Jeopardy! History Wiki
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The Jeopardy! Battle of the Decades is a 5-week tournament airing throughout the 30th season to celebrate 30 years of the syndicated version. 15 contestants face-off from each decade of Jeopardy! to advance to the quarterfinals. The 5 winners from each decade face off in the quarterfinals. From there the regular tournament format developed by Alex Trebek is used for the 15 quarterfinalists.


Fan Favorite Round[]

The first part of the tournament began on September 30, 2013. 14 people who were pre-selected to appear in each decade (the 1980s, the 1990s, and the 2000s) were announced. 5 people competed for the 15th spot in each decade over the course of 3 weeks. Voting took place on the Jeopardy! website, Facebook, and Twitter. The 5 nominees for the 1980s were:

  • Andrew Westney (1991 Teen Tournament winner)
  • Diane Siegel (1993 ToC invitee)
  • Eugene Finerman (1987 ToC finalist, Super Jeopardy! semi-finalist)
  • Michael Rankins (1988 ToC semi-finalist)
  • Leah Greenwald (1988 ToC invitee)

The second week of voting took place the following week, with the nominees being kept secret until the voting began. They were:

  • Shane Whitlock (1996 College Champion & ToC semi-finalist)
  • Brian Weikle (2003 ToC finalist, the biggest winner of season 19)
  • Michael Daunt (1997 International Tournament winner, 1996 ToC finalist)
  • Catherine (Fred) Ramen (1998 ToC semi-finalist)
  • Melizza Zygmunt (1999 ToC invitee)

The final week of voting for the 2000s took place the next week. The nominees were:

  • Tom Nissley (2011 ToC finalist, the biggest winner of season 27)
  • Erin McLean (Fall 2010 College Champion, 2011 ToC semi-finalist)
  • Ryan Chaffee (2010 ToC invitee)
  • Kara Spak (2011 ToC semi-finalist)
  • Joey Beachum (2008 College Champion, 2010 ToC invitee)

The results were announced on December 3, 2013. Andrew Westney, Shane Whitlock, and Tom Nissley claimed the 15th and final spot for each respective decade, while each decade's alternate was Diane Siegel, Brian Weikle, and Erin McLean

The other 14 contestants for the 1980s and the early 1990s were:

  • India Cooper (1992 ToC & Million Dollar Masters semi-finalist)
  • Chuck Forrest (1986 ToC winner, Million Dollar Masters semi-finalist, the biggest winner of season 2)
  • Jim Scott (1991 ToC winner)
  • Leslie Frates (10th Anniversary Tournament finalist, 1992 ToC semi-finalist)
  • Leszek Pawlowicz (1992 ToC winner)
  • Richard Cordray (1987 ToC semi-finalist)
  • Tom Nosek (1993 ToC winner, 10th Anniversary Tournament finalist)
  • Leslie (Miller) Shannon (1993 ToC & Million Dollar Masters semi-finalist)
  • Phoebe Juel (1993 College Champion & ToC semi-finalist)
  • Mark Lowenthal (1988 ToC winner)
  • Frank Spangenberg (10th Anniversary Tournament winner, 1990 ToC semi-finalist, the biggest winner of season 6)
  • Tom Cubbage (1989 ToC & College Championship winner)
  • Jerome Vered (1992 ToC & Ultimate ToC finalist, the biggest winner of season 8)
  • Bob Verini (1987 ToC winner, Super Jeopardy! & Million Dollar Masters finalist)

Among notable past contestants from this decade that weren't in the field: 1990 ToC winner Bob Blake (who declined due to a scheduling conflict), 1989 Teen Tournament winner & Million Dollar Masters finalist Eric Newhouse, Super Jeopardy! winner Bruce Seymour, Million Dollar Masters & 1988 TOC invitee Kate Waits, and any competitors from the inaugural 1985 ToC (including winner Jerry Frankel, who passed away in 1987.)

The mid-1990s and early 2000s contestants were:

  • Rachael Schwartz (1994 ToC winner, first woman & 4-day champion to win the ToC)
  • Babu Srinivasan (2001 ToC semi-finalist, the biggest winner of season 17)
  • Eddie Timanus (2000 ToC semi-finalist, first blind Jeopardy! contestant)
  • Dan Melia (1998 ToC winner, Ultimate ToC quarterfinalist)
  • Pam Mueller (Fall 2000 College Champion, 2001 ToC & Ultimate ToC semi-finalist)
  • Fritz (Ryan) Holznagel (1995 ToC winner, 1996 International Tournament semi-finalist)
  • Robin Carroll (2000 ToC & 2001 International Tournament winner)
  • Bob Harris (1998 ToC finalist, Million Dollar Masters semi-finalist)
  • Dave Abbott (1999 ToC winner, the biggest winner of season 14)
  • Claudia Perry (1998 ToC & Million Dollar Masters semi-finalist)
  • Mark Dawson (2003 ToC winner)
  • Brad Rutter (2001 ToC, Million Dollar Masters, and Ultimate ToC winner; all-time cash winnings leader)
  • Jill Bunzendahl Chimka (2003 ToC semi-finalist)
  • Mike Dupee (1996 ToC winner)

Among notable past contestants from this decade that weren't in the field: 1995 ToC finalist & the 1990s' third highest-earning regular play contestant David Siegel, and 1994 ToC & Ultimate ToC semi-finalist John Cuthbertson.

