In 1998, in the concern of separating illegal gambling from the pure game of mahjong, the China State Sports Commission brought out a fresh set of rules, now generally known as the International Tournament rules.
The ideologies of the latest mahjong are: no drinking, no gambling and no smoking. In international tournaments, players are often assembled in teams to accentuate that mahjong is considered as a sport from now on.
The new set of rules is highly sequenced. The rulebook hold 81 combinations, founded on patterns and scoring fundamentals accepted in both original and modern regional Chinese modification. Some table rules of Japan have also been adopted. Points for flower tiles (each flower holds one point) shall not be added unless the player has scored 8 points.
The winner of the game collects the score from the player who rejects the winning tile, in addition to 8 basic points from each player. In the case of self-drawn win known as zimo , the player receives the total worth of a particular round plus 8 points from all the other players.
The new set of rules was first adapted in an international tournament held in Tokyo, where as, in 2002, the first World Championship in Mahjong game was structured by the Mahjong Museum, the city council of Ningbo and the Japan Mahjong Organizing Committee.
More than hundred players participated, mostly from China and Japan, three others were from Europe and the United States. Mai Hatsune from Japan, was announced as the first world champion. In the following year the first annual China Majiang Championship was organized in Hainan. The following two annual tournaments were organized in Beijing and Hong Kong. The majority players were Chinese, but players from other nations were present as well.
In 2005, Netherlands saw the first Open European Mahjong Championship, with 108 players. The competition was awarded to Masato Chiba from Japan. The second European championship was held in Copenhagen in 2007, and 136 players attended the game.
Martin Wedel Jacobsen a Danish player won the game. In 2007 the first Online European Mahjong Championship was organized on the Mahjong Time server with 64 players, and was won by Juliani Leo from the U.S., and the Best European Player was awarded to Gerda van Oorschot, from the Netherlands.
The Third Open European Mahjong Championship was in 2009 at Vienna, Austria, and was won by a Japanese player named Koji Idota, and the runner-up Bo Lang from Switzerland became a European Champion. There were a total of 152 participants.
In 2006, the World Mahjong Organization (WMO) was formed in Beijing, China, in association with others namely the Japan Mahjong Organizing Committee (JMOC) and the European Mahjong Association (EMA).
In November 2007 this association organized its first World Championship in Chengdu.144 participants attended from all around the world. Li Li, a Chinese student from Tsinghua University won the tournament. The next World Championship shall take place in the Netherlands, in 2010.
A lot of other organizations have attempted to make international competition rules. The most evident one is the Zung Jung Mahjong Scoring System, formed by Alan Kwan a Hong Kong mahjong scholar.
Unlike the Official game, Zung Jung is intended for casual entertainment as well as tournament play with effortlessness as one of its design goals.