Bradford Gates “Brad” Rutter is the biggest all-time money winner on the U.S. syndicated game show Jeopardy! and the second biggest all-time money winner on a game show. Rutter became an undefeated champion on Jeopardy! in 2000 and subsequently won an unprecedented three Jeopardy! tournament titles: the 2001 Tournament of Champions, the Million Dollar Masters Tournament, and the Ultimate Tournament of Champions. Following his third tournament win, in which he defeated Ken Jennings and Jerome Vered in the finals, Rutter surpassed Jennings as the highest money-winner ever on American game shows. Jennings subsequently regained his record by appearing on various other game shows, culminating in an appearance on Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? (first aired on October 10, 2008). Rutter retains the record for Jeopardy! winnings with $3,470,102, and a pair of Chevrolet Camaros ($55,102 in five-day winnings, $100,000 and $1,000,000 and $2,115,000; see below), and $200,000 in his three tournaments and one exhibition respectively).
Monte Cook is a professional table-top role-playing game designer and writer. Cook has been a professional game designer since 1988, working primarily on role-playing games. Much of his early work was for Iron Crown Enterprises as an editor and writer for the Rolemaster and Champions lines. Cook worked for Iron Crown Enterprises for four years; two as a freelancer and two as a full-time designer. During this period, he attracted fan and critical attention with the popular multi-genre setting Dark Space. Cook began working for TSR in 1992 as a freelancer, “writing a whole slew of stuff for the old Marvel game that never came out because the game got canceled”. Joining the TSR team, Cook designed Dungeons & Dragons modules such as Labyrinth of Madness (1995) and A Paladin in Hell (1998), and dozens of supplements to the Planescape line including The Planewalker’s Handbook (1996) and Dead Gods (1998). Cook also designed the conspiracy game Dark•Matter (1999).
Artashes Minasian is an Armenian chess Grandmaster. He participated in eight Chess Olympiads with a record of +23 −12 =28. In 2006 the Armenian team took the first place at the 37th Chess Olympiad. Along with himself, the team consisted of Levon Aronian, Vladimir Akopian, Karen Asrian, Smbat Lputian, Gabriel Sargissian). Minasian won the Armenian Chess Championship six times, in 1990, 1992, 1993, 1995, 2004 and 2006. He also won the final USSR Chess Championship in 1991 and New York open championship in 1998. In December 2009, he was awarded the title of Honoured Master of Sport of the Republic of Armenia.
William Ralph “Will” Wright is an American video game designer and co-founder of the game development company Maxis, now part of Electronic Arts. In April 2009 he left Electronic Arts to run “Stupid Fun Club”, an entertainment think tank in which Wright and EA are principal shareholders. The first computer game Wright designed was Raid on Bungeling Bay in 1984 but it was SimCity that brought him to prominence. The game was released by Maxis, a company Wright formed with Jeff Braun, and he built upon the game’s theme of computer simulation with numerous other titles including SimEarth and SimAnt. Wright’s greatest success to date came as the original designer for The Sims games series which, as of 2009, is the best-selling PC game in history. The game spawned multiple sequels and expansions and Wright earned many awards for his work. His latest work, Spore, was released in September 2008 and features gameplay based upon the model of evolution and scientific advancement. The game sold 406,000 copies within three weeks of its release.
Viswanathan Anand is an Indian chess Grandmaster and the current World Chess Champion. Anand has won the World Chess Championship five times (2000, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012), and has been the undisputed World Champion since 2007. Anand was the FIDE World Rapid Chess Champion in 2003, and is widely considered the strongest rapid player of his generation. Anand became India’s first grandmaster in 1987. He was also the first recipient of the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award in 1991–92, India’s highest sporting honour. In 2007, he was awarded India’s second highest civilian award, the Padma Vibhushan, making him the first sportsperson to receive the award in Indian history. Anand has won the Chess Oscar six times (1997, 1998, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2008). He held the FIDE World Chess Championship from 2000 to 2002, at a time when the world title was split. He became the undisputed World Champion in 2007 and defended his title against Vladimir Kramnik in 2008. He then successfully defended his title in the World Chess Championship 2010 against Veselin Topalov and in the World Chess Championship 2012 against Boris Gelfand. As the reigning champion, he will face the winner of the upcoming Candidates Tournament for the World Chess Championship 2013.
Evgeny Bareev is a Russian chess Grandmaster and chess coach. In October 2003, he was in fourth place in the world rankings, with an Elo rating of 2739. Bareev was World Under-16 Champion in 1982 when his talent was first showcased internationally. Bareev was a member of the Russian national team in the two Chess Olympiads of 1994 and 1996. The biggest success in his career was winning the Corus super-tournament in Wijk aan Zee 2002. In this event he scored 9/13 ahead of elite players like Alexander Grischuk, Michael Adams, Alexander Morozevich, and Peter Leko. In a man vs. machine contest in January 2003, Bareev took on the chess program HIARCS in a four game-match: all four games were drawn. In the Enghien-les-Bains tournament held in France in 2003, Bareev finished in first place. He was a second to Vladimir Kramnik in his triumphant 2000 World championship match against Garry Kasparov. His most notable participation in the World Chess Championship events was the Candidates Tournament for the Classical World Chess Championship 2004 in Dortmund 2002. Bareev reached the semi-finals, but lost his match against Veselin Topalov.
Rebecca Ann Heineman (born William Salvador Heineman) is an American video game programmer. A long-time veteran of the computer game industry (originally credited mostly as Bill Heineman), Heineman was a founding member of Interplay Productions, Logicware, Contraband Entertainment. She has also been affiliated at various times with Barking Lizards Technologies, Electronic Arts, Bloomberg, Microsoft, MacPlay and Ubisoft, among other game companies. She is currently working for Sony Computer Entertainment in the Foster City office. She won the National Space Invaders Championship, sponsored by Atari, in November, 1980, making her the first person to ever win a national video game contest. In the mid-1980s, Heineman programmed the cult classic graphic adventure games Tass Times in Tonetown and The Bard’s Tale III: Thief of Fate. Heineman also programmed the Macintosh, Super Nintendo and Apple IIGS ports of Another World, as well as some other lesser-known games, such as Mindshadow, Borrowed Time, Battle Chess, and The Tracer Sanction. Due to her love of storing hamburgers in her desk drawers, her friends call her “Burger” (and when they would call for her, she would sometimes respond “Burger”).