|| Rising star, PlutoTheBrave, continued his ascent this week, taking first place in the U.S. Tak Association's Intermediate Invitational Tournament (IIT) after two hard-fought rounds in the playoffs. His victory comes after a 4-game match against Gowellja, with their last game going to a rare draw and closing the final round 2-1-1.
Capstone prize selected by PlutoTheBrave for winning the IIT.
Expectations for Pluto’s performance skyrocketed after his 1st place finish in the February Tak Blitz Open. He didn’t disappoint, although spectators were kept on the edge of their seats when Asceric took their semifinals match to a tiebreaker and Pluto then split his first two games against Gowellja in the finals. After the dust settled though, Pluto emerged as the 2021 IIT Champion.
Following the tournament, Pluto acknowledged the pressure he was under, saying that the feeling of victory came closer to “relief and a weight lifted off my shoulder,” rather than “triumphant.” Many had him as a favorite to win and Pluto says these expectations impacted his performance. Nevertheless, “despite some major slip ups and misplays, I managed to keep on going and battle through against some really tough players.” He is looking forward to continuing his trajectory upward and “to start challenging for the higher spots in the rankings,” as well as continuing to simply enjoy good games of Tak.
The IIT has put a spotlight on players whose skill and reputation are earning them the distinction of being named alongside some of the best players in the game. Only a few months stand between the IIT finalists and their opportunity to match up against the veteran top players in this summer’s USTA Tak Open.