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The Classic Tetris World Championship (CTWC) is a video game competition series, hosted by the Portland Retro Gaming Expo. The competition launched in 2010, during the filming of Ecstasy of Order: The Tetris Masters to determine the world's greatest Tetris player. The champion of each tournament receives the Jonas Neubauer Memorial Trophy, named after the seven-time record setting champion who died in 2021. In its first two years, the competition was held in Los Angeles, California, but was moved to Portland, Oregon, in 2012, and has been held there annually since (with the exceptions of the 2020 and 2021 tournaments, held online due to the COVID-19 pandemic). The contestants play the 1989 Nintendo version of Tetris on actual Nintendo Entertainment System consoles and CRT televisions. The final rounds are streamed online with live-edited screens and heads-up display to improve viewer experience. The tournament was initially dominated by Jonas Neubauer, who reached the finals in the first nine iterations of the tournament and won seven titles. Following Neubauer's final win in 2017, before his sudden death four years later, the tournament was dominated by hypertapping, a style of playing in which the player rapidly taps the controller's D-pad to move pieces. This is in contrast to the delayed auto-shift (DAS) technique, in which the player simply holds down the D-pad to move the piece. Hypertapping was especially prevalent among a recent influx of younger players. Joseph Saelee won back-to-back titles while in high school, including a win against Neubauer in the 2018 final and one against Koji "Koryan" Nishio in the 2019 final. Thirteen-year-old Michael "dogplayingtetris" Artiaga won the 2020 edition of the tournament, beating his brother Andrew "PixelAndy" Artiaga in the final. The younger Artiaga then successfully defended his title in 2021, defeating Jacob "Huffulufugus" Huff three games to one. Although Huff fell short, he showed the effectiveness of a brand-new style of play, known as "rolling." Originally introduced by CTWC regular Chris "Cheez" Martinez, the player taps the back of the controller with one hand, into the fingers of the other, which are pressed on the D-pad. The new strategy has brought in a wave of scoring records and has seen former hypertappers (including the Artiagas), adopt the playing style.The 2022 tournament, held in Portland for the first time in three years, was dominated by rollers. Eric "EricICX" Tolt defeated Justin "Fractal" Yu to win the title three games to one. The third game saw both players exceed 2.1 million points, with Tolt winning the game and later the crown. The 2023 event saw Yu win his first title, coming from 0-2 down to defeat Eve "Sidnev" Commandeur of the Netherlands 3-2 in the final. Commandeur also set the qualifying record with an amazing 16 max-outs.
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