Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions

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The Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions is an annual tournament featuring the longest-running champions and biggest money winners from the past season or seasons of Jeopardy! The tournament began in 1964 during Art Fleming's tenure as host, and has continued into the Alex Trebek era of the show. There have been four years in which the Tournament was skipped altogether (1984, 1997, 2008, and 2012), and six seasons (1, 17, 20, 23, 27, and 30). The brief 1978–79 revival, which aired for five months, is known to have had a Tournament as well.

In 2002, Jeopardy! held a Million Dollar Masters tournament featuring fifteen previous champions, and in 2005 the show held an Ultimate Tournament of Champions for over three months, which featured over 100 champions from previous years instead of a regular Tournament of Champions for just the previous year; that season's Tournament of Champions began on September 20, 2004, featuring any remaining Season 19 champions that hadn't qualified for that year's tournament as well as all of the Season 20 qualifiers except for Ken Jennings, who had just resumed his winning streak two weeks before the tournament started (Jennings' streak was interrupted three times that year; the other two times were for the show's annual Kids' Week in October 2004 and the College Championship in November 2004).

The Season 25 Tournament of Champions was taped during the 2009 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada.[1]

In 2014, Jeopardy! held a Battle of the Decades tournament featuring 45 previous champions, with 15 from their respective decade (1984–93, 1994–2003, and 2004–13). All of the players competed in a week-long slate of games, respective of decade, from which the winners out of each game would become quarterfinalists. Those 15 winners would then return to compete in a regular tournament format, with the winner taking home $1,000,000.


In the current version of the show, the Tournament of Champions includes 15 players. Most of the slots are reserved for regular-season players who have won the most games since the previous championship contestants were chosen, followed by the most money in the case of the same number of games won. A minimum of three wins are required to qualify. Winners of the College Championships and Teachers Tournaments are also guaranteed slots, and scheduling occurrences can result in multiple College or Teachers Tournament winners in the same Tournament of Champions field, most recently with two College Champions in the 2014 event. For many years, the winner(s) of the Teen Tournament and the Seniors Tournament also participated, but the Seniors Tournament was discontinued after 1995, and a Teen Tournament winner was last invited to the Tournament of Champions in 2000, none ever having won the event.

There have been at least two cases of otherwise-qualified contestants being removed from the Tournament of Champions field due to negative circumstances not affecting the outcome of their games (Barbara Lowe in 1986 for violating contestant eligibility requirements, and Jerry Slowik in 2014 due being charged with child sex assult.) In such cases, the highest earning 4 day champion not already in the tournament took their place in the field.


With the expansion of the field to 15 players in the Alex Trebek era, the Tournament of Champions now lasts two weeks (10 shows) with the following format, devised by Trebek himself in 1985 to suit the 15 five-time champions from the previous year. The same format applies to all Jeopardy! 15-player tournament formats—the Teen Tournament, College Championship, and Teachers Tournament; it previously applied to the Seniors Tournament, the Million Dollar Masters Tournament, and starting with the second round (15 players), Jeopardy! Battle of the Decades:[2]

  • Shows 1–5: The quarterfinals, with three new contestants participating each day. The five winners and the four highest-scoring losers (wild cards) advance to the semifinals. In case of a tie for winner (other than a triple-zero), the tied players participate in one final toss-up clue; the player who rings in and gives the correct question advances. A player cannot win by default, and must give the correct question to win. Should neither player offer a correct response, the question is thrown out and edited out of the final broadcast; only the final question that determines the winner is broadcast. In case of a tie among the four highest-scoring losers, the highest score after "Double Jeopardy!" is used. Any game ending with a triple-zero tie eliminates all three players, and an additional wild card position is added.
  • Shows 6–8: The semifinals, with only the three winners advancing to finals. Tournament tie-breaker rules apply. As in the quarterfinals, a triple-zero tie eliminates all three players, and a wild card position is added for the highest-scoring semifinal loser.
  • Shows 9–10: Two-legged tie final. Each leg is treated as a new match (players start with zero score, although the podia for the second leg will display a player's score from the first leg), with aggregate score determining final positions, with one exception; a contestant with a zero or negative score at the end of Double Jeopardy! will have their score raised to zero. The championship is determined by the highest aggregate score, with runners-up receiving either a guaranteed cash prize or the amount of their two-day total, whichever is higher.


