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WMO adopts standard height for mahjong tiles

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China

23 Novembre 2011.

CHONGQING - The World Mahjong Organization on Wednesday standardized the height of the mahjong tiles that can be used in official competitions in an attempt to ensure the game will be "healthy, friendly and scientific".

The tiles used in official play can now be no shorter than 32 mm and no higher than 42 mm.

The World Mahjong Organization adopted the standard at the Fifth China Mahjong Forum and Championship, which ended on Wednesday in Chongqing.

The organization also said it will keep

revising the rules governing the number of sessions that make up one of the game's rounds and the calculation of scores at international mahjong competitions. Its goal is to make players of the game rely more on skill, rather than luck, to win.

Mahjong originated in China and is usually played by four people. It is similar to the Western card game rummy.

The World Mahjong Organization was established in 2005 and claims more than 20 national mahjong associations in America, Europe and Asia as its members. Yu Guangyuan, former deputy director of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, serves as the chairman of the organization.

"Mahjong tiles that fall outside of the range of 32 mm to 42 mm are not appropriate for use in competitions," said Jiang Xuanqi, secretary-general of the organization.

The World Mahjong Organization went to mahjong associations, clubs, manufactures and professional players from May to October to solicit their opinions about what the standard height of the tiles should be. On the open market, the tiles range in height from 20 mm to 50 mm.

Jiang explained the reasons for the new standard.

"Bigger mahjong tiles mean bigger tables, which are often an inconvenience for older or short players," Jiang said. "Smaller tiles, on the other hand, may give players more opportunities to cheat."

He also said thicker tiles - taller ones tend to be thicker - are not easy to shuffle and thinner ones do not stand up well on tables.

Tina Christensen, president of the European Mahjong Association, said it was necessary to adopt a standard size because China uses tiles that are up to 50 mm in height and Japan uses ones that are shorter than 36 mm.

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