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Florida Banker Repeats as U.S. Board Game Champ

October 22, 1991

NEW YORK (AP) _ They drew the lines at the ″Free Parking″ corner. The adjoining properties bristled with hotels.

But it was a fickle ″Chance″ that gutted the potato farmer Tuesday and made Gary Peters the U.S. Monopoly champion for the second consecutive year.

″On to Berlin 3/8″ Peters exulted, holding the championship plate aloft after successfully defending his crown against four U.S. regional champions. His next stop will be the world championships in Berlin next October.

The national championship was contested at a board game table in the Regency Hotel, where the five high rollers, paper bucks at the ready, squared off early Tuesday. Each wore white tie and tails.

Monopoly at the championship level rarely goes on for more than about 90 minutes, but more than two hours of tenacious play ensued before Jeff Cornett, the Eastern champ from Monroe, Conn., went bust.

That was 9:40 a.m. and the pace of bankruptcy quickened.

Southern champ Stuart Dixon of Metairie, La., was broke at 9:44.

Midwest champ Jeffrey Oppenheimer’s luck disappeared a minute later.

Then Peters, a banker from Coral Springs, Fla., and Michael Cross, who grows potatoes in Macdoel, Calif., snapped up the last of the properties.

Peters went heavy on the reds - Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky avenues; Cross built on orange - New York and Tennessee avenues and St. James Place.

Rolls of the dice kept Peters largely clear of big hits on his bankroll, but Cross’ capital bled away.

The end came when ″Chance″ pushed Cross onto the B&O Railroad. Peters owned it. Cross didn’t have the fare. Game over at 10:10 a.m.

″Usually the orange properties seem to get landed on more. They’re supposed to be one of the most desirable properties but this time they weren’t,″ Cross commented ruefully.

Along with his championship medal, Peters picked up $5,000 in prize money from Parker Brothers, makers of Monopoly. He said he was contributing the prize to a Fort Lauderdale charity.

At the world championships in Berlin, contestants from about 30 nations will vie for $15,140, the amount of play money in the game bank.

In a companion celebrity fund-raising event Tuesday, New York Magazine editor Ed Kosner ended up with the most Monopoly money in a 30-minute time- limit game. Kosner beat out sex adviser Ruth Westheimer, columnist William Norwich and broadcasters Bob Costas and Julie Golden.

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