‘Jeopardy!’: Amy Schneider Takes the Top Spot in ‘Tournament of Champions’

by Craig Garrett
(Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for iHeartRadio)

Amy Schneider won the “Jeopardy!” Tournament of Champions on Monday, defeating opponents Andrew He and Sam Buttrey in a best-of-three series. She released a statement describing her feelings after the impressive win. “I feel amazing,” Schneider said. “Earlier in the finals, I had this sudden moment of seeing myself and being like, ‘I’m on stage in the Tournament of Champions finals,’ and that was crazy. And I won! It’s a great feeling.”

Fox News reports that heading into Monday’s game, the sixth of a possible seven-game series, Schneider and He were each tied with two wins. Buttrey won Friday’s game, continuing the intense competition. The tournament, which included 21 contestants who had all won at least four games in 2020, was made up of winners of the National College Championship, the Professors Tournament and the game show’s first Second Chance faceoff.

Out of the three finalists, Schneider (a writer from Oakland, California), He (a San Francisco software developer), and Buttrey (an associate professor of operations research at the Naval Postgraduate School in Pacific Grove, California) all had hopes of winning the grand prize money amounting to $250,000.

Amy Schneider and He met for the second time last November, with Schneider putting an end to He’s five-game winning streak. Buttrey made history in December when he became the first person to win $100,000 in the Professor’s Tournament.

Amy Schneider edged out some tough competition

Before the last Jeopardy question on Monday, He only trailed Schneider by $1,400. However, it all came down to wagers and who knew the correct answer in the category “Plays”: The January 12, 1864 Washington Evening Star reported on a performance of this “dashing comedy” to “a full and delighted house.” 

Buttrey wrongly guessed “Our Mutual Friend” and bet it all, losing his $8,000 prize. He’s correct answer of “Our American Cousin” increased his pot to $17,001. Amy Schneider not only knew the answer, but her bet of $13,000 won her first place in the tournament along with the grand prize. Buttrey won third place and received $50,000 while He took second, winning double that amount at $100,000.

“I have people all the time being like, ‘Oh, you’re going to crush it,'” Schneider told USA Today. “And I’m like, ‘That’s really not helping me out, actually.’ I went there (trying) to win. I definitely thought that I was capable of it, but I really just I didn’t know.”

Schneider said that she prepared for her second appearance on the show in the same manner as she did for her first. “[I’m] just going through old games and looking for things I didn’t know. I did practice writing down Final Jeopardy! answers, because the act of writing it down had thrown me off. I was just visualizing all of the scenarios that might happen.”

Schneider is the tournament’s first openly transgender winner. “[I’m] going to keep going out there and being me,” she said. “Being in places where people like me haven’t been before, it’s a very powerful thing to do.”