JEOPARDY! champion Ben Chan became the first contestant in history to win their first six games in a runaway fashion on Wednesday’s episode.
Not all viewers were as thrilled, however, with how Mayim Bialik “quickly” ruled against a new player earlier on in the milestone match for Ben.
Ben is a philosophy professor at St. Norbert College from Green Bay, Wisconsin who set an all-time Jeopardy! record that fans are geeking out over with his sixth win.
Ben returned this week after bowing out of his streak due to contracting Covid-19 in episodes that aired in April, which may be why some fans were confused to see him back.
He faced David Lu, a mail processing clerk from Los Angeles, California and Brittani Seagren, a nurse practitioner from Bourbonnais, Illinois.
In the first round, David selected the $200 clue “Y’Know, The Movie Where.”
Mayim, 48, read: “A farmer plays baseball with a dead guy, time-travels & ends up owning a tourist trap”
He responded: “What is A League of Their–what is…”
“No,” Mayim then instantly said before David could finish self-correcting himself, which he went on to do.
David then added: “What is Field of Dreams,” which was the desired response.
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The other contestants were allowed to buzz in instead and Ben buzzed in and shrugged feeling for his foe- he also said: “What is Field of Dreams.”
Mayim ruled: “That is correct. And I’m sorry, David, I had already ruled against you before you changed your response.”
According to Jeopardy.com: “Contestants may change their responses as long as neither the host nor the judges have made a ruling.”
Even so, one fan wrote on Reddit: “Mayim very quickly ruling David wrong in that baseball question seems a bit harsh.”
BEN CHAN SETS A RECORD!
After the tough ruling, however- returning champion Ben schooled his opponents and the judgment call did not affect the outcome as Ben achieved a milestone no contestant ever has.
By Final Jeopardy, Ben had $24,205, David $1,200 Brittani $400.
Final Jeopardy read: “Efforts recently began to reintroduce 2 species of oyster to help restore the contaminated waters of this, a national memorial.”
Ben was correct with “What is Pearl Harbor??” bringing him to an even $25,000 and a tremendous 6-day total of $182,000.
But more notably, yesterday Ben became the first player since 2001 to win his first five games in runaways- and today the first player ever to reach six.
A so-called runaway game entails having such an insurmountable lead by Final Jeopardy that a player can’t be caught even if the contestant in second place bets everything they have.
The achievement was not lost on other Reddit users as one wrote: “It’s official: Ben Chan is the first Jeopardy! contestant to start a run with six lock-games. He is our new god!”
Another fan wrote: “Another outstanding performance. It is remarkable that he netted $25k after some very tough categories and only wagering $5 on a winning Daily Double.”
A third spotted that another contestant has also hit the 6/6 runaway belt notch but it was in a slightly different way.
“Ben is now the 2nd Player ever to have his first 6 games all be locks – and the first in 37 years – since Chuck Forrest locked his original five games AND his Tournament of Champions Quarterfinal.”
A fourth wrote: “As much as I am in awe of Ben, I’m gonna take it one step at a time and see if he can make it to ten wins first. For all we know, another player with Ben’s skill level could be retroactively waiting in the wings.”
OFF THE BEN-CH
Ben had earned his first three runaway wins by Friday, April 11’s game.
However, was mysteriously absent from April 14th’s episode despite being the reigning champion.
In a rare occurrence, three new contestants faced off instead and Ben took a leave of absence – he later clarified the real reason he did not return as scheduled.
“Before yesterday’s episode taped, I had tested positive for Covid; it was a very mild case, as you can see, I’m fine.
“Most importantly, my buzzer finger is fine, so I’m excited to watch what happens over the next few weeks, see who I’ll be competing against on May 15,” he said during a virtual appearance on Good Day Wisconsin.
There have only been four episodes since the early 2000s in which there have been two returning champions in one game.
His fourth runaway win and return this Monday led to the loss of 8-day champion Hannah Wilson in an unfortunate but not purposeful scheduling move by the show.
Ben and Hannah were represented as “co-champions” and even if Ben had been scheduled to return this Monday’s episode far in advance, it was an unceremonious way for Hannah to lose, hundreds of Twitter users felt.
“They should’ve waited until Hannah’s run was over until they brought Ben back. Not fair.”
Another user replied: “I think is fair. They scheduled Ben’s return before Hannah came on the show and started going on a streak. Let’s try to celebrate people’s victory.”
Ben tweeted: “I do feel bad that my bad luck also was bad luck for Hannah and Wendy.”
“But in the grand scheme, we were obviously all ridiculously lucky to be on Alex Trebek Stage.”
Ben received his BA from Swarthmore College and his PhD from UCLA, per his college’s Flickr profile.
He told then-host Ken (who helmed the start of his run) during one Q&A that he’s “happy to say I beat” fellow Wisconsinite and former Jeopardy! guest host Aaron Rodgers “at pub trivia”
In another Q&A, Ben shared that he taught his foster dogs how to hug. Tonight Ben shared he and his wife would use his winnings to shell out on a vacation where their dogs can be taken care of.
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