The prize amounts for all contestants are as follows:

Period Finalists (minimum guarantees) Semifinalists Quarterfinalists
Winner 1st runner-up 2nd runner-up
1964–74 All players kept their scores in cash at the end of each game none, except in 1969
1985 $100,000 Kept two-day total winnings $5,000 $1,000
1986 $5,000
1987–96 $10,000 $7,500
1998–2002 $15,000 $10,000 $2,500
2003–04 $250,000 $50,000 $25,000 $10,000 $5,000
2006–present $100,000 $50,000

Other prizes[edit]

Griffin Award
  • During the Art Fleming era of the show, in addition to their score winnings, Grand Champions won a tropical vacation and were presented with a trophy called the annual Griffin Award, named for show creator Merv Griffin. In many years they also received a $1,000 bonus.
  • In 2006, schools selected by each contestant received the Classroom Jeopardy! electronic game in honor of Teacher Appreciation Week.
  • In 2007, each contestant received the Jeopardy! DVD Home Game System.

List of participants[edit]

Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions participants

The following is a list of contestants and where they placed in the tournament. Prize amounts for the non-winning finalists who won more than the minimum guarantees are as indicated in parentheses.

Finalists Semifinalists Quarterfinalists
Art Fleming Era (1964–75)[3]
First annual (1964)
Winner: Terry Thompson[4]
Phyllis Gallo
John Murphy
Helen Beck
Rosemary Taubert
Pat McDermott
Madeline Von Koch
Sid Kramer
Ruth Lind
[No quarterfinals]
Second annual (1965)
Winner: Babs McClellan
Carolyn Benson
Bob Wilder
Lou Ehrlich
Pat Day
Doris Sullivan
Jim Cahill
Bob Law
Earle Codrington
[No quarterfinals]
Third annual (1966)
Winner: Burns Cameron[5] [No quarterfinals]
Fourth annual (1967)
Eleanor Endsley
Harry Murtha
Anne Fried
Frank Gray
Sheila Gabriel
Rosemary Marnell
Libby Dyer
Gail Berry
Howard August
[No quarterfinals]
Fifth annual (1968)
Winner: Red Gibson
John Miller
Shep Shepherd
Fran Fisk
Bill Martin
Penny Costigen
Marcia Bikalis
Judy Gex
Sally Hickman
[No quarterfinals]
Sixth annual (1969)
Winner: Jay Wolpert
Elliot Shteir
Nick Rorick
Elliot Baritz
Jane Gschwend
Ann Baker
Larry Schiller
Joan Nephew
John Gridley
Judy Rubin
Grant Willis
Jack Gurner
Mendy Snyder
Burt Sherman
Pat Dougiallo
Jay Hayes
Judy Reimer
Joan Lawrence
Seventh annual (1970)
Winner: Gene Cheatam [No quarterfinals]
Eighth annual (1971)
Winner: Rock Johnson
Riza Gross
Jan Churchwell
Peggy Rathert
Don Marms
Karolyn Battle
Jim Shannon
Michael Aronson
Joel Tuber
[No quarterfinals]
Ninth annual (1972)
Winner: Anne Marie Sutton
Jay Delehanty
Susan Smith
Paul Wilson
Lorraine Gorman[6]
Donna Angle
Luanne Keller
Sheila November
Jay Delehanty
[No quarterfinals]
Tenth annual (1973)
Winner: Paula Ogren
Adeline Schulman
Dan Donohue
Carol Reeve
Reid Williamson
Connie Christensen
Phil Price
Louise Windgrad
Rosemary Travis
[No quarterfinals]
Eleventh annual (1974)
Winner: Denny Golden [No quarterfinals]
Alex Trebek Era (1984–present)
Season 2 (November 11–22, 1985)
Winner: Jerry Frankel
1st runner-up: Bruce Fauman ($9,399)
2nd runner-up: Steve Rogitz ($5,100)
Ron Black
Paul Boymel (Season 1 biggest winner)
Liz Caccese
Larry Floyd
John Hnat
Ric Moser
Elise Beraru
SSGT Paul Croshier
Michael Day
John Genova
Paula Tupper
