NAO: North America’s Tournament
The United States has produced a few large tournaments in previous years, such as the 40 seat New York Open in 2015 and the 52 seat Pacific Mahjong League tournament in 2016. North America also got a taste of international competition when the World Riichi Championship (WRC) chose Las Vegas as the site for the 2017 edition featuring a remarkable 224 competitors (including 80 Japanese pros) – an accomplishment perhaps premature for North America considering the absence of a cohesive national presence.
This year, for the first time, players in North America have access to a national tournament that aims to do what the European Riichi Championship has done across the Atlantic – bring riichi players from across the continent together in an annual tournament. The North American Open (NAO) promises to be the largest continental riichi tournament so far, maxing out at 80 registered players from the U.S., Canada, and visitors from abroad. The bulk of the competition represents 15 distinct mahjong clubs, with approximately 20 players remaining undeclared or from outlying areas. The NAO is organized by the North American Riichi Mahjong Association (NARMA) and is hosted by the United States Professional Mahjong League (USPML), a partner chosen for their prior experience in planning events of this scale. USPML was established in New York City in 2010 and previously organized the 2015 New York open. Additionally, they were selected as the host club for the second World Riichi Championship in 2017.
The NAO will also be using WRC tournament rules.
Over the next several weeks Riichi Reporter will be bringing you articles featuring the North American Open. We will dig in deeper to NARMA (the organization behind the event), provide updates and standings direct from the NAO, and bring you other features following the event.
We’ll even be checking out what you’re wearing to the championship, so dress smart!
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