A chemical engineer from Chatham, New Jersey...

Vijay Balse

How did winning on Jeopardy! change your life?
Yes, winning on Jeopardy! has made a big difference to my life. I--I get recognition in the streets, and it's nice to get some appreciation for all of the things, uh, that I was able to show on the show, so...

What are you asked most often when people find out that you're a Jeopardy! champ?
Uh, most of the time people ask me when I'm--when they find out that I'm a Jeopardy! champ, "How is Alex Trebek?"--you know? And I get to say, "Yeah, he's a very nice guy, and he's a--he's a lot of fun, he's a great sense of humor," so it's nice to be able to give back some of what I got from the show.

What did you do with your winnings from your original appearance?
Oh, I've not really thought about it, but my wife I'm sure will think of something about my winnings, so...

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How long did it take you to become a Jeopardy! contestant?
Uh, 16 years. Well, the first time, I think it was--I don't know if Jeopardy! was shooting on this lot back in 1993, but that's where I came--I came to the Jeopardy! studio, took the test, passed it, but didn't get the call. Then the next three times, I went to Atlantic City. It was in Merv Griffin's Resorts. They used to have these ten--or three-minute, ten-question games followed by a 50-question test, so I passed that three times. And then, after that, I think it became--they stopped coming to Atlantic City, and I stopped trying out because the odds of getting a lottery drawing in your favor were very slim. But once the online test came along, that really helped my chances, because it took basically ten minutes to take the test, and then whether or not you got the call, it was not a waste of time or money or energy, so that was wonderful. The online test was really a--a great method for getting contestants interested and able to get onto the show, so...

How did the Tournament of Champions compare to your original run?
Well, it's obviously--y'know, the--just being here is--you feel really fortunate, and what I really liked was, although everybody's trying to get that prize, everybody was very nice to each other, so it was--there was a feeling of camaraderie. You know, we try to--we were nice to each other throughout waiting in the green room, playing on the stage, so it--it really felt nice, and all of them supported me in my quest to get to the--to get to this, uh, position, so... Uh, y'know, it--it--it's nice being respected by all of your friends. I mean, they become your friends after awhile. And, it's--it's really a--it's like a part of a family. And I'll always have memories of this as one of my special moments in my life, so...

How did you feel going into the final game?
Well, I was hoping I would have luck with the buzzer. It didn't work out that well, because Stefan was really beating me, and Jason also was doing much better than I was on the buzzer, and thankfully, I was able to get, as you pointed out, the last question on J.S. Bach, that made the difference. Had I not gotten it, or had somebody else gotten in, I would have, uh, not been standing here now, so...

How did you determine your Final Jeopardy! wager?
Well, because there are two games, and I was in the middle position, I think if you're in number one position, then it doesn't matter, because you just need to cover the person nearest to you, but in my case, I had to figure out what Stefan was likely to bet, and try to make sure that I wagered enough so that if he got it wrong, I would be in a position to beat him if I got it right. So, both of those things had to click for me to win. So... Yeah, it took me quite a--maybe ten, fifteen minutes--I don't know how long--to make the wager, but finally I just rounded off the number to $5,000 just to keep it simple, so...

You just won $250,000. How will you spend it?
Certainly it'll help buy a home, I think. That's the--that's the biggest thing I can think of. Uh, but, and I think my wife has some plans for buying... I don't know. See, I'm sure she'll come up with something, so... My wife Jayshree, by the way, so...

Congratulations on winning the 2010 Tournament of Champions!

2014 Battle of the Decades invitee: $5,000.
2010 Tournament of Champions winner: $250,000.
Season 26 4-time champion: $82,400 + $2,000.

Last name pronounced like "BALL-say".

Vijay appeared in the following 4 archived games:
#5925, aired 2010-05-21 Jason Zollinger vs. Vijay Balse vs. Stefan Goodreau 2010 Tournament of Champions final game 2.
#5924, aired 2010-05-20 Jason Zollinger vs. Vijay Balse vs. Stefan Goodreau 2010 Tournament of Champions final game 1.
#5923, aired 2010-05-19 Justin Bernbach vs. Andy Srinivasan vs. Vijay Balse 2010 Tournament of Champions semifinal game 3.
#5920, aired 2010-05-14 Vijay Balse vs. Stefan Goodreau vs. Jason Zollinger 2010 Tournament of Champions quarterfinal game 5.
Vijay previously appeared on Jeopardy! as Vijay Balse in the following 5 archived games:
#5873, aired 2010-03-10 Vijay Balse vs. Cyd Musni vs. Kyle Mathews Vijay Balse game 5.
#5872, aired 2010-03-09 Vijay Balse vs. Becki Norris vs. Shelby Sadler Vijay Balse game 4.
#5871, aired 2010-03-08 Vijay Balse vs. Kirby Nelson vs. Karen Hoffman Vijay Balse game 3.
#5870, aired 2010-03-05 Vijay Balse vs. Todd Aiello vs. Miriam Carson Vijay Balse game 2.
#5869, aired 2010-03-04 Jordan Brand vs. Vijay Balse vs. Ann Rusthoven Vijay Balse game 1.
Vijay would later appear on Jeopardy! as Vijay Balse in the following archived game:
#6807, aired 2014-04-01 Vijay Balse vs. Roger Craig vs. Stephanie Jass Battle of the Decades: The 2000s game 2.

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