First Monopoly tournament to take place


Valentine with the four world championship finalists and Monopoly judge, Phillip Orbanes in 2015.

Jude Nanaw, Co-Editor in Chief

“Pass Go”, “Collect $200”, or “Go to Jail” are all familiar terms to Monopoly players all across the country. A classic fast-dealing property trading board game, Monopoly is a staple in many households. Whether playing for fun or competitively in an international contest, Monopoly remains one of the most popular board games worldwide.

Recently, it was announced by the PTSA that the first Monopoly Tournament in AHS will be held on Nov. 10 in the cafeteria and Clausen Hall.

From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. the format of the game will be as follows: two time-limited games in the morning, followed by a lunch break. Winners from the morning will compete in a semi-final game after lunch to determine the four finalists who will compete in the championship game.

Registration for adults is $15 and $10 for students. Registration includes a lunch of two slices of pizza and one soda or water. Register for the Monopoly Tournament online here.

The grand prize for the contest is $200 and a Monopoly board game.

Assistant Principal Brian Valentine is an internationally recognized Monopoly player and ranks within the top-three Monopoly board game players worldwide.

“I have played Monopoly since I was about 5 or 6 years old,” Valentine said. “It was the game my family always played whenever we had friends or family over.”

After some time, Valentine developed an interest in national and international Monopoly championship tournaments. Valentine took part in his first ever Monopoly tournament in California and finished in fourth place out of a field of 60 other competitors.

“After seeing a documentary about monopoly, I wanted to go try it out and see if all that playing with my family and friends paid off,” Valentine said. “I ended up getting in contact with a lot of the other top tournament players.”

In 2015, Valentine earned the opportunity to represent the United States in the Monopoly World Championship tournament in 2015. The tournament was held in Macau, an autonomous region on the south coast of China.

The process to determine the U.S. representative included a 20 question timed Monopoly rules test and an essay where participants had to explain in 100 word or fewer their strategy to win a game of Monopoly.

In order to be a selected, a participant would have to score at least an 80% on the rules and their essay would have to be the one selected.

“I was moving to D.C. from Orlando one day and was casually checking my email,” Valentine said. “I then see a letter from Hasbro (the company that owns Monopoly) saying that I was winner of the contest to select the U.S. representative.”

Upon learning he would be representing the U.S. in the world championship, Valentine began to vigorously prepare for the contest.

“I had coaching sessions with one of the national tournament players from California and practiced with some friends in order to prepare,” Valentine said.

The world championship consisted of 28 players representing 27 different countries. The defending champion from the 2009 tournament in Las Vegas, Bjorn Halvard Knappskog of Norway, had an automatic spot guaranteed in the tournament.

The contest began with three rounds of players being randomly assigned to others to go head-to-head. After this, the top 16 players advanced to the semi-finals where the four winners from that round would then advance onto the championship.

The grand prize for the first place winner was $20,580, the exact amount of Monopoly money that comes in a standard box.

Valentine finished in third place behind only the first place winner, Nicolò Falcone of Italy and the defending champion Knappskog.

“I ended up finishing in third place,” Valentine said. “All the of the games of each round were very competitive.”

An experienced Monopoly player, Valentine looks forward to the contest taking place at AHS.

“I think it is a really great opportunity for us to have a tournament at AHS,” Valentine said. “For people to sit down and interact with each other over a game of Monopoly should be really fun.”