Arthur Chu

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Arthur Chu
A man in a suit (Chu) pretends mock fear at a small drone helicopter being held by another person.
Chu in 2015
Born (1984-01-30) January 30, 1984 (age 39)
EducationSwarthmore College (BA)
  • Columnist
Known forJeopardy! strategy
Eliza Blair
(m. 2012; div. 2016)

Arthur Chu (born January 30, 1984) is an American columnist and former contestant on Jeopardy!, a syndicated U.S. game show. Chu first became known for the unusual style of play he adopted during his eleven-game winning streak on Jeopardy! When the shows aired, Chu attracted criticism from many for jumping from category to category rather than selecting clues in sequential order, a strategy known as the "Forrest Bounce", named for former champion Chuck Forrest.

Chu prepared extensively before his Jeopardy! appearance by reviewing tapes, study guides, game theory and Jeopardy! strategy. He made his debut on January 28, 2014, winning $37,000 in his first game. After winning 11 games, he lost his 12th game (which aired on March 12, 2014) to Diana Peloquin. Chu is the tenth highest-earning Jeopardy! champion in non-tournament gameplay, with a grand total of $298,200. Chu also won an additional $100,000 for taking second place in the 2014 Tournament of Champions.

Since appearing on Jeopardy!, Chu has used his fame to speak out publicly on issues that are important to him. He later became a columnist and Internet commentator, writing for The Daily Beast and Salon on various issues, including racism and sexism in nerd culture.

Early life[edit]

Chu was born in Albany, New York, on January 30, 1984.[1] His parents immigrated to the United States from Taiwan.[2] He moved several times growing up, due to his father's job in the chemical industry.[3] During his childhood, Chu lived in Cranston, Rhode Island, spent a year in Boise, Idaho, then lived in Cerritos, California as a teenager.[2]

As a child, Chu participated in the National Geographic Bee, and while attending Swarthmore College, he was a member of the college's quiz-bowl team.[1] He received a B.A. in history at his graduation in 2008.[3]

Jeopardy! appearances[edit]


Chu spent a great deal of time preparing in the month before his first appearance on Jeopardy! He studied tapes of former Jeopardy! contestants and created study guides based on the advice of Roger Craig. He also read about game theory and Jeopardy! strategy online.[4] As a student at Swarthmore College, he also played quiz bowl, in which he has said he was an aggressive player despite having limited knowledge.[5]

Debut and championship[edit]

Chu made his debut as a contestant on the January 28, 2014, episode of Jeopardy!, winning $37,200 in his first game.[6] On the January 29 episode, Chu made a Final Jeopardy! wager that caused him to tie fellow contestant Carolyn Collins. Chu claimed that he made the decision to wager for a tie not out of kindness but because of the advice of 2003 College champion Keith Williams, who claims that game theory favors wagering for a tie over the more common practice of wagering to win by a dollar.[7] Chu defeated Collins on the January 30 episode.[8]

After a three-week airtime break, he became eligible for the Tournament of Champions on February 24 when he won for the fifth time; his total winnings were $123,600. On February 26, he became the ninth biggest all-time Jeopardy! winner, with a total of $180,000.[9][10] The next day, he jumped to third, with a total of $238,200.[9][10]

Chu won his eleventh and final game on March 11, bringing his total to $297,200. His streak ended on March 12 when he was defeated by Diana Peloquin. He ended up in third place after losing his entire score in Final Jeopardy![11] His third-place earnings of $1,000 brought his ultimate winnings to $298,200,[12][n 1] putting him at third place on the list of all-time highest-earning Jeopardy! champions, behind Ken Jennings and David Madden.[9] He also held the third-longest winning streak in the series' history, behind the same two gentlemen.[1]

