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Ploy knocks New Zealand out of the play

NEW YORK -- New Zealand went bankrupt to win.

But, as some corporations have found, the gambit does not always pay off. New Zealand's 'slightly unethical ploy' failed and it was bounced from the Sixth World Monopoly Championship.

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Competing in New York since Sunday, players driven by Monopoly mania were expected to square off in Atlantic City today at the fabled Boardwalk and Park Place.

The reigning champ, a real estate agent from Australia, finished third in the semifinals Monday, trailing fellow monopolists from England and Peru, but nosing out competition from Austria and Japan.

The five semi-finalists in the bi-annual bout organized by Parker Brothers, makers of the board game, have their eyes set on the championship prize -- a Monopoly game set with real cash.

Yoshinobu Minami, a 20-year-old economics student from Tokyo, rolled his way to the most dramatic comeback in the semifinals, moving into fifth place from 13th place on Sunday, said Lauren Stager, tournament spokeswoman.

'But New Zealand made the most unusual play,' Stager said. 'He tried to bankrupt himself to end the game sooner because he figured his standing point-wise was such that the sooner the game ended the better he would be.'

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But alas, poor Craig Porter of Te Puke, New Zealand, outsmarted himself and lost his bid to be Mr. Monopoly.

'The judges ruled the play was legal, if not slightly unethical,' Stager said. 'It just didn't work.'

Porter joined the other 14 players who will have to watch today as the semifinalists go head to head at the Palace Theatre of the Claridge Hotel.

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