2018 tournament victor Joseph Saelee has retained his mantle at the 2019 Classic Tetris World Championships. The tenth iteration of the annual competition was held over two days this past weekend, with Californian champion Saelee overcoming all other competitors.
At the Portland Retro Gaming Expo in the Oregon Convention Center, the two finalists received a special surprise when famed Tetris creator Alexey Pajitnov attended in person. Pajitnov started the deciding match and stayed to observe, then congratulated the participants and handed out their awards after the event concluded.
The Classic Tetris World Championships (CTWC) were created by avid fans of the timeless game franchise. Over its initial decade, the event has attracted top competitors from all around the world to US shores. After being whittled down to 48-bracket seeded tournament, talented players duke it out for the ultimate reward of $3,000 in prize money and the coveted CTWC trophy on October 20th.
Saelee claimed top honors, of course, while second place went to Japanese Tetris Grand Master Koryan alongside $1,500 in prize money. The remainder of a $10,000 total prize pool, contributed by sponsor The Tetris Company, Inc. was distributed between lower-ranking competitors.
Since its inception in 1984, Tetris has remained one of the world’s most popular video game franchises. Currently, it ranks second only to Minecraft, in terms of sales, and has been adapted almost countless times in order to modernize and rejuvenate the game for different platforms over the years. Recent innovations include the PSVR-compatible Tetris Effect and the crossover title Puyo Puyo Tetris.
Being the classic championship, the weekend’s competition was contested using the 1989 Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) version of the game. If you want to catch up on all of the Classic Tetris World Championship action, you can watch the livestream on-demand via the ClassicTetris Twitch channel.