Chuck Forrest

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Chuck Forrest
Born (1961-06-03) June 3, 1961 (age 58)[1]
Known for5-time Jeopardy! champion and former record holder

Charles "Chuck" Forrest (born June 3, 1961[1]) is an American game show contestant who at one time held the record for the largest non-tournament cash winnings total on the syndicated game show Jeopardy! The Los Angeles Times called him "the Alexander the Great of Jeopardy! players."[1] The producers of the show regarded him as one of the best and most memorable contestants of the 1980s.[2] Forrest is widely regarded by other elite Jeopardy! players to be one of the most formidable contestants ever to play.[3]

Appearances on Jeopardy![edit]

Initial run[edit]

Forrest, who was described at the time as a law student[1] from Grand Blanc, Michigan, had a series of victories in Season 2 of Jeopardy!, starting on September 30, 1985. After four games, he set the regular play cash winnings record, with $60,000.[4][5] When he went on to play his fifth game on October 4, 1985, he broke his own cash winnings record, with 5-day cash winnings of $72,800. Under the Jeopardy! rules in effect at the time of Forrest's victory, he retired undefeated. His record lasted until early in Season 6 of Jeopardy!, when Bob Blake won $82,501.[5] Blake's record lasted until the middle of Season 6, when Frank Spangenberg accumulated a 5-day total of $102,597.

Tournament of Champions[edit]

He went on to win the 1986 Tournament of Champions. In the quarterfinals, which was the first round, Forrest defeated Guy Tonti and Gary Palmer.[6] (Palmer advanced as a "wild card" high scoring nonwinner.) In the semifinals, he defeated Jay Rosenberg and Gary Giardina[7] He defeated Paul Rouffa and Marvin Shinkman in the two-game final, adding another $100,000 to his total cash winnings.[8] That final series was featured in a July 29, 1989 PBS documentary called Wise Guys, a behind-the scenes look at the program.[9]

Super Jeopardy![edit]

In the 1990 Super Jeopardy! tournament, Forrest was defeated in the quarterfinals, or the first round, by Dave Traini. That appearance added $5,000 to Forrest's total winnings.[10] Traini would eventually become the third-place finalist.[11] In the 2002 Million Dollar Masters tournament, Forrest lost his semifinal to Bob Verini, picking up another $25,000 in the process.[12] Verini placed third in the finals.[13] In the 2005 Ultimate Tournament of Champions, Forrest received a bye into Round 2 in recognition of his former regular-play cash winnings record. However, Forrest came in third in his Round 2 game and received another $25,000 ($10,000 as a runner-up and another $15,000 for the 2nd round bye). The scores were $0 for Forrest, $28,200 for the winner Phil Yellman, and $12,999 for Lara Robillard.[14] There were no "wild card" spots for nonwinners in the Ultimate Tournament of Champions, meaning neither Robillard nor Forrest had a chance of advancing to Round 3. Yellman, coming in second in round 3, lost to Pam Mueller along with Brian Moore.[15] His all-time total cash winnings are $227,800.

Battle of the Decades[edit]

Forrest returned for the Battle of the Decades tournament on February 3, 2014. He became a quarterfinalist, defeating India Cooper and Jim Scott. Cooper returned for the quarterfinals as a standby contestant. On May 9, he competed against 1990s champion Mark Dawson and 2000s champ Colby Burnett. Forrest won the game by $900, while Burnett in second place, moved on as a wildcard. He competed against Ken Jennings and Russ Schumacher in the semifinals on May 12 and briefly led in the Double Jeopardy! round, but Jennings ultimately moved on to the finals.

"Forrest Bounce"[edit]

Forrest implemented a strategy known as the "Forrest Bounce" in his play to potentially confuse opponents.[16] (Forrest referred to the technique as the "Rubin Bounce" after a law school friend, Donn Rubin, who first suggested it.[17]) The Forrest Bounce is applied in the Jeopardy! and Double Jeopardy! rounds with the player in control of the board "bouncing" between different categories rather than continuing through individual categories in sequence. According to Forrest, "The basic point is, you know where you're going next and [your competitors] don't."[17] Host Alex Trebek has expressed aggravation with people who use the Forrest Bounce, noting that the show's writers purposely set up the clues in each category to flow when picked sequentially.[18]

Personal life[edit]

