has been getting a lot
of media coverage, and she’s not even the champion. But she did surprise the competition and herself by making it to the semifinals at the 2009 Pokemon Video Game World Championships.
did an interview with Grace Beck:
G4: Grace, you started playing Pokemon competitively at this year’s Pokemon National Championships. How did you end up there?More...
Grace Beck: My cousin is Chris Tsai, who was the highest-ranking American Pokemon player in the World Championships last year. He was also one of the national champions. He had no luck during this year’s regionals, so he went to the nationals in St. Louis to enter as a last-chance qualifier. He and his mom invited me, just to see everyone and hang out. They know I like Pokemon as well, so they thought it would be fun to spend time with everyone. I entered to play because I’m more of a Pokemon collector and the tournament organizers were giving out a rare Pokemon if you entered to play in the tournament. Not intending to play in the tournament thinking I’d never get through the random draw — there were hundreds of people there — I went to register just so I could get the giveaway Pokemon. [laughs]
G4: And you ended up placing third and qualifying for the National Championships!
Beck: [laughs] Yeah! My number was drawn and so was Chris’s, so I was in a panic because I didn’t know what to do. On the fly, Chris traded me a team. I asked for something a cat with a stylus could use. I asked for something easy. He had been preparing for the tournament for months and had a lot of teams available. He just gave me one on the fly. He traded it to me minutes before the first round began.
G4: I heard that you felt a little ashamed of winning the nationals.
Beck: I felt like…I didn’t deserve any of it. When compared to people like Chris and a lot of other friends he has, they’ve been preparing for months or years for this event — just testing out different strategies in the game — and here I am, a total newbie in terms of battling. I never battled an actual person before that day. I’m going in. It’s my first battle. I’m just goofing off and taking silly pictures. And at the end of the day I was 5-0, finishing at the top of my bracket.