16-Year-Old 'Tetris' Player Defeats 7-Time Champion

A 16-year-old Tetris player pulled off a huge upset by defeating a seven-time Tetris championship winner.

Tetris might not be the game that people turn to for their esports fix, but the competitive scene is still thriving with the Classic Tetris World Championships taking place at the Portland Retro Gaming Expo this past weekend. Seven-time Tetris champion Jonas Neubauer faced off against newcomer Joseph Saelee in the final match of the championship competition where Saelee swept Neubauer and took all three games away from his competitor to win the championship.

The clip below shows the final moments of the Tetris championship where blocks reigned down on Saelee’s screen and he maneuvered them into place. Saelee was setting up his screen to wait for a long bar to drop, the straight line of blocks that would fit neatly into the far-right side to clear out several lines, but the block didn’t come with the announcers saying at one point that the player experienced a “17-block drought” waiting for the right piece.

Neubauer’s game had already finished at that point with his blocks reaching the top of the screen, but he had the higher score of the two, so he could only watch his opponent’s screen and hope that he retained the higher score. After finally getting that long bar, the score changed and put Saelee above Neubauer with the hearts at the bottom of the screen showing that he’d just won his third game against the Tetris champion.

In the full video that is just under 3 hours in length and features the championship match towards the very end, Saelee spoke briefly about his win. You could see the emotions and excitement in his face during the competition with animated expressions changing depending on what was happening on-screen, but he was overcome with emotion after winning the competition and could barely speak about his win. He said that winning the championship was an “unbelievable dream” and said that he only came to the tournament to qualify before trailing off.

Neubauer was awarded the second-place trophy following Saelee’s time on the stage, an event that the announcers said felt odd and unexpected given the player’s past dominance in the scene.

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The full Twitch video featuring day three of the Classic Tetris World Championship can be seen here.

[Twin Galaxies]