Mahjong eyed for 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics

August 03, 2017 13:43
People play mahjong in Chongqing, China. A group is seeking to make mahjong a demonstration event in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. Photo: CNSA

Mahjong, a popular traditional Chinese tile-based game that commonly requires four people to play, may be added to the Olympic Winter Games along with several other “mind sports” as soon as 2022.

Chen Zelan, the newly appointed chairman of the International Mind Sports Association (IMSA), said on Wednesday that it is applying to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to include six mind sports in the Olympic Winter Games as indoor events, The Paper and Apple Daily in Taiwan report.

They are contract bridge, chess, Go, Chinese chess (xiangqi), draughts and mahjong.

According to Chen, the IOC has been considering expanding coverage of the Olympic Winter Games due to the fact that the number of participating countries is limited compared with the Olympic Summer Games.

IMSA, which listed mahjong as a one of the mind sports in April, is aiming to make the six games official events in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, Chen said.

She said contract bridge and chess have higher chances than the rest to first become official events in the Olympic Winter Games as they have both been officially recognized by the IOC as sporting events, adding that IMSA’s plan is to have mahjong as a demonstration event.

Mahjong players in different places such as China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Japan, where the game is most popular, have different rules, Sohu Sports and report.

To solve the issue, the Mahjong International League set up in Switzerland in 2015 with members from 40 countries and regions has made the rules uniform for players worldwide. It has won recognition from IMSA.

That helps mahjong move one step closer to be being officially an Olympic event.

China and Japan have been trying to make mahjong listed as a world heritage, with netizens in both countries leading the campaign.

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