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16-Year-Old Beats 7-Time TETRIS World Champion with Amazing Play

16-Year-Old Beats 7-Time TETRIS World Champion with Amazing Play

Going into this year’s ninth annual Classic Tetris World Championship, Jonas Neubauer of Highland Park, CA had won all but one of the championships held thus far. (The seven-time world champion is essentially the Joey Chestnut of the iconic video game.) The fact that he did not take the crown this year is surprising enough, but it’s not as surprising  as who beat him. At this year’s competition, Neubauer was dropped like a row of building blocks by a 16-year-old.

Between October 20 and 21 at the Portland Retro Gaming Expo at the Oregon Convention Center, more than 100 players from around the world, including some of the biggest names in Tetris, came together to compete. After round robin qualifying play, young Joseph Saelee of Clovis, CA made it to the finals of the 32-seeded bracket tournament where he faced off against Neubauer. We don’t know what the exact odds were in that championship match, but considering the reigning champ has absolutely owned this tournament historically, Saelee was obviously prohibitive underdog. What followed though was a thrilling come-from-behind victory that makes us nervous to watch even though we know the outcome.

I have never totally understood the appeal of eSports until right now when I knew exactly what I was watching. Because as anyone who has been playing Tetris for twice as long as Saelee has been alive can tell you, there is nothing quite as intense as the increasing pressure of a game when you desperately needed a long skinny block. And that’s without a $1,000 grand prize and the CTWC trophy on the line!

Of course, when you’re already world champ at 16, where do you go from there? Considering his obvious skills, we’re sure he’ll figure out how to build on this.

What other iconic video game would you love to watch the world championship of? Tell us in the comments below.

Featured Image: Classic Tetris World Championship

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