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Originally published August 15, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified August 15, 2007 at 2:02 AM

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Seattle boy is world champ of Pokémon

For Jeremy Scharff-Kim, the fourth time was the charm. The West Seattle 13-year-old won the senior (ages 12-15) division in the 2007 Pok...

Seattle Times staff reporter

For Jeremy Scharff-Kim, the fourth time was the charm.

The West Seattle 13-year-old won the senior (ages 12-15) division in the 2007 Pokémon Trading Card Game World Championships over the weekend in Kona, Hawaii.

"It was great; everyone was calling my name and I had so many friends there," said Jeremy, who is entering eighth grade at Pathfinder alternative school.

This was his fourth world-championship appearance, but won't be his last. The victory earns him an expense-paid trip to next year's championship in Orlando, Fla., in addition to a $7,500 scholarship and other prizes.

The two-day event in Hawaii drew more 190 players from 28 countries, with competitors in three age divisions coming from as far away as Finland, Austria, Mexico and Argentina.

In Jeremy's final match in Hawaii, he defeated Akira Miyazaki, 12, of Japan, in a one-hour, back-and-forth contest projected onto a large overhead screen for dozens of onlookers in the hotel meeting room.

"When it was over, I was kind of relieved, because the final match was so intense," said Jeremy, adding that the outcome hinged on coin flips that help determine the power of Pokémon cards in certain situations.

In the game, each competitor plays from a 60-card deck, in which cards depicting Pokémon characters are combined with "energy" and "trainer" cards to help knock out the opponents' Pokémon and win "prize" cards, propelling a player to victory.

Jeremy had advanced to the competition in Hawaii by taking a third place in U.S. national championships last month in Ohio. Worldwide, an estimated 35,000 players compete in tournaments in the trading-card game, which originated in Japan.

This was the third Pokémon world championship won by a Washington state resident. Stuart Benson, of Auburn, took top honors in the senior division in San Diego in 2005, and Mindy Lambkee, of Kent, won the junior (11 and under) division in 2002 in Seattle.

Three other Seattle-area players competed in this year's world championships, including a next-door neighbor of Jeremy's, Henry Learning, 10, who finished 12th in the junior division. Ross Cawthorn, 17, of Seattle, placed 13th in the master's division (16 and over) and Steven Roberto, 10, of Kent, was 47th in the junior division.

Jack Broom: 206-464-2222 or jbroom@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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