Forrest and Mark Lowenthal, a five-time champion in Season 4, co-wrote the 1992 book Secrets of the Jeopardy Champions.[17] Like Forrest, Lowenthal won his Tournament of Champions.[19] A revised edition of the book was released in 2017 as an Amazon Kindle book.[20]

In 1992, Forrest was a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives, entering the Republican primary for Michigan's 9th congressional district, which at the time included his home town of Grand Blanc.[21] He finished third, with 9,875 votes.[22] Forrest is now a lawyer with the International Fund for Agricultural Development.[23]


  1. ^ a b c d Biederman, Patricia Ward (January 29, 1989). "Backstage At Jeopardy!; Tune in for the nervous hopefuls, the hard-working researchers, the well-dressed host and the amazing winners on the smart set's favorite game show". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 24, 2010.
  2. ^ Alex Trebek and Peter Barsocchini, The Jeopardy! Book (HarperPerennial, 1990), p. 129: "When you survey Jeopardy! contestants, fans, producers, and staff on the subject of the best players ever seen on the show, two names continually emerge: Burns Cameron from the original show and Chuck Forrest from the new show."
  3. ^ Trebek & Barsocchini, p. 68: "The contestant everyone still remembers from the new version of the game is Chuck Forrest, the 1985 Tournament of Champions winner. He was so good that he basically intimidated the other contestants in the tournament; you could hear them backstage talking about who might take second place, because they just about assumed Chuck would win it all." See also Michael Dupée, How to Get on Jeopardy! and Win! (Citadel Press, 1998), p. 36: "Mr. Forrest was so brilliant that he did not need to use much strategy to crush his opponents."
  4. ^ "Show #279 - Thursday, October 3, 1985". J! Archive. Retrieved August 24, 2010.
  5. ^ a b "$50,000 Plus Winners". Archived from the original on March 14, 2014. Retrieved August 22, 2010.
  6. ^ 1986 Tournament of Champions
  7. ^ Oddchange-1986 Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions Archived 2012-09-18 at
  8. ^ "Chuck Forrest's Tournament of Champions Final". J! Archive. Retrieved August 24, 2010.
  9. ^ Kogan, Rick (July 28, 1989). "A Peek Backstage". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved April 25, 2015.
  10. ^ "Chuck Forrest's Super Jeopardy! Quarterfinal". J! Archive. Retrieved August 24, 2010.
  11. ^ "Super Jeopardy! Final". J! Archive. Retrieved August 24, 2010.
  12. ^ "Chuck Forrest's Million Dollar Masters Semifinal". J! Archive. Retrieved August 24, 2010.
  13. ^ "Million Dollar Masters final". J! Archive. Retrieved August 24, 2010.
  14. ^ "Chuck Forrest's Round 2 Game". J! Archive. Retrieved August 24, 2010.
  15. ^ Phil Yellman's Round 3 UToC game
  16. ^ Harris, Bob (2006). Prisoner of Trebekistan. Crown Publishers. p. 85. ISBN 978-0-307-33956-0. In September of 1985 [Forrest] pioneered a technique (still called the 'Forrest Bounce') in which he selected clues not in simple vertical lines but by hopscotching back and forth across the game board, continually changing categories. See also Dupée, op. cit., p. 69.
  17. ^ a b c Forrest, Chuck and Lowenthal, Mark (1992). Secrets of the Jeopardy Champions. Grand Central Publishing. ISBN 978-0-446-39352-2, ISBN 0-446-39352-5.
  18. ^ Marchese, David (November 12, 2018). "In Conversation: Alex Trebek". Retrieved November 13, 2018. 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.
  19. ^ Brennan, Patricia (1988-11-20). "Man Wins Jackpot on Game Show". The Washington Post. p. y.05.
  20. ^ [>
  21. ^ "House banking scandal give newcomers a chance". April 17, 1992. CNN. Missing or empty |series= (help)
  22. ^ "MI District 09- R Primary". Our Campaigns.
  23. ^ Vinay Menon (2014-02-21). "Arthur Chu's dangerous game of Jeopardy!". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2014-05-23.
Preceded by
Paul Boymel
Biggest regular play winners on Jeopardy! by season
Succeeded by
John Ryan
Preceded by
Jerry Frankel
Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions winner
Succeeded by
Bob Verini
Preceded by
Paul Boymel
Jerry Frankel
All-time Jeopardy! biggest winner
Succeeded by
Jerry Frankel
Bruce Seymour
Preceded by
Paul Boymel
All-time Jeopardy! regular play winnings leader
Succeeded by
Bob Blake