Mahjong Ban in China

Mahjong tilesThe Communist Party of China has banned government officials in Guangzhou and Leishan from playing Mahjong. While apparently an anti-corruption measure, according to The Wall Street Journal the ban is not limited to gambling.

Also newly prohibited for government officials, attending night clubs.

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Score Board - Boardgame tournaments, competitions and championships results and scoresChess

More than 1700 people competed in the various tournaments of the Moscow Open. The rapid Superfinal, was won by Alexander Grischuk, who was the 2012 World Blitz Champion, after defeating Evgeniy Najer in a tie-breaker match. The Women’s Superfinal was won by Daria Charochkina. In the Men’s Cup of Russia, Alexander Moiseenko of Ukraine and Maxim Matlakov of Russia shared first place, having equal results on all three tie-breaker criteria.

Another event at the Moscow Open was a Chess-Shogi Biathalon, in which Boris Mirnik of Germany was the winner. Boris told organizers that he only plays Chess about once a year, preferring Shogi instead.

Baadur Jobava of Georgia won the Bronstein Memorial on tiebreaks in Minsk, Belarus after drawing his last two games early, both on move 15.

Hrant Melkumyan won the inaugural Casino Graz Open in Austria.

Magic: The Gathering

Special Grand Prix events over the previous year qualified 40 players for the first Super Sunday Series Championship February 8th and 9th. All received expense-paid travel from WOTC, met with WOTC execs, and had the opportunity to play some games with WOTC R&D. Also part of the weekend was a tournament that combined standard and draft, Theros, Born of the Gods, and Modern Masters. And taking home the $6,000 top prize was Owen Turtenwald.

At Grand Prix Paris, a player about to enter the top 8 was disqualified for errors made earlier in round 13. In the end, though, Javier Dominguez of Spain claimed the title.

A tough draft didn’t stop Mark Lalague of the United States from winning Grand Prix Mexico City.


Mathias Horvat took home the trophy at the second Mahjong Swiss Championship.

Rubik’s Cube

Mharr Justhinne Ampong solved Skewb in a world record 3.21 seconds at the Pangasinan Northern Express Open in the Philippines, only to be bested a day later by Brandon Harnish with a 2.19 second solve at Bay Area Speedcubin’ 2 in California.

At the Princeton Winter, Justin Mallari solved a 3×3 one-handed in 10.38 seconds for a North American record.

Perennial record-holder, Feliks Zemdegs, won the Melbourne Summer with an average of 7.17 seconds, while also setting an Oceanian record of 5.66 seconds for 3×3 single attempt.

A robot built with Lego can solve a standard 3×3 Rubik’s cube in 3 seconds.

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Mahjong Equipped Yachts

Sunseeker YachtNoticing the same trend in the international growth of rich people as the aircraft outfitter I reported on recently, British yacht builder, Sunseeker, has begun offering Mahjong tables to its Asian customers.

[via The Guardian]

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Private Jet Automatic Mahjong Table

Responding to requests from a growing Asian market, Jeff Bonner Research and Development, an aircraft parts manufacturer, has developed a custom automatic Mahjong table for private jet installations. Actually, the company has designed a whole semi-private, Asian-arts inspired Mahjong room to go with the table.

Now where is that affiliate code?

Jeff Bonner Mahjong

[via Aviation News]


Score Board - Boardgame tournaments, competitions and championships results and scoresMahjong

In Hongkou, Sichuan Province, China, 2,380 players claimed the world record for the most participants in a Mahjong activity. [I’m sorry but this one’s not that impressive.]


The Women’s World Chess Championship is over, which is a good thing for the winner, Hou Yifan. Still only 19 years old and a full-time student, she has to get back to the university and cram for exams.

After 13 rounds at the World Junior Chess Championship in Kocaeli, Turkey the winner in the open division was Yangyi Yu of China and the runner-up Alexander Ipatov of Turkey (both Grandmasters). In the girls division the winner was Aleksandra Goryachkina of Russia and the runner-up Zhansaya Abdumalik of Kazakhstan, a Women’s Grandmaster and Women’s International Master, respectively. I don’t know the other ages, but Ms. Abdumalik is only 13.