Nathan Walpow
Season 3 (November 3–14, 1986)
Winner: Chuck Forrest (Season 2 biggest winner)
1st runner-up: Paul Rouffa
2nd runner-up: Marvin Shinkman
Beryl Arbit
Donald Burgo
Gary Giardina
Lionel Goldbart
Gary Palmer
Jay Rosenberg
Harvey Becker
Jared Eisenstat
Danny Green
Mark Leinwand
Eric Schoeck
Guy Tonti
Season 4 (November 9–20, 1987)
Winner: Bob Verini
1st runner-up: David Traini ($16,000)
2nd runner-up: Eugene Finerman ($11,600)
Eric Berman
Richard Cordray
Michael Galvin
Doug Molitor
John Ryan (Season 3 biggest winner)
Roger Storm
Keith Bell
Jonathan Fellows
Frank Hughes
John Podhoretz
Zeke Sevilla, Jr.
Keith Walker
Season 5 (November 7–18, 1988)
Winner: Mark Lowenthal
1st runner-up: Bruce Naegeli (Season 4 biggest winner, $18,799)
2nd runner-up: Sandra Gore ($13,000)
Roy Holliday
Peggy Kennedy
Richard Perez-Pena
Steven Popper
Michael Rankins
Kate Waits
Michael Block
Barbara-Anne Eddy
Leah Greenwald
Stephen Lebowitz
Bruce Seymour
Ron Trigueiro
Season 6 (November 6–17, 1989)
Winner: Tom Cubbage (also won Season 5 College Championship)
1st runner-up: Rich Lerner ($15,500)
2nd runner-up: Brian Wangsgard (Season 5 biggest winner)
Bruce Cox
Peggi Malys
Mark McDermott
Eric Newhouse
Ouida Rellstab
Cigus Vanni
Cathy Boggs
Jeff Richmond
Joel Sacks
Chris Shea
Yael Sofaer
Jim Tompkins-MacLaine
ABC's Super Jeopardy (June 16–September 8, 1990)
Winner: Bruce Seymour
1st runner-up: Bob Verini
2nd runner-up: Dave Traini
Bob Blake
Eugene Finerman
Eric Newhouse
Jeff Richmond
Roger Storm
Keith Walker
Keith Bell
Elise Beraru
Ron Black
Cathy Boggs
Liz Caccese
Burns Cameron
Tom Cubbage
Bruce Fauman
Chuck Forrest
Gary Giardina
Lionel Goldbart
Sandy Gore
Leah Greenwald
Rich Lerner
Mark Lowenthal
Peggi Malys
Bruce Naegeli
Richard Perez-Peña
Michael Rankins
Ouida Rellstab
Steve Rogitz
Paul Rouffa
Zeke Sevilla Jr.
Yael Sofaer
Frank Spangenberg
Kate Waits
Brian Wangsgard
Season 7 (November 5–16, 1990)
Winner: Bob Blake
1st runner-up: Larry McKnight
2nd runner-up: Steve Berman
Jeff Bandman
Andrew Bernknopf
Erik Larsen
Ofc. Frank Spangenberg (Season 6 biggest winner)
Eric Terzuolo
Jamie Weiss
Lisa Guay
Dan Katz
Richard Neale
George Soule
Michael Thayer
Elaine Zollner
Season 8 (November 4–15, 1991)
Winner: Jim Scott
1st runner-up: Steve Robin ($12,600)
2nd runner-up: Lou Pryor ($9,700)
Mark Born (Season 7 biggest winner)
Leslie Frates
Scott Gillispie
Jonathan Jacobs
Lois Kurowski
Mark Pestronk
Sara Cox
Tom Halpern
Bruce Ikawa
John LeDonne
Andy Westney
Lynne Wexler
Season 9 (November 9–20, 1992)
Winner: Leszek Pawlowicz
1st runner-up: Bruce Simmons
2nd runner-up: Jerome Vered (Season 8 biggest winner)
India Cooper
Kirk Ditzler
Richard Kaplan
April McManus
Leonard Schmidt
Robert Slaven
Billy Baxter
Ofc. Frank Epstein
John Kelly, RET USAF
Steve Newman
Dave Willis
Phil Yellman
Season 10 (November 15–26, 1993)
Winner: Tom Nosek
1st runner-up: Bev Schwartzberg ($19,100)
2nd runner-up: Marilyn Kneeland ($11,500)
Dennis Donohue
Phoebe Juel
Jack Mahoney
Leslie Miller
Ed Schiffer (Season 9 biggest winner)
Walt Senterfitt
Debby Arnold
Al Lin
Linda Shepard
Diane Siegel
David Tiemann
Fraser Woodford
10th Anniversary Tournament (November 29–December 3, 1993)
Winner: Frank Spangenberg ($41,800)
1st runner-up: Tom Nosek ($13,600)
2nd runner-up: Leslie Frates
