Two weeks ago, on a rainy Sunday night in Wheaton, Md., 52 people came to a good luckbon voyage party for Dana Terman. And he says he thought to himself at the time, "I've become a slight celebrity."
By Tuesday, Terman, 22, had added a bit to his fame, though less than if he had achieved his goal: the world championship of Monopoly. Terman, a June graduate of the University of Maryland and the American Monopoly champ, finished sixth, one point shy of qualifying for the finals in the tournament sponsored here by Parker Bros, makers of the game.
Although his rivals were 18 national champions and the reigning world champ, Terman is no stranger to rigorous competition. In fact, claims to relish it.
"I'm a games fanatic," he said before play began on Monday. "I'm a master duplicate bridge player, a better than average backgammon, chess and poker player, and I guess I'm not too bad a monopoly player."
But his kind of Monopoly, world class Monopoly if you will, is quite different from the kitchen table variety.
"There's a different mental approach to the game. Tournament Monopoly is very seriuos Monopoly. I've studied the game. I've read all the books. I've memorized all the odds and spent time practicing different strategies. With the kitchen table version of the game, you play just for the fun of it. I came here for fun, but I also came with the idea in my head that I wanted very much to win."
Winning at tournament monopoly, he says, means a combination of talents. Besides shrewness and imagination. he feels you also need something that might be called "natural game sense."
Terman is the son of a retired GSA employee, Frederick Terman, and his wife, Gladys. They came with him to Monaco they said to bring him luck, but he hedged his bet and throughout the tournament carried in his shirt pocket a wishbone his mother had painted red.
Throughout his college career he worked at odd jobs, as fascinated with them as he was with games.He went from one to another because he wanted a varied experience. A month ago he took his first full time job as assistant manager at Arthur Treacher's Fish and Chips restaurant in Hyattsville. He worked there two weeks when he asked for a vacation to come to Monaco.
He notes that while he may manage Monopoly money well he can't say the same for his own money. "I've have so little. But then I'm not necessarily interested in money. I think I'm looking for something that is creative and inventive. I think I want something that has intrinsic value beyond frying fish."