Arthur Chu is back.
Whether you're ready or not, Jeopardy! fans.
A new Tournament of Champions begins today, and the Swarthmore alum, who became a media sensation for his provocative strategies, can add to the $298,000 he raked in during an 11-win run early this year.
That haul was the third highest total ever from an initial winning streak – until Julia Collins of Illinois won $429,000 last spring while winning 20 games in a row, a string exceeded only by the 74-game record set by the legendary Ken Jennings.
Chu will compete Tuesday, Collins on Wednesday. Shows air locally at 7 p.m. on 6ABC.
Competing Thursday will be Princeton English major Terry O'Shea, who grew up in Bridgewater, N.J., about a half-hour north of the campus, as the only student from an Ivy League College to ever win a Jeopardy! college tournament.
She applied on a whim, is a member of a chocolate-making club, has studied French and Arabic, is contemplating an international-relations career, and regularly pens cartoons for the student newspaper.
Imagine Waldo sharing wine and holding hands with Carmen San Diego as he says, "I'm so glad we found each other."
She's spent very little of her $100,000 prize money on whims. Didn't get the Roomba, did get gravel for the fish.
Chu became a sensation among Jeopardy! fans on just his second show, because seemed to let another contestant tie his total so they both returned. Strategy, not compassion, was the motivation, said Chu, who met his wife, Eliza Blair, at Swarthmore. They live in Ohio.
As he continued winning, folks – and fellow players – found his style of play unnerving, as his picks hop-scotched around the board, in search of Daily Doubles, inspiring more media coverage.
He picked up 15,000 followers on Twitter, and has gone on to become something of a spokesman for the "nerd community," doing speaking engagements at various colleges and appearances at video gaming conventions, he said by phone. He also lost "quite a bit of weight," he said.
A documentary about his geekdom may still be in the works, even though a Kickstarter campaign fell short of its fund-raising goals.
There's a book he'd like to write, but it won't be a trivia book, a la Jennings, he said.
Chu vowed to do live-tweeting this week, especially during his Tuesday appearance, he said.
Chu and O'Shea were both mum about whether they advanced to the second week of shows. Basically, each show this week will feature three players, with the five daily champs and the next four biggest winners moving on to compete in the three days of semifinals. Three finalists will compete over the last two days for a top prize of $250,000.
For more, go to Jeopardy.com.