|| The final 6-game match of the 2022 USTA Tak Championship is more than halfway over, with four games complete and two remaining, plus a potential tiebreaker. Neither of the two previous champions - Jacob Christian Munch-Andersen (NohatCoder) or Sam Dickinson (fwwwwibib) - are competing for the title. Instead, the Tak world's next champion will be either newcomer Alion or veteran Ally.
The battle between Alion and Ally will determine whether the old guard that rose to prominence in the 2016-2020 era will retain a hold on the title or be toppled by a player who was unknown to the Tak world when the champion was last crowned.
The newcomer's opponent, Ally, is as veteran of a player as they come. Go back into the early years of the Tak Talk Discord community and you'll find Ally playing against those who went on to become the elite players and champions of Tak, controlling the podium spots for years.
Ally rose to prominence early on, building a Tak resume that is impressive in its own right. His accomplishments include a tournament record of 79-38 and a #5 overall ranking on USTA's Tournament Ratings. With over 1,200 games on PlayTak.com, he has an unofficial rating of 2046 - one of only nine players with a PlayTak rating currently over 2000.
Ally played in the first ever U.S. Tak Open in 2016, a record-setting tournament with 149 players and 32 playoff contenders. He made it through several playoff rounds until he lost to SultanPepper, who went on to finish in 1st place.
More recently, he placed 3rd overall in the '21 U.S. Tak Open - just one point shy of tying for 2nd - and then took 4th place in the '22 Member's Tournament. However, what has eluded Ally all these years is a first place finish in a major (non-blitz) tournament. He went undefeated in the June 2021 Blitz Open, but that was against a small and relatively less competitive field of opponents.
However, his performance in the Tak Championship has confirmed his right to contend for the title. In his first round match against the current Tak Champion, Fwwwwibib, Ally swept the match 3-0. Meanwhile, ManaT outperformed the 2018 Champion NohatCoder, and then Ally in turn beat ManaT 3-1, earning his spot in the final. The question now remains whether Ally can keep up his strong performance through the next two, potentially three games.
If Ally emerges victorious, he will retain the title of Tak Champion for the next two years. Games 5 and 6 of the final series will be held on January 7th at 5:00 P.M. EST / 22:00 GMT.