03/06/01
Monopoly Day
    by Heather Tomasello

Tomorrow is Monopoly Day, celebrating the world 's best-selling board game. Since its development during the height of the American Depression in 1934 by Pennsylvanian Charles B. Darrow, more than 200 million copies of the game have been sold in over 26 different translations and 80 countries. People have set world records playing Monopoly in all sorts of strange circumstances like the 36-hour-long anti-gravity game played on a ceiling, the 8-day, 8 hour game on a balance beam, or the 16 day game in a moving elevator.

Though we never played it upside down or under water, growing up my sisters and I loved the game and would play for hours on rainy afternoons. I was always the iron, sliding around the board smoothly, my older sister stepped >from property to property as the shoe and my younger sister made no bones about her favorite piece the dog. We wanted the game to last as long as possible, so we took out time buying properties and traded amicably back and forth, building just a few houses here and there. Our games ended not with bankruptcy, but with boredom and after several hours we d call it even and pack up the board until the next round of Marathon Monopoly. I didn t realize Monopoly was such a competitive game until my first year of marriage when I sat down with my husband and his family to play. They take the game very seriously, building small green and red empires on the board until one players owns everything they play Monopoly!

In fact, I may encourage my husband to begin training for the Monopoly World Championship, which, like the Olympics, is held every four years in a different country. This past October the competition took place in Toronto, Canada, in the Royal York Hotel. Thirty-eight countries sent their National Champions to compete in three 90-minute preliminary rounds. Players were randomly matched for example, the first round saw 11-year-old Puerto Rico Champion Stephanie Torres competing against the 1994 World Champion, Christopher Woo of Hong Kong. The five players who accumulated the most in assets at the end of the three rounds then progressed to an untimed final round. The goal of the final round was to bankrupt the other four players and thereby wear the crown (or top hat as it were) of Monopoly World Champion. After an intense 3 and hour game, Yutaka Okada of Japan emerged victoriously. Hasbro awarded Okada with a check for $15, 140 the amount of money in the original game.

So my husband now has three years to prepare for the next World Championship and face Okada and other serious Monopoly players from around the world. As for me, I will stick to playing with my sisters. I've realized that in Monopoly, as in life, there are those who play to win and then there are those who simply enjoy the game.

Copyright 2001 by Heather Tomasello

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Wednesday, 04-Sep-2002 22:23:46 EDT


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