Briefing

Who will win the 2022 Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions?

For every giant, there's a giant killer…

Since 2021, there have been an unusual number of all-time great Jeopardy! champions, and now several of them are about to go head-to-head for the first time in one of the quiz show's most highly-anticipated tournaments ever. Who will win the 2022 Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions? Here's what you need to know: 

What is … a clash of the titans?

Even putting aside all that hosting chaos, it's been a dramatic year-and-a-half on Jeopardy!, during which time the show has had several "super champions" in fairly short succession. In fact, three of the top five Jeopardy! players of all time have emerged just since July 2021. Beginning Oct. 31, Jeopardy! will air its 2022 Tournament of Champions, with these all-time great players set to face off. The winner will receive $250,000. 

All eyes are on three champions, in particular: Matt Amodio, Amy Schneider, and Mattea Roach, who are so unbelievably good at Jeopardy! that the show has automatically advanced them to the semifinals. The tournament will begin with six quarterfinal games, the winners of which advance to a semifinal match with either Amodio, Schneider, or Roach. The three winners of those matches will then advance to the finals. The finals will follow the same format as the 2020 "Greatest of All Time" tournament: The first to win three games becomes the champion, meaning there will be at least three matches, and possibly as many as seven. 

Fans are widely assuming the finals will consist of Amodio, Schneider, and Roach, though it's always possible one of them stumbles in their semifinal match. Just in case that happens, Jeopardy! has scheduled what the show is describing as a "friendly warm-up game" between Amodio, Schneider, and Roach on Nov. 8. This "special exhibition game" won't be part of the competition, but it will ensure we'll at least get to see the "big three" face off no matter what — though that's the night of the midterm elections, so the game may be preempted in your market.

So, who will win the tournament? Let's take a look at the field with a focus on the six players who seem most likely to triumph and compare data from their games (which, unless otherwise stated, comes courtesy of Jeopardy.com). 

We'll be comparing the players based on a few main stats, including number of games won, average amount of money earned, and what's known as the "Coryat score." The fan website J-Archive explains that in the Jeopardy! world, a Coryat score refers to a player's score "if all wagering is disregarded." 

6. Andrew He

  • Games won: 5
  • Average score: $28,627
  • Average Coryat score: $21,533
  • Total winnings: $157,365
  • Quarterfinal game: Nov. 1

Andrew He, a software developer from San Francisco, might be the biggest dark horse going into the tournament. 

He won five consecutive games in November 2021, so it might seem strange to identify him as one of the top contenders. But He likely would have gone on a far longer run had he not been unlucky enough to have to face Amy Schneider, who proceeded to have the second-longest Jeopardy! winning streak of all time, during her first game in November 2021. 

Looking at his stats, though, He had an average score during his run of $28,627, the third-best of anyone in the tournament behind only Amy Schneider and Matt Amodio. It's also worth noting He really gave Schneider a run for her money during that first game. He was actually ahead of her going into Final Jeopardy! by more than $7,000, meaning if he got the question right, he would have beat Schneider and continued his streak. 

So if there's anyone out of the consensus top five players who has the best chance of shocking the world and winning the tournament, watch out for He — and prepare for a potential Schneider rematch. 

5. Jonathan Fisher

  • Games won: 11 
  • Average score: $22,042
  • Average Coryat score: $20,167
  • Total winnings: $246,100
  • Quarterfinal game: Nov. 1

The first of five "super champions" — generally defined as players who have won more than 10 consecutive games in regular-season play — is Jonathan Fisher, an actor from Florida. He's also what is known in the Jeopardy! world as a "giant killer," as he defeated another super champion, Matt Amodio, in October 2021 and ended his epic 38-game winning streak. So-called giant killers often don't go on to have long runs of their own, but Fisher did, winning 11 consecutive games.

During this time, Fisher had an average score of $22,042, the 10th best of anyone in the tournament, and an average Coryat score of $20,167, the seventh best. His average correct response percentage was also 89.8 percent, above seven of his competitors, though below the "big three" super champions. 

