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Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Christi Carras

Amy Schneider's historic 'Jeopardy!' reign has ended — thanks to this question

After 41 games played, more than 1,200 correct responses given and $1,382,800 won, Amy Schneider's historic "Jeopardy!" reign has finally come to a close.

On Wednesday, the software engineering manager from Oakland, California, lost to Rhone Talsma, a Chicago librarian who ended the trailblazing champion's 40-day winning streak. Talsma's victory comes just two games after Schneider achieved the second-longest run in "Jeopardy!" history.

"I had thought that Rhone was going to be tough going into it," Schneider said in a statement.

"I loved hanging out with him, we had great conversation before the taping, but I could tell that he was here to play and that he was going to be good," she added. "I still came very close to winning, but I did feel like maybe I was slipping a little bit. And once it was clear that he was fast on the buzzer, I knew it was going to be a battle all the way."

Though Schneider led Talsma $27,600 to $17,600 heading into Wednesday's Final Jeopardy! round, the gap wasn't big enough for a runaway win. It all came down to the last clue: "The only nation in the world whose name in English ends in an H. It's also one of the 10 most populous."

Talsma added $12,000 to his score for a total of $29,600 by providing the correct response, "What is Bangladesh?," while Schneider drew a blank, dropping her tally to $19,600.

"I'm still in shock," Talsma said in a statement. "This is my favorite show. … I was so excited to be here, and I just wanted to do my best. 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."

During her groundbreaking "Jeopardy! stint, Schneider made history as the first woman and the first trans person to amass $1 million on the long-running quiz show.

As of Wednesday, she boasts the fifth-highest total ever, including tournament winnings. And she hasn't even participated in a tournament yet — though she's slated to compete against fellow "Jeopardy!" hall-of-famer Matt Amodio in the series' upcoming Tournament of Champions.

On Monday, Schneider surpassed Amodio's 38-day winning streak and moved into second place behind only Ken Jennings, the greatest "Jeopardy!" player of all time. Jennings, who is serving as interim host of "Jeopardy!" after the death of Alex Trebek, won a colossal 74 consecutive games as a contestant in 2004.

"It's really been an honor," Schneider said in Wednesday's statement.

"To know that I'm one of the most successful people at a game I've loved since I was a kid and to know that I'm a part of its history now, I just don't know how to process it."


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