The mid-2000s and early 2010s contestants were:

  • Colby Burnett (Fall 2012 Teachers Tournament & 2013 ToC winner)
  • Celeste DiNucci (2007 ToC winner, the highest-earning female contestant at the time)
  • Vijay Balse (2010 ToC winner)
  • Stephanie Jass (2013 ToC semi-finalist, longest-reigning female champion at the time)
  • Roger Craig (2011 ToC winner, highest single-day cash winnings record holder)
  • Larissa Kelly (2009 ToC finalist, the biggest winner of season 24)
  • Russ Schumacher (2004 ToC winner)
  • Tom Kavanaugh (2006 ToC invitee)
  • Vinita Kailasanath (2001 College Champion, 2004 ToC semi-finalist)
  • Keith Whitener (2013 ToC finalist)
  • Michael Falk (2006 ToC winner, only 3-day champion to do so)
  • Dan Pawson (2009 ToC winner, longest reigning champion of season 24)
  • Maria Wenglinsky (2006 ToC semi-finalist)
  • Ken Jennings (Longest reigning & highest-earning contestant in regular games, Ultimate ToC finalist)

Among notable past contestants from this decade that weren't in the field: 2013 ToC semi-finalist & season 28 biggest winner Jason Keller, 19 day champion, biggest winner of season 22, and 2006 ToC semi-finalist David Madden (who declined due to his business relationship with the compliance company Jeopardy! hires to oversee fairness of the rules), and 2004 ToC and Ultimate ToC semi-finalist Chris Miller.

2000s week contestant Vinita Kailasanath was placed in the 2000s week group, despite originally competing on Jeopardy! in 2001 (which was during the 1990s week's range), as she deferred her Tournament of Champions appearances until 2004.

1980s week[]

The 1980s week taped in December and aired on February 3 to 7, 2014. The matchups by order of ranking at the end of the game were:

Chuck Forrest Jim Scott India Cooper
Leszek Pawlowicz Andrew Westney Leslie Frates
Tom Nosek Richard Cordray Leslie Shannon
Mark Lowenthal Frank Spangenberg Phoebe Juel
Tom Cubbage Jerome Vered Bob Verini

The 5 winners advanced to the quarterfinals. Losing players received $5000 except Richard Cordray, who is ineligible to win money on game shows due to his federal appointment.


1990s week[]

The 1990s week taped in January and aired on March 3 to 7, 2014. The matchups by rank at the end of the game were as follows:

Rachael Schwartz Eddie Timanus Babu Srinivasan
Pam Mueller Fritz Holznagel Dan Melia
Robin Carroll Shane Whitlock Bob Harris
Mark Dawson Claudia Perry Dave Abbott
Brad Rutter Mike Dupee

Jill Bunzendahl-Chimka


2000s week[]

The day after 1990s week taped, 2000s week taped. These games aired March 31 to April 4, 2014. The matchups are as follows:

Colby Burnett Celeste DiNucci Tom Nissley
Roger Craig Vijay Balse Stephanie Jass
Russ Schumacher Larissa Kelly Tom Kavanaugh
Ken Jennings Michael Falk Vinita Kailasanath
Dan Pawson Maria Wenglinsky Keith Whitener


Final rounds[]


The quarterfinals taped in April 2014 and aired on May 5 to 9. The matchups for the quarterfinals were announced 15 days after taping as part of a press release by Jeopardy! on their Tumblr blog. They are by rank:

Roger Craig Leszek Pawlowicz Robin Carroll
Russ Schumacher Pam Mueller Tom Nosek
Brad Rutter Dan Pawson Mark Lowenthal
Ken Jennings Tom Cubbage Rachael Schwartz
Chuck Forrest Colby Burnett Mark Dawson

Each quarterfinal game has one winner from each of the preliminary rounds. The eliminated quarterfinalists received $10,000. Craig, Schumacher, Rutter, Jennings, and Forrest advanced as automatic semi-finalists, while Cubbage, Pawlowicz, Mueller, and Burnett advanced as wildcards.



The matchups as are as follows:

Ken Jennings Chuck Forrest Russ Schumacher
Brad Rutter Leszek Pawlowicz Tom Cubbage
Roger Craig Colby Burnett Pam Mueller

Eliminated players received $25,000.



The winner of the tournament received $1,000,000, while second place won $100,000, and third place received $50,000. Brad Rutter won his unprecedented fourth Jeopardy! tournament after winning the two-day final.

Brad Rutter Ken Jennings Roger Craig