But Fisher may have his work cut out for him in the tournament, as he's been placed into a Nov. 1 quarterfinal match against a tough competitor: Andrew He. So it's easy to imagine Fisher making it to the semifinals and possibly having a rematch against Amodio, but that first game with He will be an absolute nail-biter. 

4. Ryan Long

  • Games won: 16 
  • Average score: $17,612
  • Average Coryat score: $16,788
  • Total winnings: $299,400
  • Quarterfinal game: Oct. 31

Another super champion is Ryan Long, a rideshare driver from Philadelphia. He won 16 consecutive games from May to June 2022, during which his average Coryat score was $16,788; for reference, the average Coryat scores of those in the tournament range from about $7,000 to $27,000. 

Long also had an average correct response percentage of 87.8, which is impressive but was actually the fourth lowest among the tournament's competitors. His big weakness during his original run was Final Jeopardy!, where his correct response rate was only 47.1 percent; he got Final Jeopardy! right eight times during his games but wrong nine times, so this definitely has the potential to cost Long in the tournament. But Long is still the ninth-best Jeopardy! player of all time based on consecutive games won, so he's very much in this thing. 

It's also worth noting that Long has been placed into a quarterfinal match on Oct. 31 against Maureen O'Neil and Megan Wachspress, the two players who have the lowest average Coryat scores of anyone in the tournament at $7,120 and $9,314, respectively. So advancing to the semifinals should be easier for Long than for some other players.  

3. Mattea Roach

  • Games won: 23 
  • Average score: $24,024
  • Average Coryat score: $20,275
  • Total winnings: $560,983
  • Semifinal game: Nov. 11

Mattea Roach, a 24-year-old Canadian tutor, went on a 23-game winning streak from April to May 2022, during which time they won $560,983. This makes Roach the fifth-best Jeopardy! player of all time both in terms of consecutive games won and highest winnings in regular-season play, so they're one of three players automatically entered into the semifinals. 

According to Jeopardy.com, Roach's average score was $24,024 during their run, the sixth highest of anyone in the tournament, while their average Coryat score was $20,275, also the sixth highest. They had an impressive average correct response percentage of 92, the seventh best among the TOC competitors, and got Final Jeopardy right 70.8 percent of the time, a better success rate than Amy Schneider. 

Roach is also one of the youngest Jeopardy! super champions, as they were just 23 during their run, and they became well-known for their expressive mannerisms. "The notion that Jeopardy!, which is a game show, is an environment where you should be expected to behave in a professional manner is odd to me," Roach told Vulture. "I remember saying to a friend, "I'm not going to court. I'm not going to a job interview. I'm going to a game show.'"

2. Matt Amodio

  • Games won: 38 
  • Average score: $39,082
  • Average Coryat score: $27,913
  • Total winnings: $1,518,601
  • Semifinal game: Nov. 10

Matt Amodio, a postdoctoral fellow from Ohio, went on an epic 38-game winning streak from July to October 2021, racking up $1.5 million. He's the third highest-ranked Jeopardy! player of all time in both consecutive games won and earnings during regular-season play. 

Amodio's average score during his run was $39,082, while his Coryat score was $27,913. Both of these are the best of anyone in the Tournament of Champions. His average correct response percentage was also 91.9 percent, the ninth best of the tournament, and he gave the correct Final Jeopardy! answer 74.4 percent of the time. 

Compared to Roach and Schneider, then, Amodio had the most consistent success on Final Jeopardy!, which should be a key asset in the tournament, where things often do come down to the final question. He was known during his run to utilize the strategy of jumping around the board to "hunt" for Daily Doubles and build up a large score early on, rather than simply selecting clues from top to bottom, and making large wagers. So anyone facing Amodio, including his fellow super champions, will likely have to utilize this strategy to keep up; if they don't, the tournament could be Amodio's to lose. 

1. Amy Schneider

  • Games won: 40 
  • Average score: $34,205
  • Average Coryat score: $26,946
  • Total winnings: $1,382,800
  • Semifinal game: Nov. 9 

It appears overwhelmingly likely the champion will be Amodio or Schneider, two absolutely dominant players. Between them, predicting the winner is a tough call, as they're both fairly evenly matched. 