Lionel Goldbart
Roy Holliday
Mark McDermott
Doug Molitor
Steve Rogitz
Robert Slaven
[no quarterfinals]
Season 11 (November 14–25, 1994)
Winner: Rachael Schwartz
1st runner-up: Jeff Stewart ($20,800)
2nd runner-up: David Hillinck ($7,500)
Kurt Bray
Steve Chernicoff (Season 10 biggest winner)
John Cuthbertson
Jean Grewe
Brian Moore
Bill Pitassy
Amy Fine
Fred Frank
Matt Morris
Tom Nichols
Bart Thomas
David Venderbush
Season 12 (November 13–24, 1995)
Winner: Ryan Holznagel[7]
1st runner-up: David Siegel (Season 11 biggest winner, $24,600)
2nd runner-up: Isaac Segal ($16,600)
Bruce Borchardt
Jonathan Groff
Paul Thompson (Season 12 biggest winner)
Jim Vercolen
Gordon Wean
Matt Zielenski
Aaron Klein
Len Krisak
Ben Lyon
John McKeon
Jim Morgan
Linda Roberts
Season 13 (November 18–29, 1996)
Winner: Michael Dupée
1st runner-up: Bob Scarpone ($11,000)
2nd runner-up: Michael Daunt[8] ($8,200)
Bill Dickenson
Amanda Goad
Mary Hirschfeld
Bill Sloan
Beverly Spurs
Shane Whitlock
Bernie Cullen
David Cuneo
Lucien Schmidt
Brad Plovan
David Sampugnaro
Barbara Walker
Season 14 (February 2–13, 1998)
Winner: Dan Melia (Season 14 biggest winner)
1st runner-up: Kim Worth (Season 13 biggest winner)
2nd runner-up: Bob Harris
Sahir Islam
Lyn Payne
Claudia Perry
Fred Ramen
Peter Scott
Grace Veach
Craig Barker
Josh Den Hartog
Paul Gutowski
Pam Mifflin
Arthur Phillips
Wes Ulm
Season 15 (February 8–19, 1999)
Winner: David Abbott
1st runner-up: J.J. Todor ($20,600)
2nd runner-up: Juliet Wiley
David Bagley (Season 15 biggest winner)
Dan Girard
Pat Healy
Lance Johnson
Andrew Maly
John Skelton
James Arey
Andrew Hutchings
Lara Robillard
Chris Ward
Carolyn White
Melizza Zygmunt
Season 16 (May 8–19, 2000); taped at the Atlanta Civic Center in Atlanta, Georgia
Winner: Robin Carroll[9]
1st runner-up: Jeremy Bate
2nd runner-up: Steve Fried
Mike Blumenfeld
Carolyn Cracraft
Terry Currin
Chacko George
Michael Rooney
Eddie Timanus
Jack Archey
Lee Lassiter
Darlene Lieblich
Helen Petroff
Melissa Sexstone
Janet Wong
Season 18 (October 22–November 2, 2001)
Winner: Brad Rutter
1st runner-up: Tad Carithers
2nd runner-up: Rick Knutsen
Larry Cloud
Lan Djang
Mark Eckard
Ryan Moore
Pam Mueller
Babu Srinivasan (Season 17 biggest winner)
Michael Arnone
Michelle Clum
Bob Fleenor
Andrew Garen
Kevin Keach
Doug Lach (Season 16 biggest winner)
Million Dollar Masters Tournament (May 1–14, 2002) taped at the Radio City Music Hall in New York City, New York
Winner: Brad Rutter
1st runner-up: Eric Newhouse
2nd runner-up: Bob Verini
India Cooper
Chuck Forrest
Leslie Frates
Bob Harris
Claudia Perry
Leslie Shannon (Miller)
Robin Carroll
Rachael Schwartz
Frank Spangenberg
Babu Srinivasan
Eddie Timanus
Kate Waits
Season 19 (May 5–16, 2003)
Winner: Mark Dawson
1st runner-up: Brian Weikle (Season 19 biggest winner, $56,601)
2nd runner-up: Eric Floyd (Season 18 biggest winner)
Alan Bailey
Mark Brown
Jill Bunzendahl Chimka
Max Levaren
Trevor Norris
Travis Troyer
Kathy Cassity
Kyle Hale
Jackie Harrison
Mark Lee
Jason McCune
Ben Tritle
Season 21 (September 20–October 1, 2004)
Winner: Russ Schumacher
1st runner-up: Tom Walsh
2nd runner-up: Arthur Gandolfi
Seth Alcorn
Tom Baker
Anne Boyd
Vinita Kailasanath
Chris Miller
Steve Reynolds
John Beck
Sam Ott
Scott "Renzo" Renzoni
Sean Ryan
Jim Stalley
Keith Williams
