The 'Rubin bounce': Local man recalls creating strategy

ST. LOUIS - A St. Louis CEO is in the spotlight for a strategy he devised. But it's not a business strategy. It's a plan to win the game show "Jeopardy!" and it's working.

Donn Rubin is the CEO of BioStL. Thirty years ago, while in law school, he came up with a "Jeopardy!" strategy called the "Rubin bounce," that's being used successfully by the current champion.

"The Rubin bounce has become part of 'Jeopardy!' lore," said Rubin.

Thirty years ago when Rubin was a law student at the University of Michigan, a fellow law student named Chuck Forrest asked Rubin to help him prepare for the very first "Jeopardy!" Tournament of Champions.

As a joke, the future lawyers drew up a contract, giving Rubin one half of one percent of any tournament winnings Forrest might get.

"I would be Chuck's opponent, sort of a sparring partner if you will, and I invented spontaneously the 'Rubin bounce' in order to keep him off-balance and beat him," said Rubin.

Forrest used the "Rubin bounce" strategy to win the tournament. Instead of choosing question after question in the same category, contestants bounce from category to category to keep opponents off balance.

"Chuck wrote a book a few years after he was on, called "Secrets of the Jeopardy! Champion," and he talks about the 'Rubin bounce,'" said Rubin.

Which brings us to current Jeopardy! champ Arthur Chu, who discovered the "Rubin bounce" on the internet.

Chu has frustrated "Jeopardy!" fans and opponents, "Rubin-bouncing" his way to more than $260,000 in winnings.

"It turns out, my cousin went to college with Arthur and put us together, and we've got some exchanges about bounce and about strategy," said Rubin. "This is my 15 seconds of fame right now. Thanks a lot Channel 5!"

Rubin tried out for "Jeopardy!" but wasn't chosen.

Forrest is still competing on "Jeopardy!" in the current battle of the decades, representing the 1980s.

Long live the "Rubin bounce."


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