Schneider is the second highest-ranked Jeopardy! player of all time, behind only Ken Jennings in terms of consecutive games won, as she went on an epic 40-game streak between November 2021 and January 2022 — though that's just two more games than Amodio. She won $1.3 million, making her the fourth highest-ranked player in terms of earnings, as she won a bit less than Amodio despite playing more games.

Schneider's average Coryat score was $26,946, which is slightly lower than Amodio's $27,913. Her average score was also $34,205, again a bit lower than Amodio's $39,082. But Schneider's average correct response percentage was 95 percent — higher than Amodio's 92 percent and the second highest of anyone in the tournament. 

According to TheJeopardyFan.com, Schneider also had significantly fewer of what the site dubs "unforced errors," e.g. moments when the player buzzes in to give an incorrect response and loses money; Schneider only had 54 of those throughout her run, while Amodio had 102. Also, about 85 percent of Schneider's games were runaways — meaning she was so far ahead that the other two players couldn't beat her in Final Jeopardy! — compared to 82 percent for Amodio, per TheJeopardyFan. 

That being said, TheJeopardyFan notes that Amodio was the first to buzz in 56 percent of the time compared to 52.7 percent for Schneider, and whoever is quicker on the buzzer could decide the whole tournament. Amodio was also stronger on Final Jeopardy! during his run, getting the question right 74 percent of the time to Schneider's 68 percent. 

Overall, Schneider may have a very slight edge over Amodio based on her higher average correct response percentage, but it could truly go either way, and Schneider's willingness to switch up her strategy by jumping around the board and hunting for Daily Doubles like Amodio will be crucial. 

Should Schneider win, she would make history as the first transgender person to win the Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions. In fact, she was the first transgender person to ever qualify for the Tournament of Champions. She also became the first woman to win $1 million on the show, and she visited the White House in March 2022 on International Transgender Day of Visibility. 

"I'm just really, really honored to be here and really grateful that this is being celebrated and that trans people are being celebrated in a place like this," she said at the time. 

The rest of the competitors 

It would be a rather enormous shock if anyone other than the six aforementioned players won the tournament — or really, anyone other than Roach, Amodio, or Schneider. That being said, there's always room for a big come-from-behind victory, so let's take a look at the rest of the field: 

Brian Chang

  • Games won: 7
  • Average score: $23,438
  • Average Coryat score: $16,800
  • Total winnings: $163,904
  • Quarterfinal game: Nov. 2

Chang, an attorney from Chicago, won a solid seven consecutive games in January 2021, including one memorable one that ended with a rare tiebreaker. Though he didn't have as long a run as the big three — he was defeated by Zach Newkirk, another Tournament of Champions contestant — he had an impressive 90.8 percent average correct response rate during his games. That's about on par with some of the tournament's super champions, so he's an underdog worth keeping an eye on. 

Courtney Shah

  • Games won:
  • Average score: $15,695
  • Average Coryat score: $11,650
  • Total winnings: $118,558
  • Quarterfinal game: Nov. 3

Courtney Shah, a community college instructor from Portland, also won seven games in June and July 2021, during which she had an average correct response percentage of 90.5 percent. One of her biggest strengths, though, is Final Jeopardy!: Her correct Final Jeopardy! response rate was 75 percent, the third highest of anyone in the tournament. So if Shah ends up in a match where it all comes down to the last question, she's in a strong position to win. 

Eric Ahasic

  • Games won: 6
  • Average score: $25,400
  • Average Coryat score: $20,514
  • Total winnings: $160,601
  • Quarterfinal game: Nov. 4 

Ahasic, a meteorologist from Minneapolis, is another so-called "giant killer," as he ended Ryan Long's 16-game winning streak in June 2022. Ahasic went on to win six consecutive games before being defeated by Megan Wachspress, who's also a Tournament of Champions contestant. 

But Ahasic's average score of $25,400 is the fourth highest of anyone in the tournament, higher than even Mattea Roach. He also had an average correct response percentage of 92.6 percent, which is slightly higher than both Roach and even Matt Amodio, so he's another possible dark horse winner. That being said, Ahasic ran into problems with Final Jeopardy! during his original run, as he only got the last question right two times in his seven games.  

