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Player Profile: Tarabarsky

This month, Mahjong Time is spotlighting Mark Chizhenok (username: Tarabarsky). Mark is the founder of the Russian Mahjong Federation, one of Mahjong Time's European partners. Among other achievements, Mark won ODMC 2008 and OODC 2009. Mahjong Time had the chance to ask Mark a few questions:

Q: Where did the idea and inspiration for starting a Russian Mahjong Federation first come from?
A: As soon as I started playing mahjong I was looking around to see what was happening about this game in the world and I found that in Europe this game has been organized very well: national organizations were formed, European Mahjong Association was established. Naturally, I wanted Russia to become a part of this mahjong world and I started doing something in this regard.

Q: How is the Russian Marathon coming along? Are you enjoying the competition?
A: Russian Marathon is an experimental tournament proposed by the Russian mahjong community. Discussions about its better format and results counting are still going on. However, one thing is clear: it was a good idea. It helps Russian players find each other on the server and builds a larger community which is very important for further development of mahjong in Russia. I personally did not expect that the Russian players will be so active in participating in it.

Q: How did you originally discover multiplayer Mahjong?
A: Till summer 2006 I never heard or saw any kind of mahjong game, neither multiplayer nor solitaire. I didn't know the word "mahjong" at all! But then I saw a Japanese movie where the main character often came to a parlor to gamble. I was intrigued by the game they played there and said to myself that I should learn to play it whatever difficulty it was.

Q: How long have you played at Mahjong Time?
A: It should be more that 3 years now. When I learned about mahjong game I have nobody around me to play with. So I searched for online options and found MT.

Q: Are you planning on participating in any upcoming tournaments? Maybe a shot at WSoM?
A: I will definitely try to participate in any national online championships like those which were on MT in previous years, if there are some in the future. WSoM? May be, but I don't know their rules good enough to hope for a win.

Q: What do you like most about Mahjong Time?
A: In comparison with other clients for online mahjong game MT is good for its effort to make the game play closer to a real one with wrong mahjong declarations, absence of prompting messages when and what to call.

Q: How long did it take you to learn and become as good as you are at Mahjong? Was it easy?
A: I think all my previous experience works for me now. I have never been very consistent on getting my skills better. I played and learned when I want to play and learn, i.e. without special efforts. I am still making a lot of mistakes. So I am rather an average player who knows his mistakes which is of course better than being an average player who is ignorant :)

Q: What advice would you give to Mahjong players who are just starting out?
A: Don't give yourself up to despair.

Q: What other interests/hobbies do you have in addition to Mahjong?
A: Playing basketball.

Q: Which style of Mahjong do you like best? Why is this your favorite?
Chinese Official. It makes your mind active.

Q: Tell us more about yourself! What would other Mahjong Time players be surprised to know about you?
A: I guess I have never in my life made any of 88 points fans (MCR).

Q: Looking back on your Mahjong Time experience, what would you say was your favorite tournament to play in?
A: The one I won, I think :)
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