Amy Schneider has officially surpassed Matt Amodio’s 38-game streak, making her the Jeopardy! contestant with the second highest number of consecutive wins. The first continues to be Ken Jennings, who broke the record in 2004. He also hosted the episode in which Schneider won her 39th game. As of the episode that aired on January 24, Schneider has won a total of $1,319,800.
Schneider also made Jeopardy! history by becoming the first woman on the show to be among the top all-time winners. She recently penned an essay for Defector on her outstanding accomplishment, writing, “I’ll generally observe that I was born with a brain that, for whatever reason, retains knowledge well. I don’t have a ‘photographic’ memory or anything like that; God knows I’ve spent enough time hunting my apartment for my phone to disprove that idea.” She continued, “But while many people, upon learning that, for example, ‘oviparous’ is an adjective meaning ‘egg-laying,’ will quite sensibly forget it almost immediately, I will probably remember it, and without any particular effort.”
She also addressed her privilege, noting, “Unlike most people in history, I wasn’t born into grinding poverty, and my parents believed in the value of knowledge as its own reward. Moreover, I am white, and until well into adulthood, was perceived as male. Had that not been the case, my intelligence would have been seen as surprising at best, and threatening at worst, which undoubtedly would have impacted my intellectual development. But it was the case, and I was never discouraged from acquiring knowledge.”
Schneider also explained that Jeopardy!’s central gimmick where contestants are required to give their answer in the form on a question, “perhaps inadvertently, teaches an underrated skill, which is simply understanding what you’re being asked. The gimmick of the show forces a weird kind of syntax on the clues, so that, oftentimes, you have to untangle the question before you can even begin to find the answer.”