Chu's 11-show winning streak was later passed by Julia Collins (20 wins in 2014), Matt Jackson (13, 2015), Seth Wilson (12, 2016), Austin Rogers (12, 2017), James Holzhauer (32, 2019), Jason Zuffranieri (19, 2019), Matt Amodio (38, 2021), Amy Schneider (40, 2021-22), Mattea Roach (23, 2022), Ryan Long (16, 2022), and Cris Pannullo (21, 2022) pushing Chu's streak to the fourteenth-longest in Jeopardy! history (tied with Jonathan Fisher). Collins, Jackson, Rogers, Holzhauer, Zuffranieri, Amodio, Schneider, Roach, Long, and Pannullo also surpassed Chu's total winnings, pushing Chu to thirteenth place in all-time regular play earnings.

After his initial appearance on the show, Chu competed in the 2014 Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions, where he finished second to Ben Ingram, an IT consultant from South Carolina. Chu won $100,000 for his second-place finish, bringing his overall winnings to $398,200.[14]

Response to game play style[edit]

Throughout Chu's 11-game streak, his aggressive style of play attracted criticism among fans of the series, some of whom considered his conduct to be unsportsmanlike and against the spirit of Jeopardy! His strategy earned him the nickname the "Jeopardy! Villain", a nickname Chu fully embraced.[15] One of the most common complaints about his playing style was that he jumped from category to category, a strategy known as the "Forrest Bounce", after former champion Chuck Forrest. The Forrest Bounce is a somewhat common strategy, however, employed by several successful other champions including Brad Rutter and James Holzhauer who, like Chu, used it to increase their odds of finding Daily Doubles first.[16] Inspired by Watson, a computer that was programmed to play Jeopardy!, Chu picked high-value clues first, because they are more likely to be Daily Doubles.[1] In his second game, Chu wagered $5 on a Daily Double and responded "I don't know" immediately after the clue was given.[16]

Chu also held the buzzer close to the microphone, resulting in audible clicks when signaling,[17] and upon correctly answering a question, rushed quickly to the next clue. This gamesmanship, the resulting criticism and his engagement with critics on Twitter during airings of his shows led some to declare his run akin to a "Moneyball" moment, and Chu himself "ruthless" and "idol-killingly pragmatic".[18]

In response, both Alex Trebek and Ken Jennings have defended Chu as a "good player" who makes the game "more exciting".[19][20] In a 2018 interview, Trebek admitted that Chu's use of the Forrest Bounce could be irritating when it disrupted the flow of the game, although he also praised Chu and said, "as the impartial host I accept disorder".[21]

After Jeopardy![edit]

After his appearance on Jeopardy!, Chu contacted publicists and PR firms to ask for suggestions on how to monetize the recognition from his Jeopardy! run. However, he found the proposals unappealing and did not follow suggestions that he use the "successful game theorist" image.[22][23] Instead, he began writing a column for The Daily Beast[24] and later for Salon.[25] Chu has written on various aspects of nerd culture and on being Asian American. He is a vocal critic of racism and online bullying, and is known for his opposition to the Gamergate movement.[22][26][27]

A documentary feature film about Chu's life, titled Who Is Arthur Chu?, premiered at the 2017 Slamdance Film Festival.[28] It is directed by Scott Drucker and Yu Gu.[29][30][31]

Personal life[edit]

Chu resides in Broadview Heights, Ohio.[32] Chu has worked as a voice actor, for example, on the webcomic Erfworld,[33] and as an insurance compliance analyst.[2]

Chu married science fiction writer Eliza Blair in 2012; the couple met during their time at Swarthmore College.[34][35] They later divorced.[36]


  1. ^ Since May 16, 2002, consolation prizes have been $2,000 for the second-place contestant and $1,000 for the third-place contestant.[13]


