EMA Riichi Competition Rules

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The Riichi Competition Rules (RCR) of the European Mahjong Association (EMA) are used for many Japanese Mahjong tournaments throughout Europe.


The main differences of the RCR to other common Japanese Mahjong rulesets are:

  • Kuitan nashi: The yaku Tanyao (all simples) may be awarded to closed hands only.
  • Kuikae ari: Any discard is legal after calling Chii or Pon, even a tile which would also have completed the open meld.
  • Ryanhan shibari: With five or more table counters present, winning hands must have at least two Han from Yaku.

Detailed rules

The reader is assumed to be familiar with the general rules of Japanese Mahjong. This section describes possible differences to other common rulesets.

This description tries to cover many possible questions, thus enabling a player to participate in an EMA tournament, but it also strives to be concise. For the most elaborate rules, see the official EMA RCR rules text, linked at the bottom of this page.


The tileset includes one red five per suit.

Turn order is considered interrupted by any call of Chii, Pon, or Kan, even when declaring a concealed kan.

After calling Pon or Chii, any tile may be discarded by the caller. It is therefore legal to discard the same tile as the one called, or a tile which would have completed the now-open meld on the other side.

Ura dora, kan dora, and kan ura dora are used. After declaring any type of kantsu, the next dora indicator is flipped immediately.

A hand becomes an abortive draw in any of the following situations:

  • Four kans have been declared by multiple players and the subsequent discard is not called for Ron.
  • All players have declared Riichi and the subsequent discard is not called for Ron.
  • All players have discarded the same wind tile on their first turn.
  • A player reveals a hand with nine different terminals and honors during their turn within the first uninterrupted set of turns.

Double and triple Ron is allowed, the discarder has to pay each winner separately.

Temporary Furiten is cancelled when the player takes a tile from the wall, and also on any interruption of turn order.

A player is karaten (empty tenpai) if his hand could be completed with one more tile, but all possible winning tiles are already used in his own hand. Open melds and kantsu belong to his hand. Karaten counts as noten.


Open Tanyao is not allowed.

Nagashi mangan counts as a win, rendering noten penalties and noten riichi chombo void. Multiple players may win with Nagashi Mangan simultaneously, payments occur as with separate mangan Tsumos. Table counters affect the hand score normally. Hand progression or hand repeat depends on whether East was a nagashi mangan winner or not, because tenpai hands are not revealed.

Renhou is a yakuman. This is awarded to any player winning by Ron within the first uninterrupted set of turns, before the player has made his first draw from the wall. The winner does not need to have another yaku, Renhou by itself is the yaku.

Sekinin barai, or pao, is in effect for daisangen and daisuushii.

Yakuman are not cumulative. Daisuushii is the only possible double yakuman.


Scores are kept on paper, there are no point sticks. Players start with 0 points and may sink into negative scores without ending the game.

Players may declare Riichi with any score. Tournaments often provide each player with a single 1,000-point-stick for Riichi declarations. Winning players always get one Riichi stick back. Leftover Riichi sticks go to the winner sitting closest to the discarder's right.

Table counters are added whenever East won a hand, or there was an exhaustive or abortive draw. Table counters are all removed when someone else than East wins and East does not. Chombo leads to a repetition of the hand with the same number of table counters.

When five or more table counters are present, winning hands must have at least two han, coming from yaku.

After each Hanchan, players receive a relatively large uma of 10-30, i.e., the second player receives 10,000 points from the third, and the first player receives 30,000 points from last place. When player scores tie, the tying players share their Uma; ties are not resolved by player seating order. Players tying for first share any leftover Riichi sticks. There is no oka. Scores are not rounded to the nearest thousand.

Time limit

When played with a time limit, a gong sounds 15 minutes before end. Only one more valid hand may be started after the gong. A hand starts when the dice are thrown. Won hands, exhaustive draws, and abortive draws all constitute a valid hand. Chombo renders a hand invalid, therefore another hand must be played.

External links