October 2nd, 2012 - A little over six weeks remain until The Kong Off 2, and it looks as though we will go into it with Donkey Kong Jr. champion Mark Kiehl sitting just beneath "the big three" of Chien, Wiebe, and Mitchell.
This is the fourth time the 4th place spot has changed hands in 2012—Dave McCrary first snatched it from Kyle Goewert in January, then Kiehl took it in February, followed by Shaun Boyd in May, with scores of 1,015,000, 1,016,500 and 1,037,500, respectively.
Now Kiehl has reclaimed his earlier position with 1,052,900, and in so doing has become the seventh player (MAME inclusive) to cross the "million fifty" mark.
The score was achieved just over a week after Kiehl beat his own two-year-old Donkey Kong Jr. world record (the battle for which has made him no stranger to Mitchell and Wiebe, who have alternately vied with him for that title).
September 7th's fourth-place Kong entry had the potential to climb past both Wiebe and Mitchell's second and third place scores. But late in the game, and on his last life, Kiehl (as quoted in Patrick Scott Patterson's report) opted to slow his scoring pace to a slightly more conservative style.
In the video of the final screens (embedded below), we can see that while Kiehl is definitely point-pressing, he is avoiding some of the more extreme and dangerous barrel-grouping and leeching techniques, before his run ends on the inevitable kill screen.
Kiehl is now only separated from Mitchell and Wiebe by 9,900 and 11,600 points, respectively, and while he has quite a ways to go before catching up to Chien, there is every reason to believe that he can.
The stretch of points standing between Kiehl's score and the world record is a painful and tedious one, but any player with the fortitude to endure the grinding psychological agony of point-pressing the Donkey Kong Jr. "hideout" screen is a player that Dr. Chien should be watching with a careful eye!
Of the gathering school of piranhas hungrily circling the most prized title in competitive gaming, Kiehl might be the most vicious. Could he be our next champion?