Amy Schneider’s historic 40-win Jeopardy! streak broken by new champ

Amy Schneider’s dazzling Jeopardy! streak is over, when the groundbreaking champion was finally defeated after 40 consecutive wins and about $1.4m in prize money.

Earlier this week, Schneider became the second-longest running champion in the game’s history. Her success put her in the ranks of Ken Jennings, who is serving as guest host, and the quiz show’s other all-time greats. It also made Schneider, a trans woman, a visible symbol of achievement for often-marginalized people.

“It’s still a little hard to believe,” she said of her impressive run. “It’s something that I’m going to be remembered for, and that’s pretty great.”

New champ Rhone Talsma, a Chicago librarian, had the correct response to the final Jeopardy! clue for a winning total of $29,600.

“I’m still in shock,” Talsma said in a statement. “I did not expect to be facing a 40-day champion and I was excited to maybe see someone else slay the giant. I just really didn’t think it was going to be me, so I’m thrilled.”

The answer that stumped Schneider was about countries of the world: The only nation whose name in English ends in an “h” and which is also one of the 10 most populous. (The answer: “What is Bangladesh?”)

Schneider, an engineering manager from Oakland, California, scored her 39th win on Monday night, giving her the second-longest winning streak of any contestant. Since November, she has won about $1.3m, making her the first woman and fourth person to win more than $1m on the show. She has also become the first transgender person to qualify for Jeopardy’s Tournament of Champions, an annual event with the game’s top players.

She was braced for her streak to end, she told the Associated Press.

“I had a feeling my time was winding down, even though it didn’t look that way in the scores,” Schneider said.

In an interview with the New York Times, Schneider added: “The fatigue of this taping was really starting to add up.”

Schneider was also admired for increasing LGBTQ+ visibility and for her measured handling of anti-trans critics.

“The best outcome of all of this always is going to be whatever help I’ve been able to offer the trans community,” Schneider said. “I’m here because of the sacrifices countless trans people have made, often to the extent of risking their lives. To do my part to move that cause forward, it’s really special.”

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