Meet The Tetris Grandmaster: Jonas Neubauer


Everyone knows Tetris. It is one of the most popular video games of all time. It is easy to learn and seems simple to play, but it is very difficult to master. Tetris is the ultimate puzzle game, especially for 80s and 90s kids. It is so addictive that many players are still hooked to it, and it can entertain you for many hours on end.

At first glance, you might think that everyone can get to play Tetris very well. Except when the speed goes up, and it is impossible to fit in all the parts together within reasonable time. You might think that no one is that good and obsessive about the game to be able to beat it at a very high speed. However, there is one guy who can certainly pull that off. And his name is Jonas Neubauer.

You are probably thinking that it takes a rocket scientist to master this game and defeat everyone in a competition. Well, Jonas is just a regular dude. On most days, this champion works at a bar. But when he steps into a Tetris World Championship, he plays and owns the game like a god.

Jonas Neubauer is the seven-time world champion in the highly competitive Tetris gaming scene. But champion is an understatement because he may well be the greatest Tetris player that ever lived.

Who Is Jonas Neubauer?

For casual Tetris players, the name may not ring a bell. But if you have been following the Classic Tetris World Championship games, his name equates to that of Zeus. Everyone in competitive Tetris knows him, but this champion lives a life completely detached from the game. You see, he goes to work as a taproom manager, and his other job is overseeing a recreational Marijuana startup. Seems pretty cool, right?

While Jonas may seem like your regular office guy, his special ability to play Tetris has won him 7 out of 9 tourneys in the Classic Tetris World Championship so far. However, his losses are recent and also happened consecutively. His first loss was in 2018, to a newcomer named Joseph Saelee. Then in 2019, he lost to Paul “MegaRetroMan” Tesi. But despite losing for 2 years in a row, Jonas is not bothered. Instead, he is happy over how the Tetris scene is getting highly competitive as the years go by.

So, how did the greatest Tetris player started out? You are probably wondering if he grew up as a computer geek.
The seven-time champion has been playing the game since he was nine. Roughly around the same time when the game came out on NES. He saved part of his allowance money to buy it.

Image Source: Finals – 2016 Classic Tetris World Championship


How Did He Get into Tetris Tournaments?

Neubauer was contacted to join a Tetris tournament for the very first time in 2010 via YouTube. The event was organized in his hometown in Los Angeles, California. After this, he went on to join in major tournaments such as the Classic Tetris World Championship.

Neubauer related that the tournament landscape was going pretty steady until another impressive player came. Trey Harrison upped the competition; his game style is also notably palatable to a random viewer. As a result, more people started following competitions. Due to the rising popularity of Tetris tournaments, a lot of new blood joined in.

New players mean new and different game styles, and a lot of the young guns like more aggressive plays. This forced Neubauer to come out of his comfort zone and ditch his safe style of playing. There was a lot of pressure, and he was putting himself out there.

Where Is He Now?

If he is not at work, Neubauer still plays video games. He may be a niche rock star in the thriving esports community, particularly in the competitive Tetris scene. But he humbly concedes still to being like a D-list celebrity; popular but only to a certain circle.

Today, Neubauer continues to join tournaments, facing off against players from around the world. He is gunning for his eighth world championship against a highly competitive field. In addition to Joseph Saelee, he will likely play against Japanese Tetris Grandmaster and hyper-tapper Koji “Koryan” Nishio. He will also face off against the European champion, Svavar Gunnarsson.

In Classic Tetris World Championship, Neubauer is basically the legendary OG of the Tetris scene. The most respected man in the room. But for the rest of the year, he is just a guy who wakes up around noon and works at a bar or hangs around in a new Marijuana startup company.

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