A Spaniard captured the World Monopoly Championship after building up a fortune from just $1,500 — in fake money — and ruthlessly forcing three other would-be tycoons from Europe into bankruptcy.
Antonio Zafra Fernandez, a 36-year-old hospital laboratory technician from Madrid, dispatched the other finalists in less than two hours at the Roppongi Hills Mori Tower in Tokyo on Saturday. He took home more than $15,000 in real money and bragging rights as the property-development board game’s top player.
Each player starts with $1,500 and must try to earn more by buying famous streets, then renting out and selling properties on them. The game ends when all but one player has gone bankrupt.
With TV cameras rolling and a translator at his elbow, Fernandez tipped Bjorn Andenaes of Norway into insolvency by asking for $950 rent when the mutual fund sales manager from Oslo landed on Fernandez’s hotels on Tennessee Avenue.
Andenaes, who owned the railroad lines but was short on cash, conceded. Fernandez hopped out of his seat, clenched his fists and beamed.
“I’m extremely happy and so proud,” Fernandez said, after hoisting a giant winner’s check for $15,140 — equal to the amount of play money in a Monopoly set.
Fernandez said he and his wife would spend the prize money on a new car, but added: “It’s not about the money. I’m going home as a champion, which doesn’t happen often in a person’s life.”
The companies that market and sell Monopoly around the world flew players from 38 nations to Tokyo for the two-day event.
The four finalists scored the highest points in their three qualifying games on Friday. Defending champion Yutaka Okada of Japan, who won in 2000 in Toronto, and U.S. national champion, Matt McNally of Irvine, Calif., failed to advance.
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