Zach Newkirk 

  • Games won: 6
  • Average score: $18,896
  • Average Coryat score: $15,943
  • Total winnings: $124,871
  • Quarterfinal game: Nov. 7

Newkirk, an attorney from Virginia, won six consecutive games beginning in June 2020 and continuing in January 2021. Notably, though, his streak was interrupted because of COVID-19 travel restrictions, so he had to return in January 2021 to face Brian Chang, who at the time was a seven-time champion. Newkirk ended up defeating Chang by a slim margin, and he went on to win two more games. Could a Newkirk vs. Chang rematch be in the cards? 

Megan Wachspress 

  • Games won: 6
  • Average score: $9,658
  • Average Coryat score: $9,314
  • Total winnings: $60,603
  • Quarterfinal game: Oct. 31

Wachspress, an environmental attorney from California, won six consecutive games in June 2022 after beating six-time winner Eric Ahasic, who's also in the tournament. But she comes into the competition as an underdog considering she has the second lowest average Coryat score of this year's competitors, and her quarterfinal match will be a tough one, as she'll be pitted against 16-time champion Ryan Long. 

During her original run, TV Insider questioned whether Wachspress was the "luckiest Jeopardy! champion ever," especially after a game where she only won because another contestant's answer was deemed illegible. There was also a game where her opponent was ahead of her going into Final Jeopardy!, but she won with just $401 because they both got the question wrong and he wagered more. 

"I am well aware of how unbelievably lucky I am, how brilliant and quick my opponents have been, and how bizarre a run this has been," Wachspress tweeted in June while sharing her story about "somehow ending up in the ToC."

Tyler Rhode 

  • Games won: 5
  • Average score: $19,417
  • Average Coryat score: $15,767
  • Total winnings: $105,901
  • Quarterfinal game: Nov. 2 

Rhode, a start-up director from New York, racked up five wins in October and November 2021. He's on the lower end of the pack in terms of his Coryat score, but his average correct response percentage is more impressive: 92 percent, about on par with Matt Amodio and Mattea Roach. He'll have a tough quarterfinal match, though, as he's going up against Brian Chang. 

Jackie Kelly 

  • Games won: 4
  • Average score: $24,060
  • Average Coryat score: $18,080
  • Total winnings: $115,100
  • Quarterfinal game: Nov. 4 

Kelly, a pension calculation developer from North Carolina, won five games in March 2022, during which time she had a strong average score of $24,060, the fifth highest of anyone in the tournament. Despite winning fewer games, she also has a higher average Coryat score, $18,080, than Brian Chang and Ryan Long, among others.

Jaskaran Singh

  • Games won: 4
  • Average score: $24,000
  • Average Coryat score: $17,100
  • Total winnings: $250,000 (Tournament prize)
  • Quarterfinal game: Nov. 4 

Singh was the winner of the 2022 National College Championship, competing as a senior from the University of Texas at Austin and taking home a $250,000 prize. He had a strong average score during his four games of $24,000, and he also got every Final Jeopardy! question correct, making him the only person in the tournament to never miss this last question. Because Singh competed in a tournament, he only had the opportunity to play four games, so it's an open question how long of a streak he could have had in regular-season play. 

John Focht

  • Games won: 4
  • Average score: $22,160
  • Average Coryat score: $18,120
  • Total winnings: $103,800
  • Quarterfinal game: Nov. 3

Focht, a software team lead from El Paso, won four games in February 2021. His Coryat score, though, is one of the 10 best of the tournament, and he also had an impressive 92.7 percent average correct response percentage, the fifth best of all the players and placing him above Mattea Roach. 

Sam Buttrey 

  • Games won: 4
  • Average score: $21,100
  • Average Coryat score: $19,250
  • Total winnings: $100,000 (Tournament prize) 
  • Quarterfinal game: Nov. 7

Buttrey, an associate professor of operations research from the Naval Postgraduate School, was the winner of the 2021 Professors Tournament, meaning he didn't have the opportunity to win more than four games. But during the tournament, he had an impressive average correct response percentage of 96.1 percent, according to Jeopardy.com. That's actually the highest of anyone in the Tournament of Champions, even higher than Amy Schneider, though granted, he didn't have to play as many games as her. Still, don't sleep on Buttrey as a potential dark horse. 

