Someone Outside of Japan Finally Became A Tetris Grandmaster

Kevin Birrell dazzled the world with his Tetris skills a few weeks back, but for the truly dedicated, the work never ends. Birrell had yet another goal for himself in Tetris: The Grandmaster 3: become the first player outside of Japan to achieve grandmaster status.

As the headline points out, this is unprecedented for an American player. It's a big deal.


Let's start by recapping Birrell's previous Tetris accomplishments, otherwise known as the time a guy played invisible Tetris and made everyone else feel bad about their individual Tetris skills.


Birrell's skilled play resulted in him achieving master rank. It's Tetris: The Grandmaster, though. What you really want is the grandmaster ranking, but that requires so much more.

"More" means pulling off the same feat four times in seven games. That gives you a little wiggle room. If those conditions are met, the game can offer a grandmaster exam, where you must perform at the same level of play on command. I say "can" because it's not a guarantee. The grandmaster exam has a 50/50 chance of appearing, no matter how well you're playing.

Here's the moment Birrell realizes he's about to get his shot:


"If this happens, it'd be the greatest day of my life," he joked on the stream. "Shit, man, I'm shaking."

It's totally ridiculous and somewhat arbitrary, which is why Birrell hasn't pulled it off before.


He did yesterday, though it took a moment for him to realize what happened. When he's finished his run, the game takes its sweet time in revealing his grandmaster status. Patience!


Eventually, the celebration begins.


Maybe Birrell can finally move on from Tetris now.


You can reach the author of this post at or on Twitter at @patrickklepek.

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Babak Abrishamchian

yay one less game completely dominated by japanese or koreans! Serious question, why is it that Asian people tend to dominate a lot of competitive games like starcraft or league(counter strike is the only exception i can think of)? The league of legends world championship was pretty much entirely Asian, so is it because the game is just more popular in Asian regions or do the rest of us just behind them in knowing how to play these games?