Season 21 Ultimate Tournament of Champions (February 9–May 25, 2005)
Winner: Brad Rutter
1st runner-up: Ken Jennings (Season 20 & 21 biggest winner)
2nd runner-up: Jerome Vered
John Cuthbertson
Chris Miller
Pam Mueller
Frank Spangenberg
Stephen Chernicoff
Michael Daunt
Lan Djang
April McManus
Dan Melia
Brian Moore
Michael Rooney
Robert Slaven
Grace Veach
Shane Whitlock
Phil Yellman
Matt Zielenski
Season 22 (May 8–19, 2006)
Winner: Michael Falk
1st runner-up: Vik Vaz
2nd runner-up: Bill MacDonald
David Madden
Kevin Marshall
Bob Mesko
Jason Richards
Aaron Thompson
Maria Wenglinsky
Kerry Breitenbach
Doug Dorst
Kermin Fleming
Tom Kavanaugh (Season 22 biggest winner)
Nico Martinez
David Rozenson
Season 24 (November 5–16, 2007)
Winner: Celeste DiNucci[10]
1st runner-up: Doug Hicton
2nd runner-up: Cliff Galiher
Paul Glaser
Christian Haines
Chris Mazurek
Susan Mitchell
Jeff Spoeri
Craig Westphal
Mehrun Etebari (Season 23 biggest winner)
Cathy Lanctot
Andrew Rostan
Nick Swezey
Sara Terrell
Steve Unite
Season 25 (March 11–24, 2009); taped at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada
Winner: Dan Pawson
1st runner-up: Larissa Kelly (Season 24 biggest winner)
2nd runner-up: Aaron Schroeder
Ben Bishop
Matt Kohlstedt
Cora Peck
Dave Simpson
Donna Vogel
Mark Wales
Carl Brandt
Deborah Fitzgerald
Lisa Klink
Tom Morris
Erik Nelson
Jim Stevens
Season 26 (May 10–21, 2010)
Winner: Vijay Balse
1st runner-up: Jason Zollinger (Season 26 biggest winner)
2nd runner-up: Stefan Goodreau
Dave Belote
Justin Bernbach (Season 25 biggest winner)
Terry Linwood
Liz Murphy
Andy Srinivasan
Nick Yozamp
Joey Beachum
Ryan Chaffee
Regina Robbins
Patrick Tucker
Christine Valada
Stephen Weingarten
Season 28 (November 2–15, 2011)
Winner: Roger Craig
1st runner-up: Tom Nissley (Season 27 biggest winner)
2nd runner-up: Buddy Wright
Erin McLean
Joon Pahk
Jay Rhee
Mark Runsvold
Justin Sausville
Kara Spak
John Krizel
Tom Kunzen
Paul Kursky
Brian Meacham
Christopher Short
Charles Temple
Season 29 (February 13–26, 2013) presented by Prudential
Winner: Colby Burnett (also won Season 29 Teachers Tournament)
1st runner-up: Keith Whitener
2nd runner-up: Kristin Morgan
Stephanie Jass
Jason Keller (Season 28 biggest winner)
Dave Leach
Dan McShane
Paul Nelson
Jason Shore
David Gard
David Menchaca
Joel Pool
Ashok Poozhikunnel
Patrick Quinn
Monica Thieu
Season 30 Battle of the Decades (February 3–May 16, 2014)
Winner: Brad Rutter
1st runner-up: Ken Jennings
2nd runner-up: Roger Craig
Colby Burnett
Tom Cubbage
Chuck Forrest
Pam Mueller
Leszek Pawlowicz
Russ Schumacher
Robin Carroll
Mark Dawson
Mark Lowenthal
Tom Nosek
Dan Pawson
Rachael Schwartz
Season 31 (November 10–21, 2014)
Winner: Ben Ingram (Season 29 biggest winner)
1st runner-up: Arthur Chu
2nd runner-up: Julia Collins (Season 30 biggest winner)
Sandie Baker
Joshua Brakhage
Jared Hall
Mark Japinga
Terry O'Shea
Rebecca Rider
Jim Coury
Drew Horwood
Sarah McNitt
Andrew Moore
John Pearson
Rani Peffer
Season 32 (November 9-20, 2015)
1st runner-up:
2nd runner-up:
Michael Bilow
Brennan Bushee
Dan Feitel
Jennifer Giles
Kerry Greene
Catherine Hardee
Andrew Haringer
Darren Harris-Fain
Alex Jacob
Matt Jackson
Scott Lord
Kristin Sausville
John Schultz
Greg Seroka (Season 31 biggest winner)
Vaughn Winchell
Elliot Yates

