Bjørn from Oslo wins first MONOPOLY World Champion

Here is Bjørn when he won the Norwegian Championship in April, 2009. PHOTO: KARL BRAANAAS /

In the fastest final game in MONOPOLY World Championships history, Bjørn Halvard Knappskog a 19-year-old student from Oslo, Norway became the youngest MONOPOLY World Champion, in the final game of a two-day tournament at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

As the winner of the 2009 MONOPOLY World Championships, Knappskog secured international bragging rights and a prize of $20,580 USD, the equivalent of the “bank” in a standard MONOPOLY game.

As the 16th seeded player entering the 16 player semi-finals, he triumphed over three returning world champion players, Germany, Australia, and Spain, who was the reigning World Champion.

In the final game, Knappskog played against Richard Marinaccio (United States), Oleg Korostelev (Russia) and Geoff Christopher (New Zealand). Early in the game, Bjørn traded a red property for a light blue property, which gave him ownership of the light blue property group and he immediately built hotels on each property, giving him the cash he needed to get ahead in the game. Russia was the first player to go bankrupt, and was quickly followed by the player from the United States.

In the intense final battle between New Zealand and Norway, the final play of the game came down to the Speed Die, which was used for the first time in competition this year. New Zealand rolled the dice and landed on Pacific Avenue, which had three houses, and also rolled a MR. MONOPOLY on the Speed Die, which automatically landed him on North Carolina Avenue, which had two houses. New Zealand did not have enough in cash or assets to pay the $1,600 in rent on both properties and went bankrupt, resulting in the win for Norway.

“This was the best game in the tournament for me,” said Knappskog. “This is my first professional tournament and it was fun just to be here. I was really happy to be here whether I won or lost, but I’m also very happy to have won.”

“We are thrilled to welcome Bjørn to the short, but distinguished list of MONOPOLY World Champions,” said Helen Martin, Global Brand Leader for MONOPOLY Brand. “From the first roll of the die, he proved to be a focused competitor and was able to beat experienced MONOPOLY tournament players!”

The first MONOPOLY World Championship tournament took place at Grossinger’s Resort in New York in 1973. Since that time, 12 MONOPOLY tycoons have earned the title of World Champion, hailing from United States, Ireland, Singapore, Italy, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Japan, Netherlands, Hong Kong and Spain.

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