Jessica Stephens

  • Games won: 4
  • Average score: $20,700
  • Average Coryat score: $14,800
  • Total winnings: $35,000 (Tournament prize) 
  • Quarterfinal game: Nov. 7

Stephens actually lost during her first game in October 2021, but to be fair, she had the unfortunate luck of going up against not only Matt Amodio, but also Jonathan Fisher. While Fisher ended up winning that game, it's easy to forget Stephens also beat Amodio, who came in third; she finished behind Fisher by just $401. 

So Stephens was brought back to compete in the show's Second Chance tournament, consisting of players who producers felt deserved another shot, and she was one of two winners, earning her a spot in the Tournament of Champions. While she didn't win that first game, she's still a "giant killer" in spirit. 

Rowan Ward

  • Games won: 4
  • Average score: $18,650
  • Average Coryat score: $20,400
  • Total winnings: $35,000 (Tournament prize) 
  • Quarterfinal game: Nov. 3

Rowan Ward, a chart caller, writer, and editor from Chicago, was the other winner of the Second Chance tournament, earning them a spot in the Tournament of Champions. Ward originally competed in August 2021 and gave Matt Amodio a run for his money; it was a rare Amodio game that was actually competitive, and Ward was even ahead of him at the end of the first round but lost in the end. 

After returning for the Second Chance tournament, Ward turned in an impressive performance, as their semifinal game and the first of two final games were both runaways. In the first final game, in fact, Ward racked up a whopping $32,000 Coryat score. That's higher than Amodio's Coryat in many of his games, and Ward's average Coryat score of $20,400 is the fifth best of anyone in the tournament, about on par with Mattea Roach. They're average score was $18,650, though in two of their four games, they ended up with $30,000 or more. But Ward also missed the Final Jeopardy! question in half their games, which threw off their average score, as they also made large wagers in both cases. 

"I just want round two against Matt Amodio," Ward said during the Second Chance tournament, and that very well may happen. 

Christine Whelchel

  • Games won: 4
  • Average score: $17,640
  • Average Coryat score: $15,280
  • Total winnings: $73,602
  • Quarterfinal game: Nov. 1 

Whelchel, a piano teacher and church organist from Spring Hill, won four games beginning in February 2022. She's a breast cancer survivor, and she made headlines during her games when she decided to stop wearing her wig. "I decided that I didn't need to hide behind a wig anymore, and I wanted to normalize what cancer recovery looks like," she said during the interview segment of the show. Whelchel has been placed into a tough quarterfinal match, though; she's going up against two of the best players in the tournament, Jonathan Fisher and Andrew He. 

Margaret Shelton

  • Games won: 4
  • Average score: $15,940
  • Average Coryat score: $13,920
  • Total winnings: $79,700
  • Quarterfinal game: Nov. 2

Shelton, a homemaker from Pittsburgh, won four games in November 2022, and she'll be going up against Brian Chang and Tyler Rhode in her quarterfinal match. Notably, she lost to another Tournament of Champions competitor, Maureen O'Neil, so that's another possible rematch scenario. 

Maureen O'Neil 

  • Games won: 4
  • Average score: $11,120
  • Average Coryat score: $7,120
  • Total winnings: $58,200
  • Quarterfinal game: Oct. 31

O'Neil, an executive assistant from Massachusetts, won four games in March 2022, though like Megan Wachspress, she's certainly an underdog. O'Neil has the lowest Coryat score among the competitors, and she'll also be in that quarterfinal match against Ryan Long.

But anything can happen in the Tournament of Champions, and it's often been the case that the favorite going into the competition doesn't win. So don't rule out the possibility of one of the "big three" being eliminated early and an underdog sneaking in to take the whole thing. We'll take "break a leg out there, everyone" for $2,000.

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