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article imageBen Ingram wins JEOPARDY! Tournament of Champions

By Earl Dittman     Nov 21, 2014 in Entertainment
Taking home $250,000, the I.T. consultant from Florence, S.C. won the 'JEOPARDY!' Tournament of Champions today after a two-day final against fellow former champions Arthur Chu and Julia Collins.
“I wanted to play my best and I definitely wanted to win, but mostly it was just about having fun,” said Ben Ingram, an I.T. consultant from Florence, S.C. “This is a game I’ve known and loved for quite literally as long as I can remember, and to be able to play it again was reward enough.”
Garnering $250,000, Ingram, who won eight consecutive games during his initial JEOPARDY! run in Season 29, prevailed over two of the few JEOPARDY! champs with longer winnings streaks than his: Julia Collins (Kenilworth, Ill.), who won 20 games in Season 30, is 2nd on the all-time consecutive wins list, while Arthur Chu (Broadview Heights, Ohio) won 11 games in Season 30, placing him 4th on the list.
“When I won, I was bewildered, and my fellow champions came to mind first,” said Ingram. “We had all worked awfully hard and played well, and my first thought was: ‘How did that happen to me, of all people?’ It wasn’t until I looked up at the scoreboard and saw the big $250,000 under my name that it really sank in.”
JEOPARDY! Tournament Of Champions contestants Ben Ingram  Arthur Chu and Julia Collins
JEOPARDY! Tournament Of Champions contestants Ben Ingram, Arthur Chu and Julia Collins
Jeopardy Productions Inc
Ingram had the lead after the first day of the two-day finals: going into the second match, he had $25,600 to Chu’s $15,600 and Collins’ $6,400. Even though he (and Chu) both answered the Final Jeopardy! clue, in the category of Shakespearean Geography, incorrectly, Ingram’s savvy wagering in both games secured his victory.
“I’d pinned a lot of hopes on that Shakespeare Final Jeopardy!,” Chu said. “And I was really, really upset with myself for not getting it — I think it’s the first time I can remember ever not getting a Shakespeare clue on JEOPARDY!. But I did also realize going up to it that it wasn’t looking good for me — that overconfident $10,000 Final Jeopardy! bet on Day One hosed me.”
“Final Jeopardy!’s a critical part of the game and Ben’s really good at teasing out those tough Final Jeopardy! clues, a skill I was never able to get much better at even with practice,” he continued. “The best man won — I’m still very happy to have gotten six figures for two days’ worth of work, and I can say that I made Ben run for his money. Going into Final Jeopardy! both days with the lead is worth bragging about, even if Final Jeopardy! itself was repeatedly my downfall.”
Ben Ingram  winner of JEOPARDY! Tournament Of Champions
Ben Ingram, winner of JEOPARDY! Tournament Of Champions
Jeopardy Productions Inc.
Collins, who was in danger of being eliminated from the tournament after her quarterfinal match and advanced to the next round in a wildcard spot, battled illness throughout the competition and was relieved to make it to the finals.
“I had felt confident I could make it into the finals in the months leading up to the tournament, but feeling so sick and losing my quarterfinal game made me adjust my expectations; I just wanted to give the semifinals my best effort,” Collins said. “I don’t think you can be very successful on the show if you’re not confident in your ability to win, and I’m no exception. So, in the finals, I had come to terms with not being able to play as well as I’d hoped, but I still tried to give it my best. I was just thrilled to be up there playing. I felt like the three of us were well-matched, and it was really fun to play against those guys.”
JEOPARDY!, America’s Favorite Quiz Show and its host, Alex Trebek, began their 31st season September 15, 2014. The top-ranked game show among homes with 25 million viewers each week, JEOPARDY! holds the Guinness World Records title for the most Emmy Awards won by a TV game show (31 Emmys), including the 2014 Emmy for Outstanding Game Show. In 2014, JEOPARDY! won the inaugural Writers Guild of America award for Outstanding Writing for Quiz and Audience Participation; it is also the recipient of a 2011 Peabody Award. For more information, please visit Jeopardy.com.
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