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Amy Schneider wins a hard-fought 'Jeopardy!' tournament of champions

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Jeopardy Champion

In this undated photo provided by Jeopardy Productions, Inc., "Jeopardy!" host Ken Jennings, left, poses with contestant Amy Schneider. 

NEW YORK (AP) — Forty-game winner Amy Schneider capped her big year by winning a hard-fought "Jeopardy!" tournament of champions in an episode that aired Monday.

Schneider, a writer from Oakland, California, won three games in the tournament finals, narrowly beating Andrew He, a software developer from neighboring San Francisco, who won two games. The third contestant, Sam Buttrey, was another Californian who won one game.

Schneider had a 40-game winning streak earlier this year, the second longest in the game show's history, which began when she defeated He.

She said she both wanted to compete again with He, known for his cold-blooded big bets on the show's Daily Doubles, and feared him.

The answer to a recent "Jeopardy!" clue is still a subject of debate among Biblical scholars. It was not the first time the trivia show has been criticized for controversial clues.

"He was definitely someone that I knew could beat me because he very nearly did before, and he did a couple of times here as well," Schneider said. "Any of the three of us really could have won if a very small number of things had gone differently."

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Schneider led He by $1,400 going into Final Jeopardy, where the prompt was: "The January 12, 1864 Washington Evening Star reported on a performance of this 'dashing comedy' to 'a full and delighted house.'"

The correct response: "What is 'Our American Cousin?'"

Schneider and He both answered correctly, but Schneider made the bigger bet. She won the $250,000 grand prize, He won $100,000 for second place and Buttrey won $50,000.

On April 14, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln was shot and mortally wounded by John Wilkes Booth during a performance of "Our American Cousin" at Ford's Theatre in Washington.

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