FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A Central Valley boy traveled across the country this weekend to compete for a world championship in Pokémon.
The announcers' criticism can be harsh as an international audience keeps its eyes on this world championship bout in a game you might not recognize.
"The easiest way to describe it is like a game of chess, but with cards and thousands of them, you can use. And I think it's a lot harder than chess," said Pokémon Champion Blake Mendez.
Blake Mendez, 10, laid his cards on the table for the Pokémon World Championships this weekend, getting out of a little school at Hanford's Pioneer Middle School, where he is a sixth grader.
He says his friends think it is just a game with cartoon characters, but from Blake's perspective, a day of Pokémon challenges is still a day of education.
"You have to do calculations of math to have the damages added up to knock other Pokémon out and also reading because you have to do a lot of reading and studying so that can you can do well," said Mendez.
And it took a lot of effort to get to this point.
Blake had to compile a huge number of wins in lesser competitions before he earned his spot on the world stage.
But he proved he belonged, getting a few wins on Day One to move on to the last day of the championships before bowing out.
"It was overall, it was fun and it was really exciting because you get to play against other players who are the best of the best in the world. And that's also nerve-racking," said Mendez.
Half a million dollars was on the line this weekend and as Blake moves up to a new division next year, he is hoping to fly as high as Pikachu has for more than 20 years now.