Chuck Forrest

Chuck Forrest
Born June 3, 1961[1]
Known for 5-time Jeopardy! champion and former record holder

Chuck Forrest (born June 3, 1961[1]) is an American game show contestant who at one time held the record for the largest non-tournament cash winnings total on the syndicated game show Jeopardy! The Los Angeles Times called him "the Alexander the Great of Jeopardy! players."[1] The producers of the show regarded him as one of the best and most memorable contestants of the 1980s.[2] Forrest is widely regarded by other elite Jeopardy players to be one of the most formidable contestants to ever play.[3]

Forrest, who was described at the time as a law student[1] from Grand Blanc, Michigan, had a series of victories in Season 2 of Jeopardy!, starting on September 30, 1985. After four games, he set the regular play cash winnings record, with $60,000.[4][5] When he went on to play his fifth game on October 4, 1985, he broke his own cash winnings record, with 5-day cash winnings of $72,800. Under the Jeopardy! rules in effect at the time of Forrest's victory, he retired undefeated. His record lasted until early in Season 6 of Jeopardy!, when Bob Blake won $82,501.[5] Blake's record lasted until the middle of Season 6, when Frank Spangenberg accumulated a 5-day total of $102,597.

He went on to win the 1986 Tournament of Champions. In the quarterfinals, which was the first round, Forrest defeated Guy Tonti and Gary Palmer.[6] (Palmer advanced as a "wild card" high scoring nonwinner.) In the semifinals, he defeated Jay Rosenberg and Gary Giadina.[7] He defeated Paul Rouffa and Marvin Shinkman in the two-game final, adding another $100,000 to his total cash winnings.[8]

In the 1990 Super Jeopardy! tournament, Forrest was defeated in the quarterfinals, or the first round, by Dave Traini. That appearance added $5,000 to Forrest's total winnings.[9] Traini would eventually become the third-place finalist.[10] In the 2002 Million Dollar Masters tournament, Forrest lost his semifinal to Bob Verini, picking up another $25,000 in the process.[11] Verini placed third in the finals.[12] In the 2005 Ultimate Tournament of Champions, Forrest received a bye into Round 2 in recognition of his former regular-play cash winnings record. However, Forrest came in third in his Round 2 game and received another $25,000 ($10,000 as a runner-up and another $15,000 for the 2nd round bye). The scores were $0 for Forrest, $28,200 for the winner Phil Yellman, and $12,999 for Lara Robillard.[13] There were no "wild card" spots for nonwinners in the Ultimate Tournament of Champions, meaning neither Robillard nor Forrest had a chance of advancing to Round 3. Yellman, coming in second in round 3, lost to Pam Mueller along with Brian Moore.[14]

Forrest implemented a strategy known as the "Forrest Bounce" in his play to potentially confuse opponents.[15] (Forrest referred to the technique as the "Rubin Bounce" after a law school friend who first suggested it.[16]) The Forrest Bounce is done in the Jeopardy! and Double Jeopardy! rounds when the player in control of the board at the moment randomly selects the next clue from a category different from the clue before to confuse the opponents into thinking they were moving into that category. This gave the player in control of the board an advantage. ("The basic point is, you know where you're going next and [your competitors] don't," according to Forrest.[16])

Forrest and Mark Lowenthal, a five-time champion in Season 4, co-wrote the 1992 book Secrets of the Jeopardy Champions.[16] Like Forrest, Lowenthal won his Tournament of Champions.[17]

In 1992, Forrest was a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives, entering the Republican primary for the Ninth District of Michigan, which at the time included his home town of Grand Blanc.[18]


  1. ^ a b c d Biederman, Patricia Ward (January 29, 1989). "Backstage At Jeopardy!; Tune in for the nervous hopefuls, the hard-working researchers, the well-dressed host and the amazing winners on the smart set's favorite game show". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 24, 2010. 
  2. ^ Alex Trebek and Peter Barsocchini, The Jeopardy! Book (HarperPerennial, 1990), p. 129: "When you survey Jeopardy! contestants, fans, producers, and staff on the subject of the best players ever seen on the show, two names continually emerge: Burns Cameron from the original show and Chuck Forrest from the new show."
  3. ^ Trebek & Barsocchini, p. 68: "The contestant everyone still remembers from the new version of the game is Chuck Forrest, the 1985 Tournament of Champions winner. He was so good that he basically intimidated the other contestants in the tournament; you could hear them backstage talking about who might take second place, because they just about assumed Chuck would win it all." See also Michael Dupée, How to Get on Jeopardy! and Win! (Citadel Press, 1998), p. 36: "Mr. Forrest was so brilliant that he did not need to use much strategy to crush his opponents."
  4. ^ "Show #279 - Thursday, October 3, 1985". J! Archive. Retrieved August 24, 2010. 
  5. ^ a b "$50,000 Plus Winners". Retrieved August 22, 2010. 
  6. ^ 1986 Tournament of Champions
  7. ^ Oddchange-1986 Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions
  8. ^ "Chuck Forrest's Tournament of Champions Final". J! Archive. Retrieved August 24, 2010. 
  9. ^ "Chuck Forrest's Super Jeopardy! Quarterfinal". J! Archive. Retrieved August 24, 2010. 
  10. ^ "Super Jeopardy! Final". J! Archive. Retrieved August 24, 2010. 
  11. ^ "Chuck Forrest's Million Dollar Masters Semifinal". J! Archive. Retrieved August 24, 2010. 
  12. ^ "Million Dollar Masters final". J! Archive. Retrieved August 24, 2010. 
  13. ^ "Chuck Forrest's Round 2 Game". J! Archive. Retrieved August 24, 2010. 
  14. ^ Phil Yellman's Round 3 UToC game
  15. ^ Harris, Bob (2006). Prisoner of Trebekistan. Crown Publishers. p. 85. ISBN 978-0-307-33956-0. "In September of 1985 [Forrest] pioneered a technique (still called the 'Forrest Bounce') in which he selected clues not in simple vertical lines but by hopscotching back and forth across the game board, continually changing categories."  See also Dupée, op. cit., p. 69.
  16. ^ a b c Forrest, Chuck and Lowenthal, Mark (1992). Secrets of the Jeopardy Champions. Grand Central Publishing. ISBN 9780446393522, ISBN 0446393525.
  17. ^ Brennan, Patricia (1988-11-20). "Man Wins Jackpot on Game Show". The Washington Post: p. y.05. 
  18. ^ House banking scandal give newcomers a chance. April 17, 1992.
Preceded by
Paul Boymel
Biggest regular play winners on Jeopardy! by season
Succeeded by
John Ryan
Preceded by
Jerry Frankel
Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions winner
Succeeded by
Bob Verini
Preceded by
Paul Boymel
Jerry Frankel
All-time Jeopardy! biggest winner
Succeeded by
Jerry Frankel
Bruce Seymour
Preceded by
Paul Boymel
All-time Jeopardy! regular play winnings leader
Succeeded by
Bob Blake

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