Claudia Fennell ’24
Voted most likely to compete on Jeopardy! in the eighth grade by her classmates, Amy Schneider, a 43-year-old from Dayton, OH, amassed a 40-game winning streak during her recent appearances on Jeopardy!. She won her first game on the episode that aired Nov. 17, 2021, where she beat out Andrew He, who at the time had a five-day winning streak. In the 14 games that followed, Schneider only missed one “Final Jeopardy” question. Despite the incredible intelligence and kindness that Schneider showed on air, she received hate comments online for being a transgender woman. However, Schneider ignored the online trolls and continued her reign of success on the show, amassing a total prize of over $1.3 million.
On her final episode, which aired on Jan. 26, Schneider ended her winning streak with a grand total of 40 wins. This feat places her in second place for the most consecutive wins in the history of Jeopardy!. Matt Amodio previously held the second-place spot, with a grand total of a 38-game streak. Schneider was thrilled that she was able to achieve her goal of reaching the second-place spot and was hopeful about eventually winning first place, a spot currently held by Ken Jennings with a record of 74 consecutive game wins.
Towards the end of her winning streak, Schneider began to feel that the show was straining her mind and body. The life of a long-time Jeopardy!-winning contestant can be extremely taxing. The show tapes each week’s episodes—five in total—in one day, which makes for a tiring and stressful experience. Schneider reported to the New York Times that during her time on the show, she flew from her home base in Oakland, CA, to the Jeopardy! set at the start of every week. After taping the week’s episodes in one day, she would return to her hotel and “just sit and do nothing for an hour or so to give her brain a break.” In an interview she gave on the day that she finally lost her streak, she emphasized that “the fatigue of this taping was really starting to add up.”
Schneider was beat by a librarian from Chicago named Rhone Talsma. During the episode, she was performing well as usual, with a score far ahead of her competitors, until her opponents started to notice that she was choosing clues with lower price values. When “Final Jeopardy” came around, Schneider was ahead of Talsma by only $10,000, which was rare for her because she usually went into “Final Jeopardy” already certain of winning. The “Final Jeopardy” category was geography, and the prompt was to name the only nation in the English language that ends in the letter “h.” Contestants were given the hint that this nation is one of the world’s top ten most populous countries. Schneider was not able to come up with an answer to the question, whereas Talsma correctly responded with, “What is Bangladesh?” This “Final Jeopardy” question solidified Talsma’s victory, thus ending Schneider’s winning streak.
While Schneider reported that playing Jeopardy! was one of the best experiences of her life, she has also emphasized that she is glad to be rid of the stress that the show brought upon her life. She added that she was excited to return home and continue living with her fiancée, Genevieve, and their cat named Meep. Notably, on Feb. 25, Schneider took to Twitter to announce that she and Genevieve are engaged and looking forward to sharing an incredible life together.
Needless to say, the answer to the question of Schneider’s post-Jeopardy life is, “What is ‘a happy ending’?”