After an incredible first round that saw upsets from Kayama Academy and Kentani High School, the final perfect Inter High School Mahjong Championships bracket was busted after first-time participant Usuzan High School upset Yamasu High School by 2,000 points to advance to the semifinal round.
When the draw for the 71st Inter High School Mahjong Championships were announced last week, millions around the world filled out brackets online. To add on to the annual excitement from office pools and friendly wagers this year, business mogul Warren Buffett is offering $1 billion to anyone who picks a perfect bracket.
As of day 6, Buffett’s prize will go unclaimed this year, after Usuzan High School captain Maya Yukiko hit Yamasu High School’s Suzuki Anko with a south 4 mangan to climb into second place and knock Yamasu from the tournament. The final perfect bracket belonged to California resident David Reed, who (in his words) only casually follows Japanese girls’ high school mahjong.
But as his picks kept winning, Reed’s bracket quickly gained people’s attention. He correctly forecast Kayama winning its tough first round matchup, a pick that knocked out 78% of brackets worldwide. He was among the 4.6% of people who picked Achiga to advance to the semifinals.
“It was a nice run, I definitely didn’t expect my bracket to get anywhere close,” Reed told Anime Maru. “Still, I can’t believe Usuzan made it this far.”
Reed picked Shiraitodai to win the National Championship, and his Final Four is still intact. As for the final match of the second round, he picked Eisui and Himematsu to advance.
“I’m kind of glad my perfect bracket doesn’t rely on Group 3 anymore,” said Reed. “The way Zenkoku-hen is paced, Warren Buffett will be dead by the time the tournament finishes.”