How CTWC came to be?


The first championship in which Classic Tetris was present was held in the United States. Nintendo, as part of the promotion of its then revolutionary Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), organized the Nintendo World Championships.

The rules of the tournament were simple.

Each contestant had 6 minutes 21 seconds to complete three tasks: collect 50 coins in Super Mario Brothers, complete the first track in Rad Racer and score as many points as possible in Tetris. The latter game proved to be the most decisive, as the points scored in it were multiplied by 25.

The tournament held its finals in December 1990 at Universal Studios. Three champions were selected: Jeff Hansen (up to 11 years old), Thor Aackerlund (12-17 years old) and Robert Whiteman (18 years old and over).

Contestants of the Nintendo World Championships

There was no single winner, but it is known that the three were informally pitted against each other, with Aackerlund first, Hansen second and Whiteman third.

Although the first NWC turned out to be a success, we had to wait almost 20 years for the next Tetris-related events…


For years, the Tetris community kept quiet, comparing scores on sites like Twin Galaxies and various online forums.

The breakthrough came in 2009, when Harry Hong achieved a documented score of 999,999 points in Tetris (what we call maxout, since it is the highest score officially supported by the game). This achievement became the title of a short documentary about Harry, prepared by Adam Cornelius. A Kickstarter campaign was launched for the release of said documentary.

As the campaign progressed stronger players started to emerge, such as Jonas Neubauer who also had a maxout, or Ben Mullen who held the line record at the time. And not only the competitors: one of the NWC participants, Robin Mihara, had become an experienced organizer. So the idea was born to gather all the players in one place and hold a competition to find out who was the best.


The first World Classic Tetris Championship was very different from the tournaments held today.

First of all, there were only eight finalists. Five of them were invited:

  • Jonas Neubauer (maxouter).
  • Harry Hong (maxouter).
  • Ben Mullen (line record).
  • Jesse Kelkar (2nd in lines).
  • Thor Aackerlund (1990 NWC winner).


The remaining three spots would be determined during qualifiers, which were conducted by playing in B mode (best score in 25 lines). These players were:

  • Dana Wilcox.
  • Matt Buco.
  • Trey Harrison.


The eight finalists first played a three-game round. In the first, the number of lines was taken into account, and in the other two, the score.

The top two from this round, Jonas Neubauer and Harry Hong, faced each other in the final. The champion was Jonas with a score of 2-0. The documentary Ecstasy of Order: The Tetris Masters was released the following year.

Ecstasy of Order documentary cover

In 2012, CTWC changed its location to Portland, and was held during the Portland Retro Gaming Expo. The rules of the competition were substantially modified, remaining very similar to today.

During the following years, except for 2014 when Harry Hong took the title, Jonas Neubauer reigns as world champion, winning 7 titles until 2017.



In 2017, the CTWC 2016 final, which pitted Jonas Neubauer and Jeff Moore against each other, appeared in the recommended videos for thousands of YouTube users.

BOOM! Tetris for Jeff!

This event became the first of several breakthroughs in the development of the scene. The number of players increased enormously.

At the end of 2017, an online tournament called Classic Tetris Monthly emerged, which allowed people from all over the world to get started in this kind of competitions without the need to travel.

2018 CTWC finals, Joseph Saelee vs Jonas Neubauer

One of those motivated by the 2016 finals was Joseph Saelee, who quickly gained CTM experience and participated for the first time in CTWC in 2018, where he defeated reigning champion Jonas Neubauer by a resounding 3-0 to win the world championship title.


The CTWC 2018 finals in which Joseph defeated Jonas at only 16 years of age motivated multitudes of players around the world. Other countries and regions began organizing their own Classic Tetris championships.


First edition of the CTWC Iberia regional qualifier, held online due to the travel restrictions still in place due to the COVID-19 global pandemic.


First live edition of CTWC Iberia, held at the Vialia shopping center in the city of Vigo, being a success in attendance with participants from all over the world


Second live edition of CTWC Iberia, held at the Telefonica flagship store in the Gran Via of Madrid. An event that marked a milestone in the production of Classic Tetris events worldwide.