We are all very excited about next month’s Riichi Open Tournament! Players are registered from all corners of the United States and Canada. Returning to Dallas is last year’s DFWM 2017 Riichi Open Champion, Tina Koshimoto. Tina dropped into the 2017 tournament only a week before the event and showed up ready to win, and win she did! She bested three challenging players at the final table for the 2017 title and a seat at the 2017 World Riichi Championship in Las Vegas last October.
This year, Tina will be back and ready to defend her title! Here are a few questions we asked our champion.
DFWM: What is your favorite place to travel and why?
TK: Paris, France and Montreal, Canada, because I love visiting places with great food and beautiful art. It’s hard to pick a favorite since I enjoy traveling in general, but I tend to choose countries in Europe because of their deep roots in art history.
DFWM: What’s the last book you really enjoyed?
TK: A recent one that I enjoyed is Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami. I appreciated how the main character Tsukuru, lacking personality at first blush, gradually discovers his own “colors” as the story develops.
DFWM: What is your favorite dish?
TK: I can never get enough Japanese food. One of my favorite dishes is Shimesaba – cured mackerel.
DFWM: How did you first learn to play mahjong and how long have you been playing?
TK: I first started playing as a child with my family. It wasn’t “real” mahjong back then though, since I didn’t truly understand the rules and I had someone look over my hand as a I played. I only started playing regularly when I moved to Houston in 2013.
DFWM: What keeps you coming back to the mahjong table?
TK: Each and every game is a unique battle and the logic behind the game is intellectually stimulating. However, what I enjoy more is how mahjong bonds people, especially in a casual setting where the players can talk during the game. It’s a rare setting for 4 people to sit and chat face-to-face for hours, but mahjong seems to make this happen easily. I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to become friends with great people through this game.
DFWM: What does your opening draw have to look like to consider kosushi musou (thirteen orphans)?
TK: I look for 4 or 5 of the 7 honour tiles. These tiles are often discarded early on or called on for Yakuhai, so I find them more difficult to collect by draws.
East 4, East Seat
28,900 pt / 2nd place / 1,500 pt to 1st
M-4 5 7 7, S-5 6 7, P-2 4 6 7, Red Red
Draw – 2p
TK:I would discard P4. Here, since I’m in the East Seat and can play again if I win or at least get a tenpai, fast speed would be my priority over a better hand. Thus, the reds are important to keep to Pon for a Yakuhai hand. When I look at the tiles with this in mind, there is either a Yakuhai only or a potential Sanshoku with 567s. The P4 seems to be “floating”, because it wouldn’t connect with a P5 since I’d like to use it as P567 for a potential Sanshoku. It may be useful after a draw or chi of P3 to create a P234, but this is a lesser chance compared to M4577 and P67 that have a wider acceptance. Furthermore, a P234 will destroy the potential Sanshoku. Therefore, I would discard P4 and prefer to keep the P2 as pairs, then see how the M457 tiles may develop.
Thank you, Tina, for answering our questions and we are eager to see you again at the DFW Mahjong 2018 Riichi Open!