This news may be slightly late ( as it is from mid October of this year), but it is still relevant and is such an amazing win, so I have to post on it. 16 year old Asian American Joseph Saelee is officially the “CLASSIC TETRIS WORLD CHAMPION”. To do this he had to beat the 7 TIME WORLD CHAMPION Jonas Neubauer in what they call a “3 game tear”. I assume this means went to a very high and hard level to clinch the championship. The competition this year was held in Portland, Oregon, and the 7 time champion who has won every championship since 2011, had to settle for second best this year.
“The kid played with pure heart, the most clutch Tetris that we’ve seen from anyone,” Neubauer said after the dust had settled. “He just really had the ability, had the natural ability, and let it shine as bright as he could in his first tournament. [It’s] truly an honor to pass the torch to the new generation of Tetris players.” The veteran stood on stage holding a silver trophy, his first since losing to Harry Hong in 2014, and the unlikely Saelee, tears still in his eyes, hoisted the gold to applause from the crowd at Sunday’s Retro Game Expo crowd.
Though Tetris came out on the NES in 1989, the Classic World Championship tournament as it exists today didn’t get started until 2010 after the game’s competitive scene spent most of the aughts trading strategies, high scores, and footage evidence throughout a scattered network of forums and websites. Now, top players from around the world compete annually at the Expo using the original game and controllers played on old CRTs to see who can get the highest score in individual head-to-head matchups.
Saelee seemed equal parts ecstatic and in disbelief. “I don’t know how to feel. I’m still recovering. It’s absolutely a dream,” said the high school student, his smile showing the braces still on his teeth. “ I came into this tournament just to qualify, just to meet all these great people, and to win, that’s just amazing, I don’t know what to say.” Having finally unseated the longstanding champion, Saelee has helped usher in a new period of excitement for the retro game. His meteoric rise will likely inspire others to jump into the soon-to-be 30 year old game. Meanwhile, Neubauer has his work cut out for him when the two return at next year’s Championship.
Congratulations young Saelee, what a champ! I have now added following tetris championships on my following lists!
Images via Kotaku
To read the original article, please click on: 16-Year-Old Dethrones Tetris World Champion With Difficult Hyper-Tap Technique