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Carol Stream

Local Pokemon master heads to national championship

STREAMWOOD – Ben Moskow is in training to become a Pokemon playing card game master.

The Pokemon trading card game is played between two competitors. Each player has his own deck of cards filled with creatures with attacks and cards that strengthen these creatures, or Pokemon, and weaken those of the player’s opponent. At the end of the game, whoever has the highest amount of points, gained through winning attacks, wins the game.

After becoming the Pokemon Spring Regional Champion, Moskow is traveling to Indianapolis this weekend to compete in the 2013 Pokemon U.S. National Championship. According to a news release from the Pokemon Company International, this competition is the largest of the season, with more than 2,000 players, supporters and fans expected to attend.

Moskow is among five Senior Division Spring Regional Champions from throughout the country and also will go to the Pokemon World Championship game in Vancouver, B.C., in August.

It all began with a kindergarten friend, said Moskow.

“My dad says he’s the one who corrupted me,” he said.

Since then, Moskow has qualified for the World Championship three years in a row and five years total. He practices as much as he can, with his family who support his passion, in different competing leagues at local libraries and through competition held online.

For anyone who wants to become a Pokemon master, Moskow recommends practice.

“Get yourself a starter deck. Find something online to practice. Build your deck,” Moskow said. “And of course, lots of practice.”

Playing this card game is not all intense competition, Moskow said. His favorite part of playing the game is getting to talk with old friends and meeting new people. The game becomes a way to connect people to each other and is not all about winning.

“It comes down to if we both thought it was a good game,” he said.

For Moskow, Pokemon is not a simple game. It taught him valuable lessons, such as how to read, do mathematics problems and socialize with kids his own age.

“Pokemon is a pretty cool game to play,” he said. “It’s good for people. It helps kids learn to talk to each other.”

No matter if he wins or loses, Moskow intends to continue playing Pokemon after the upcoming competitions. Soon, he will move into the Masters division for players age 16 and older.

There, he plans to do his very best and, of course, continue practicing his game.

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