The Lake Sevan International Chess Tournament was won by 18 year old Karen Grigoryan of Armenia.

San Sebastian finished 8 points ahead of St. Benilde to win the 89th Philippine NCAA Chess competition.

Humpy Koneru is the winner of the Women’s Grand Prix in Tashkent.


Amazingly, the winner of the Godswill Akpadio International Scrabble Classic in Uyo, Nigeria was not Nigel Richards. The New Zealander came in fourth place, behind Sammy Okosagah, Olatunde Oduwole, and Komol Panyasonponlet. Mr. Okosagah took home a prize of $15,000. And Chief Godswill Akpabio, Akwa Ibom state governor, was named a Pillar of African Scrabble by the Association of Africa Scrabble Federations.

Despite being the favorite to win at the World Youth Scrabble Championship qualifiers in Karachi, Pakistan, Javeria Mirza was trailing by almost 100 points, when in her last turn she scored a bingo and pulled ahead 453 to 452.

The winner of the Guyana Association of Scrabble Players Open Championship, Leon Belony, however, finished with a lead of 767 points.


Reigning women’s champion Ngo Lan Huong of Vietnam retained her title at the Asian Xiangqi Championship in Sydney, Australia with a record of 4-1 at the event.

Sia Leh Ching won the youth division of the Kapit Foochow Association Chinese Chess Competition in Borneo.

Collectible Card Games

The 2013 Australian National Joust Champion for A Game of Thrones: The Card Game is Colin Liang.

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Mahjong tilesA famous Hong Kong Mahjong parlor is moving to make way for a neighborhood redevelopment project. But more interesting is this fact I learned from the article about the move in the South China Morning Post…

Mahjong establishments in Hong Kong are licensed as “Mahjong schools” because when the British colonial government in the 1950s agreed to allow them to remain open, it didn’t want to appear to be approving of gambling (at least not among the common class). And because of that name, when people lose money in such an establishment they call it “paying tuition”.

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Wood Automatic Mahjong TableVersatile Machinery’s newest automatic Mahjong tables are one’s specifically designed for the American and Japanese styles of play. The American automatic Mahjong Table includes two sets of 152 tiles with jokers and green and red dragons. The Japanese automatic Mahjong Table features a butterfly-folding-away control center and comes with two sets of tiles with blanks and red 5-replacements.

Two sets of tiles allow the table to sort one while the other is being used.

The standard models for both have plastic frames and run about $1,400 delivered in the United States. In various wood finishes (some with matching chairs), the price goes up $500-3,000. But hey, no more mixing and stacking!

Mahjong tilesAnnalise Heinz, a doctoral candidate in Stanford University’s Department of History, has been studying Mahjong, its transition from China to North America, development and portrayal in the United States, and essential role in the formation of both Chinese and Jewish communities.

According to her research, Mahjong’s popularity in the United States took off during the 1920s but contrary to popular myth, was no more than 75 years old at the time. The game was not only culturally significant in Chinatown communities starting in the ’20s and ’30s, it also helped form bonds among Jewish women recently relocated to the suburbs in the ’50s and ’60s.

Heinz continues to collect oral history testimony regarding Mahjong. She may be contacted through her website.

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International Mahjong

Mahjong, specifically Japanese-style Mahjong, is gaining popularity in Russia, aided by an anime show featuring the game. At a recent tournament in Moscow, the top-placing Japanese participant placed second.

A game of Mahjong was recently played atop the Sydney Harbor Bridge in Australia—not just on the road but on top of the superstructure!

In fact, the game has been gaining so much popularity in Australia that the World Series of Mahjong was also supposed to take place in Sydney, instead of the usual Macau. Unfortunately, the event was canceled for lack of time to plan.

At a Mahjong tournament in Toulouse, France the Chinese players were beaten out by three French, two Italians, and a Dutch. Apparently this caused some major consternation in China.

[via The Asahi Shimbun, Global Times, Mahjong News, South China Morning Post]

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