(Final standings can be found here)
The final session of qualifying for the IORMC USA team was completed this past Saturday and not without a lot of drama. But first how we got to the last session.
The females led sessions 2 and 3 with Kinyan Lui (Yukitora) finishing 2nd in session 2 banking a 118.5 and Tina Koshimoto (破顔の楽士) taking session 3 with s 154.7. With averages of 26.4125 and 32.0625 respectively, they were clear of the field and decided to sit on their scores.
Meanwhile, new challengers entered the scene while others fell back to the pack. Anthony Wang (Kikuko<3), who had only learned mahjong several months ago, put in a score of 133 in session 2 meaning that another such session or something similar could mean that he would join the two front-runners. Emily Tian (Em2017) put in a score of 72.2 in session 3, putting her in the same position. From session 1, Ryan Adams (Panda84) treaded water in the next two sessions, and would need to take advantage of the drop game to reach the top 4.
Elsewhere, familiar faces were making a charge. Both Daniel Pascua (DdR_Dan) and Corak (Arthur McAnally) had put in above average scores the first two sessions, but were trailing by a good margin. Finishing 1-2 in session 4 put them right back in the running with the ability to drop a game.
In fact, by the time session 4 was completed, there were 6 people within arms length of the final 2 spots, and another 5 that were mathematically in it.
Things started shaking out quickly. Anthony would have to sit on his average after two 4th places finishes early. Going in he was in the final qualification position, but it was a precarious one at best. Emily needed to count this session and was trying to avoid the carnage, but was bleeding points from her average in the process. Ryan and Arthur were in the same boat as well, unable to get traction, but avoiding the bad loss. But what they were running out of was time. Meanwhile, Daniel in round 2 came back from almost 20k down in all last to rocket to 1st and post a very high score putting him squarely in 3rd overall.
Round 3 settled the scene for some. With 3 players at the table needing a good result, it was the 4th player that played spoiler. Eric Nguyen (Noradic) finished first at the table, effectively ending Ryan's bid for the top 4, pushing Daniel back towards the group, and forcing Emily to need a 1st place finish in the final round to have a shot. Meanwhile, Arthur stopped another spoiler, Chicago's Aldwin Gordula (KyuuAA) from totally running over the field, posting a large score similar to what Daniel had put up the prior round, bumping Anthony off the bubble with no control over his own destiny.
There was some hope however for both Emily and Anthony, as both Daniel and Arthur would have to be on the same table, and an adverse result for either would mean that either could ascend to the top 4.
Emily unfortunately was on the same table as Aldwin, who continued his marauding ways, posting a session high score of 72.4 and posting 3 of the top 4 table scores in the session rocketing him from 12th to 6th overall. Anthony's bid ended when Daniel and Arthur managed to finish 1-2, maintaining their positions on the board.
Which means our 2018 USA team (pending verification of availability) looks really similar:
- Tina Koshimoto (破顔の楽士)
- Kinyan Lui (Yukitora)
- Daniel Pascua (DdR_Dan)
- Arthur McAnally (Corak)
Congratulations, and good luck to the USA team!