  1. ^ a b c d Raphel, Adrienne (March 10, 2014). "Branding Arthur Chu". The New Yorker. Condé Nast. Archived from the original on August 8, 2014. Retrieved August 2, 2014.
  2. ^ a b c Baker, Peter C. (May 4, 2015). "Reform of the Nerds, Starring Arthur Chu". Pacific Standard. Archived from the original on August 13, 2015. Retrieved May 10, 2015.
  3. ^ a b "Arthur Chu '08 Uses Game Theory in Notable Jeopardy Performance". Swarthmore College. January 31, 2014. Archived from the original on June 3, 2015. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  4. ^ Eakin, Marah (February 24, 2014). "Controversial Jeopardy! champ Arthur Chu tells his story". The A.V. Club. Archived from the original on September 6, 2015. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  5. ^ Higgins, Chris (February 1, 2014). "Our Interview With Jeopardy! Champion Arthur Chu". Mental Floss. Archived from the original on October 16, 2015. Retrieved August 2, 2014.
  6. ^ Morgan, Beth (February 8, 2014). "Everyone's Talking About Arthur Chu ... But Why?". Medium. Archived from the original on October 2, 2015. Retrieved August 2, 2014.
  7. ^ Mucha, Peter (January 30, 2014). "'Jeopardy!' tie game makes Arthur Chu a hero?". Philadelphia Media Network. Archived from the original on October 7, 2015. Retrieved August 2, 2014.
  8. ^ "Show No. 6764 (Arthur Chu vs. Carolyn Collins vs. Maura McKenna)". Jeopardy!. Season 30. Episode 99. January 30, 2014. Syndicated.
  9. ^ a b c "$50,000 Plus Winners—Jeopardy! official site". Sony Pictures International. Archived from the original on March 14, 2014. Retrieved March 13, 2014.
  10. ^ a b James, Michael (February 27, 2014). "'Jeopardy Villain' Arthur Chu Nearly Rampages to Record". ABC News. Archived from the original on May 2, 2015. Retrieved March 6, 2014.
  11. ^ "Show 6793 (Arthur Chu vs. Julie Hornick vs. Diana Peloquin)". Jeopardy!. Season 30. Episode 128. March 12, 2014. Syndicated.
  12. ^ Mucha, Peter (November 19, 2014). "Swarthmore's Arthur Chu wins, corrects Trebek on 'Jeopardy!'". Philadelphia Media Network. Archived from the original on June 16, 2015. Retrieved June 12, 2015.
  13. ^ "Show No. 4089 (Ronnie O'Rourke vs. Ben Tritle vs. Allison Owens)". Jeopardy!. Season 18. Episode 144. May 16, 2002. Syndicated.
  14. ^ Rutti, Ron (November 21, 2014). "Arthur Chu finishes second in 'Jeopardy!' Tournament of Champions". The Plain Dealer. Archived from the original on September 16, 2015. Retrieved March 8, 2015.
  15. ^ Menon, Vinay (February 21, 2014). "Arthur Chu's dangerous game of Jeopardy!". Toronto Star. Archived from the original on November 29, 2014. Retrieved March 6, 2014.
  16. ^ a b "'Mad genius' is really upsetting 'Jeopardy!' fans". AOL. February 3, 2014. Archived from the original on March 2, 2014. Retrieved August 2, 2014.
  17. ^ Green, Roger (February 17, 2014). "The (alleged) Jeopardy! sins of Arthur Chu". Times Union. Archived from the original on November 13, 2014. Retrieved March 6, 2014.
  18. ^ Dewey, Caitlin (February 27, 2014). "Why we're actually mad at ruthless 'Jeopardy!' contestant Arthur Chu". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 2, 2014.
  19. ^ Knox, Merrill (February 27, 2014). "'The Five' Turns the Tables on Alex Trebek". Adweek. TVNewser. Archived from the original on October 17, 2015. Retrieved October 16, 2015.
  20. ^ Jennings, Ken (February 10, 2014). "Arthur Chu Is Playing Jeopardy! the Right Way". Slate. Archived from the original on April 6, 2015. Retrieved August 2, 2014.
