New Zealander takes out top prize in world gaming competition in Japan
From New Zealand to Japan, Timmy Chiew has taken out the top spot at an international gaming tournament.
The Yu-Gi-Oh duel links world champion winner has been playing card games and video games since he was 12.
Now 25, Chiew beat 10 of the best Yu-Gi-Oh players at the international competition – in a New Zealand first.
The tournament was played on a Yu-Gi-Oh app with iPads. Originally, it was a card game, but the app was launched in the past year, Chiew said.
Online gaming and cards have taken Chiew from his native Palmerston North and new home in Auckland to America, Australia and Asia, where he's won tens of thousands of dollars.
Chiew, co-founder of Auckland-based food delivery app GobbleUP!, said he mostly plays for leisure but could make a living off it if he wanted to.
In Japan alone, he won a special collectors playing card that he sold for $19,000. It was the cherry on top, Chiew said.
Food, accommodation and his travel to Japan was all paid for, Chiew said.
He couldn't count how many tournaments he'd won, but he said he usually came out on top about every third competition.
But, without putting time in to practising, winning wouldn't be realistic, he said.
There were times where Chiew spent four hours a day practising before tournaments, but that was nothing compared with some people who spent up to 12 hours training, Chiew said.
It is like any sport. To be good at soccer, people had to practice, just as Chiew had to with card games for many years, he said.
Hobbyco director James White, who runs national Yu-Gi-Oh tournaments, said it was a long road getting to an internationally-competitive level.
Chiew had to win regionals, nationals and then the Oceanic championship, and from there two people made it to the international tournament, White said.
"It really is hard. It's a very big honour."
It was the first time anyone from New Zealand had won that competition, White said.
So many games were solitary, but these tournaments allowed for social interaction and for friendships to be built, he said.
"They bring people together, face to face. It has amazing social values."
Yu-Gi-Oh also taught skills such as strategy and basic mathematics, White said.
"From a strategy point of view you have to use a lot of brain power.
"It really takes a lot of thought to out think your opponent."
The game had similar traits to chess, but with thousands more playing cards to deal with, White said.
There was also an element of chance, but the more skill the player had the harder it was to win with pure luck, he said.