China Caps 2019 IORMC Individual Tournament

The individual portion of the 2019 International Online Riichi Mahjong Championship (IORMC) played out this weekend with China player Li Mingyao dominating the final rounds. More on that in a moment.

Indonesia, Argentina, Brazil, Russia, China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Australia, Japan, United States, France, and Italy were represented in the quarter finals following the event qualifiers. Over the subsequent 2 rounds of play, the finalists were narrowed to Nathan Malafaia (BRA), Nguyen Huu Huong (VIE), Li Mingyao (CHN), and Kevin L (AUS).

Li Mingyao kept a strong lead, taking 1st by a wide margin in both tables and racking up 108.6 points. Nathan Malafaia took 2nd with -29.8 points, leaving a huge margin of 138.4 points between the top two places. Nguyen Huu Huong placed 3rd with -38.5, and Kevin L placed a close 4th with -40.3.

It is of passing interest to see the same countries that topped the team tournament are the same as those that qualified for the individual finals. It is of greater interest to me to see that Australia once again shows up in the top ranks of an event.

While the Australian clubs have been around for a while, they have been appearing frequently in international events over the past few years—my personal recollection goes back to a couple of Australian players showing up at WRC 2017. Of late, though, they have been making a name for themselves. Anthony To won the 2019 Korean Riichi Mahjong Championship in October, Australia made the finals in the IORMC team tournament in November, as well as Kevin L placing in this individual tournament. The ARMA has also made itself instrumental in WRC 2020 by hosting an Australian qualifier tournament in December. (You can find a list of club member event rankings on the ARMA website.)

The IORMC has been organized annually by the Korean Mahjong League since 2012 and draws a growing number of online players from all over the world to Tenhou’s tournament lobby every year.