  21. ^ Marchese, David (November 12, 2018). "In Conversation: Alex Trebek: The Jeopardy! icon on retirement, his legacy, and why knowledge matters". Vulture. New York Media. Archived from the original on November 13, 2018. Retrieved April 8, 2023. With regard to the players you mentioned, they all have great, outgoing personalities, and I loved that. What bothers me is when contestants jump all over the board even after the Daily Doubles have been dealt with. Why are they doing that? They're doing themselves a disservice. When the show's writers construct categories they do it so that there's a flow in terms of difficulty, and if you jump to the bottom of the category you may get a clue that would be easier to understand if you'd begun at the top of the category and saw how the clues worked. I like there to be order on the show, but as the impartial host I accept disorder.
  22. ^ a b Chu, Arthur (September 4, 2014). "Who Is Arthur Chu?". The Huffington Post. Archived from the original on September 5, 2014. Retrieved March 15, 2015.
  23. ^ Wang, Ester (February 24, 2015). "The Ombudsnerd". The Awl. Archived from the original on February 24, 2015. Retrieved March 4, 2015.
  24. ^ "Arthur Chu". The Daily Beast. Archived from the original on September 5, 2015. Retrieved June 16, 2015.
  25. ^ "Arthur Chu". Salon. Archived from the original on September 6, 2015. Retrieved June 16, 2015.
  26. ^ Biggs, John (December 1, 2014). "Arthur Chu, "The Jeopardy! Guy," Talks About Gamergate And Web Harassment". TechCrunch. Archived from the original on September 5, 2015. Retrieved March 4, 2015.
  27. ^ Raja, Tasneem (November 11, 2014). "This "Jeopardy!" Champ and Proud Geek Gives Swirlies to Gamergaters in His Spare Time". Mother Jones. Archived from the original on September 13, 2015. Retrieved March 8, 2015.
  28. ^ Kerry Levielle (April 10, 2017). "'Who is Arthur Chu?' Trailer: Newfound Celebrity and Media Backlash Haunt 'Jeopardy' Winner – Watch". IndieWire. Retrieved September 10, 2018.
  29. ^ Justin Lowe (January 21, 2017). "'Who Is Arthur Chu': Film Review | Slamdance 2017". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 10, 2018.
  30. ^ Nathan Mattise (May 20, 2018). "Who Is Arthur Chu?: When Jeopardy ended, the real puzzles of online life began". Ars Technica. Retrieved September 10, 2018.
  31. ^ Yu Gu (May 22, 2018). "America Reframed Unfiltered: Hero / Anithero – Who Is Arthur Chu?". PBS. Archived from the original on August 31, 2018. Retrieved September 10, 2018.
  32. ^ McIntyre, Michael (February 24, 2014). "Arthur Chu of Broadview Heights keeps his winning streak alive on Jeopardy!: Michael K. McIntyre's Tipoff". The Plain Dealer. Archived from the original on November 29, 2014. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  33. ^ Berlatsky, Noah (November 6, 2014). "What Can You Really Do With a Degree in the Arts?". The Atlantic. Retrieved July 13, 2016.
  34. ^ Kumar, Sujay (February 24, 2014). "Inside the Misunderstood Mind of Jeopardy! Champ Arthur Chu, Who Is Not Ruining the Show". The Daily Beast. Archived from the original on March 6, 2015. Retrieved March 6, 2014.
  35. ^ Kaufman, Rachel (April 2, 2012). "Eliza Blair, Arthur Chu". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 16, 2015.
  36. ^ Drucker, Scott; Gu, Yu (February 9, 2017). "'Who is Arthur Chu?' Filmmakers Bring a Viral Online World to the Big Screen". (print). Interviewed by Christopher Boone. Retrieved April 12, 2017.
Preceded by
Helen Juvonen
Biggest one-day winners on Jeopardy! by season
Succeeded by
Michael Bilow
Preceded by
Keith Whitener
Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions first runner-up
Succeeded by

External links[edit]