Of the major-streak winners in the last season of Jeopardy!, only Amy Schneider emerged victorious after the initial rounds of the latest Tournament of Champions. And on Monday night, she competes against San Francisco's own Andrew He, and Professors Tournament winner Sam Buttrey of Pacific Grove.
Amy Schneider was not the only hometown hero on Jeopardy! in the last year, as it turns out, but she is the one who won the most money, most games, and garnered the most attention from her 40-game streak, which concluded in late January.
Since winning on the show, Schneider quit her software job and started writing a book, and she landed an invitation to the White House where she took a few questions in the Press Briefing Room on Transgender Day of Visibility in March.
When asked what she hoped to accomplish with her White House visit, Schneider said, "Just the same thing that I’ve been accomplishing which is just, again, being a trans person out there that isn’t monstrous, that isn’t threatening, and is just a normal person like we all are. So the more people like me can be seen, the harder it is to sustain the myths that are kind of driving a lot of this hate and fear."
Schneider left her regular-game streak as the winningest female contestant in the show's history, and one of its highest take-home cash winners with $1,382,800.
The Chronicle points to the triumvirate of Northern California smarties who are now in the Finals of the Tournament of Champions — capping off a fairly extraordinary season of streaks that included Schneider's and Matt Amodio's before her.
And as the Jeopardy! Facebook page notes, Buttrey, Schneider, and He represent three generations of player — a Baby Boomer, a Gen-Xer, and a Millennial.
Andrew He had his own, more modest five-game streak last fall, and he was actually knocked off the show with Schneider's first win. He's a software engineer, and in the semi-finals of the tournament last week he knocked off Canadian champ Mattea Roach, who earlier this year had a 23-game streak. He won another $37,863 in the game that aired Friday, thanks to a couple of bold Daily Double bets.
Sam Buttrey is associate professor of operations research at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, and lives in Pacific Grove, as he's said on the show. As the Chronicle reports, via an interview last fall with Monterey County Weekly, Buttrey says he's watched the show since he was a child, and he and his wife still watch it "constantly."
"My training is in statistics," Buttrey said. "My wife helps me to train with ballet, arts and opera. I’m more of a science guy."
The Tournament of Champions will last a minimum of three games, but could go up to seven, with the first player to three wins taking the grand prize of $250,000. Jeopardy! airs in the Bay Area at 7 p.m.