to make changes to the riichi rules just yet; the issue has just been discussed. This is not a top down, stubborn, undemocratic decision; actually we also talk to players. In the Danish riichi community the concealed Tanyao is strongly supported. The concealed Tanyao is still well motivated, and rules should not be changed too often. But one day EMA might be ready for Open Tanyao.
Lastly I must say that I am strongly opposed to the idea of allowing different kinds of riichi rules sets in European ranked tournaments. It would kill the whole idea of a standard, unifying rule set. Standard rule sets is what allows mahjong to spread, and what allows us to play with each other across borders.
I hope this sheds some light on the process and the motivation of the rules.
(EMA vice president, President of Mahjong Danmark and author of the EMA riichi rules)