‘Jeopardy!’: Amy Schneider Speaks on Facing Matt Amodio in Tournament of Champions

by TK Sanders

Closing in on a ridiculous 40 seasons, Jeopardy! still enjoys some serious cultural cache; especially when exceptionally strong players start breaking records. If you stopped watching when legendary host Alex Trebek passed away in 2020, or just haven’t watched in a while, it’s time to give Jeopardy! another shot.

Reigning champion Amy Schneider, an engineering manager from Oakland, secured her 38th straight win last Friday. Tonight (Monday), she has a chance to break Matt Amodio’s win streak for second all-time on the consecutive wins list. The moment isn’t lost on Schneider, who spoke to Good Morning America today about the pressure and opportunity.

“When I first started [on Jeopardy!], I wasn’t sure if I might be going up against Matt Amodio. And I was really hoping I wouldn’t. Now, it turns out I’m going to have to anyways,” Schneider said. “So it’s going to be really challenging… a lot of strong players there. But it should be a lot of fun.”

Schneider will face top players in the Tournament of Champions

When Schneider was originally vying for a spot on the long-running show last year, Amodio, a Ph.D. candidate at Yale, was cranking out his own massive win streak. Schneider thought she may have to face him during his own run; but he eventually lost after 38 wins, and now she has a chance to break that record just months after Amodio set it.

Schneider’s prowess as a contestant has already guaranteed her invitation to the next Tournament of Champions. There, she will face Amodio in some capacity, either in a bracket round or later in the competition. Therefore, she will get her chance to tango with the second place record-holder at some point, regardless of outcome tonight.

Most players invited to the Tournament of Champions won around six or seven games during the prior season. The next tournament will showcase at least two massive winners in Schneider and Amodio, who both won significantly more games than the average winner. Amodio took home more than $1.5 million in total prize money. Schneider has banked about $1.3 million thus far in her run. But she can continue to earn if she keeps winning.

“I’m definitely looking forward to it; I’m also a little bit intimidated by it,” Schneider admitted when asked about facing Amodio soon.

As for her own success, Schneider sounded humble discussing her winning streak. “I’m not really sure about a lot of it; I never really expected to do this well. But I think the main secret is just being curious and spending my life learning a lot of stuff.”

Apparently, Schneider’s high school classmates once voted her “Most Likely to Appear on Jeopardy!” In response, Schneider laughed and said she “was good in school” and even won the spelling bee.

“So I did expect to be on Jeopardy and do alright,” she added, “I just never expected to do quite this well.”

Rotating Jeopardy! host Ken Jennings holds the consecutive win record with an astonishing 74 game run.