"Back-to-Back Benziger" Snatches Another Last-Minute Victory

March 24th, 2013 - The win was narrower this time around, but Donkey Kong phenom Ross Benziger cut through the field for the second time in a row to successfully defend his title as the king of the Kong Off wildcard division in the second installment of Eric Tessler and John Salter's Wildcard Rematch tournament.

"Von Dummpenstein" again pulled ahead right at the finish line, coming just a hair short of a million with 990,100.

Second place finisher Jeff Wolfe repeated as well, but with a score of 973,100, Wolfe not only topped his first Wildcard Rematch standing by over 100,000 points, he also squeaked by Benziger's score of 972,600 from the first tournament to claim the "beat Ross" bounty.

1-1 record holder Phil Tudose spent much of the day attempting to secure the "biggest 1-1" bounty and succeeded with 13,100, then went on to score 969,500 to take third place in the tournament.

While the top three spots ended up going to Donkey Kong veterans, Iceland's Svavar Gunnar Gunnarsson, a relative newcomer to the competitive Donkey Kong scene, actually held the lead for much of the day and made himself known in this tournament as a force to be reckoned with.

About 8 hours into the tournament Gunnarsson finished a strong 896,900 kill screen game but was unable to submit the score due to a patchy, incomplete video stream. Undaunted, he made his way through all 117 boards for the second time in the same day to put up an even better 919,100.

Gunnarsson, who made the Icelandic news in February for being the first of his countrymen (and possibly the first European) to play Donkey Kong to the kill screen, proved that he will clearly be a factor in any future online tournaments (or should he make his way to the States to play live at the Kong Off in Denver).

The final leaderboard boasted a whopping six scores above 900,000, showing just how strong the field is getting, and blurring the line between the Kong Off "main event" players and those in the wildcard division.

Sobering to realize that the top 10 scores emerging from a single 24-hour tournament—one that specifically barred the participation of the very best players—still managed to utterly beat the tar out of the all-time top 10 of a decade ago.

To put it into perspective, the Donkey Kong world record in March 2003 would have been just barely good enough to take 7th place on Saturday's scoreboard.

Motivation, community, and determined competition: it changes everything.

I would personally like to thank Eric and John for another great tournament, and for the shout-out in the article about the Wildcard Rematches that recently appeared on the Twin Galaxies front page. Though I feel that I underperformed with my 647,700 13th-place finish, it was a blast to finally be able to compete against other players "live" (if not in person) for the first time.

Final Standings

("N/A" represents players who were registered for the tournament but either did not play or did not submit a score.)

PlacePlayerBest ScoreGap
1Ross Benziger990,1000
2Jeff Wolfe973,10017,000
3Phil Tudose969,5003,600
4Svavar Gunnar Gunnarsson919,10050,400
5Jon McKinnell905,70013,400
6Ethan Daniels904,900800
7Jeff Harrist874,40030,500
8Ben Falls819,00055,400
9Robbie Lakeman764,60054,400
10Eric Tessler714,50050,100
11Joseph Carroll708,9005,600
12Daniel Desjardins694,00014,900
13Chris Psaros647,70046,300
14Daniel Dock612,40035,300
15Mitchell Elliott608,4004,000
16John Salter494,400114,000
17Ken House456,10038,300
18Todd Lalonde437,90018,200
19Brian Allen350,40087,500
20Kaayla Illusivefx274,50075,900
21Colman Paolo266,8007,700
22John McNeill265,8001,000
23George Strain252,80013,000
24Nick Sheils244,8008,000
25Allen Staal235,8009,000
26Craig Ziegler179,40056,400
27Donald Rubin82,70096,700
28Michael Stastny68,70014,000
29Ed Deitman27,30041,400
30Andrew GardikisN/AN/A
31Craig Rout GallantN/AN/A
32Daryl KiddyN/AN/A
33Estel GoffinetN/AN/A
34Jonathan McCourtN/AN/A
35Matt DouglasN/AN/A
36Mike GroesbeckN/AN/A
37Steve GrunbergerN/AN/A
38Steve WiltshireN/AN/A

$250 1st place - Ross Benziger (990,100)
$100 2nd place - Jeff Wolfe (973,100)
$50 3rd place - Phil Tudose (969,500)

$100 first to 1 million - UNCLAIMED
$50 first to beat Ross Benziger's reigning 972,600 - Jeff Wolfe (973,100)
$50 first kill screen - Jeff Harrist (12:30 PM)
$50 highest 1-1 score - Phil Tudose (13,100)
$50 most boards on last life - John McKinnell (45 boards)

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