Arthur Chu watched his impressive 11-game Jeopardy win streak end Wednesday, as the #ChuChuTrain was finally derailed due to cynicism.
Seriously. That was the word that finally did him in.
His official winnings were $298,200 ($297,200 in 11 wins and a $1,000 third-place prize last night) good enough for third all-time in the game show's history.
Only Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter have won more.
"So close to $300,000. That hurt. I wanted to make it. But I was $1,800 short. I can make $1,800 someplace else," said Chu, who appears on Good Morning America today.
"It's been an amazing run," he said, adding of his incredible stretch, "This last couple of months has been one of the coolest experiences of my life."
Chu actually only spent three days taping in November; his 11 wins were spaced out, TV-wise, for more than a month because of Jeopardy! tournaments.
That allowed the legend of the #ChuChuTrain to grow on Twitter, along with his unorthodox style, hopping all over the game board in search of Daily Doubles.
Furiously thumbing the buzzer, interrupting Alex Trebek and making wagers based on game theory and not random thought, he became a sensation.
He often waged all he had and doubled up ... though once he bet $5 in a Sports Daily Double, and quickly dispensed with the answer by saying "I don't know."
Chu said fatigue took a toll on him.
What most people don't know is that Jeopardy! tapes only on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. His first four wins were on a Wednesday and he went home.
Then he returned the following Tuesday from Ohio to defend his crown. On that day, he won five straight games. Then returned Wednesday for more.
"At one point, I was kind of mad because Alex is like, 'Our champion Arthur had two weeks to rest.' No I didn't," he pointed out. "I had NO time to rest."
Chu, always the strategist, thinks his conqueror, Diana Peloquin, a grad student from Ann Arbor, Mich., got an edge from watching him in the audience.
"I have to admit that a lot of my strength came from many people being intimidated by the number of wins I had. But she came right up. She was not intimidated," he said.
"She said, 'No matter what happens, it was a huge privilege to watch you.'"
That fateful "cynicism" answer, in which he wagered all $7,600 he had?
In the category of philosophy, the clue: "Antisthenes began this -ism with the view that self-interest is the primary motivator of human behavior."
Chu replied "What is egoism?" It was cynicism. And with that, it was over.
Well, until next season, when he OWNS the Tournament of Champions.