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Mahjong players from around the world test their mettle at 5th European Mahjong Competition in 2014, held in Strasbourg, France. File photo: Courtesy of Tina Christensen 

The Chinese traditional game mahjong has recently become the sixth officially recognized mind sport of the International Mind Sports Association (IMSA).

"Competitive mahjong will bring new opportunities for the enhancement of mind sports around the world," said Jose Damiani, founder and honorary chairman of the IMSA, at the International Forum on Global Mind Sports Innovative Development in Beijing, the Beijing Daily reported on Friday.

Mahjong is very popular around China, but each region has its own rules for playing the game, and that has caused difficulties with making the game more popular around the world, according to the Beijing Daily.

Therefore, the Mahjong International League (MIL) promoted new rules for mahjong competitions, so that the game could be recognized.

The league was accepted as the sixth member of the IMSA at the association's first executive board meeting of 2017, which was held on April 5 in Denmark, according to the official website of the IMSA.

The second World Mahjong Sports Games will be held in May 2018, according to the MIL.

The tile game, which originated in Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) 500 years ago, joins the ranks of traditional mind sports: chess, bridge, draughts, xiangqi (Chinese chess) and go, a board game, according to China Radio International.

The report attracted much attention on the Internet in China, where many netizens are mahjong lovers.

"I think I can finally serve the country," one Sina Weibo user said.

Global Times