References and notes[edit]

  1. ^ Wallenstein, Andrew (2008-01-08). "Sony TV gets celebs' help in digital push". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2008-01-09. 
  2. ^ Eisenberg, Harry (1993). Inside "Jeopardy!": What Really Goes on at TV's Top Quiz Show. Salt Lake City, Utah: Northwest Publishing Inc. p. 75. ISBN 1-56901-177-X. Alex put together the two week, fifteen player format used on the current show. We had 15 undefeated five-time champions the first season. In subsequent seasons we never had as many as 15 five-game winners so we added those four-game winners with the highest scores until we had the requisite 15 contestants for the Tournament. 
  3. ^ Most episodes from the Art Fleming era of Jeopardy! do not survive, so there is no video record of these Tournament of Champions games; paper records indicating the players may be found in the NBC Master Books daily broadcast log, available on microfilm at the Library of Congress Motion Picture and Television Reading Room. A summary of those records may be found here. A listing of Jeopardy! Grand Champions, 1968–74, may be found in Fabe, Maxene (1979). TV Game Shows. Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company. p. 13. ISBN 0-385-13052-X. 
  4. ^ "Swarthmore’s ‘Jeopardy!’ Hall of Fame". 2014-07. Retrieved 2014-08-18.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  5. ^ A Piece of "Jeopardy!" Trivia - Sony Pictures
  6. ^ (last name uncertain; may be Gurman or Corman)
  7. ^ Ryan Holznagel later represented the United States in the 1996 International Tournament, losing in the semifinals.
  8. ^ Michael Daunt represented Canada in the 1997 International Tournament in Sweden, and won.
  9. ^ Robin Carroll later represented the United States in the 2001 International Tournament in Las Vegas, and won.
  10. ^ Celeste DiNucci won a tie breaker against Christian Haines in the second semifinal game.

External links[edit]