A casino in Monte Carlo had more than its usual international flavour this week (24 and 25 October) when players from 19 different countries exchanged millions of 'dollars' on the throw of a dice.
A casino in Monte Carlo had more than its usual international flavour this week (24 and 25 October) when players from 19 different countries exchanged millions of 'dollars' on the throw of a dice. For once, the contestants at the gaming tables weren't playing with chips. But with money. But the money wasn't really worth the paper it was printed on, for the game being played was Monopoly.
SYNOPSIS: It was in fact the 1977 World Championships - and hundreds of spectators gathered to watch the final games after a series of preliminary competitions all over he world. Monopoly is marketed in 27 countries, in 15 different language versions. But in Monte Carlo, the contestants played on the original American board, buying and selling properties in Atlantic City, the resort town in New Jersey where the games inventor had taken his holidays way back in the twenties.
But it was no holiday in Monte Carlo. The West German champion, Klaus Armbruster had to ge special permission from the West German navy, having been called up after beating all his home grown opposition. He was drawn in the final round against the Italian champion, Antonio de Luca, a 29-year-old bookkeeper and against the eventual winner, Chong Seng Kwa of Singapore.
All the competitors played in four preliminary rounds against three others, and the five people who amassed the most points played each other in a final. So keen was the competition that he organisers felt they had to have special sets of Monopoly money printed, with serial numbers to prevent cheating. Cheating might have been difficult, though, with the watchful spectators, and the closed circuit television cameras. At the end, the 31-year-old Mr. Kwa had bankrupted his four last opponents.
One of the first to congratulate him was he previous World Champion, John Mair of the Irish Republic, who in real life is a merchant banker. The final game indeed he whole tournament had lasted rather less time than longest game in Monopoly's history. That went on for a staggering 49 days. But players here were after a different prize - a five-thousand-dollar silver salver, and the title-World Champion Monopoly Player.