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The first Tetris Grand Master outside of Japan claims his title

first ever tetris grand master outside japan american drexel
Kevin Birrell (aka KevinDDR on Twitch), the Tetris prodigy who stunned the internet earlier in 2015 with his extraordinary performance at the Awesome Games Done Quick 2015 charity stream, has further solidified his status as one of the best block-sorters in the world by becoming the first person outside of Japan to earn the rank of Grand Master in Tetris: The Grandmaster 3.

Birrell drew a lot of attention for his masterful performance during AGDQ, where he played a secret mode under the credits, unlocked after a nearly perfect game, in which the blocks become invisible once placed. That accomplishment earned him Master status. To climb one higher, to Grand Master, he had to achieve the same feat four times within seven games, which leads to a 50-percent chance of a Grand Master Exam presenting itself for the ultimate test of skill. It’s a punishing challenge, made all the harder to achieve because of the capricious randomness involved in meeting the requirement. The rank had only ever been achieved by five players in Japan, where the game originally came out.

“If this happens, it’d be the greatest day of my life,” Birrell jokes in the video. He mentions repeatedly that his hands are shaking from nervousness, but you’d never know from their lightning-fast movement, thoughtfully recorded as part of the stream.  After summiting that peak, Birrell expressed relief that he is finally free for other pursuits.

I’m free at last. Classic Master GM. I love you all and cherish the memories we made. #tetristgm

— Kevin Birrell (@KevinDDR) January 28, 2015

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