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PostSubject: Monopoly tournament brings together old, new friends   Monopoly tournament brings together old, new friends EmptyMon Feb 11, 2013 8:31 pm

Monopoly tournament brings together old, new friends 511705b66eae0.preview-300

BISMARCK, N.D. - “Get out of jail free” is a popular card in the game of Monopoly, which provides an easy escape for any unlucky player who has been sitting in jail. On an icy February morning, families got out of the cold for $10.

The eighth annual Monopoly tournament was held Saturday at Sunrise Elementary School. Grades 4-8, 9-12 and adults competed for prizes including an overnight stay at the Seven Seas, dinner for two and gift cards to Best Buy, Walmart and Starbucks.

Businesses donated prizes to Junior Achievement, a nonprofit organization that provides programs and learning opportunities for students K-12. Best Buy also contributed video games for students to play when they were finished with a game, and the Bismarck Aero Center and BPS Career Academy brought flight simulators. Lunch was also provided.

Chad Schmidt and his son, Nathan, were newcomers to the tournament. Schmidt said he and Nathan prepared for the tournament by holding two game nights at their household and inviting Nathan’s friends to play the game.

In the first round, Nathan said he was doing well, but with five minutes left in the game he had to pay an opponent over $1,000. While he didn’t win a first place prize, he still received a Hardees gift card for owning the most properties.

“It was awesome,” Nathan said. “I would definitely come back.”

Schmidt agreed. While his son competed in the 4-8 category, he played in the adult tournament. Schmidt enjoyed talking with and getting to know the other players at his table. His strategy to buy as many properties as possible did not give him the win he needed in the first round, but he hoped to redeem himself in the second round.

Schmidt said he felt appreciative to Junior Achievement, an organization he used to volunteer for and a program that has visited his son’s classroom.

“Junior Achievement is a very awesome organization,” Schmidt said. “Without Junior Achievement in town, I think we would have a big hole in some of the education these students get.”

Another player, Jeff Pitcher, competed in the 9-12 category. Pitcher began playing in the tournament five years ago when a friend brought him and said the “love of Monopoly” brings him back each year.

“I always loved the game,” Pitcher said, “and I’m happy to support Junior Achievement.”

Keith Schmaltz, the board chairman of Junior Achievement, has been volunteering for the past seven years. He teaches fourth-grade students around the community. The fourth-grade curriculum for the 2012-13 school year covers the topic of entrepreneurship. Schmaltz sees a connection between what he teaches and the game of Monopoly.

“I think it’s all about being able to run a business and managing money,” Schmaltz said. “There are risks and rewards. It also covers finances and the value of property.”

Sally Paulson, the program director at Junior Achievement, said the organization is happy to provide an opportunity for families to spend a day together enjoying each other’s company and the company of new friends.

“I think my favorite part is watching how intense the players get, and there’s something for everybody,” Paulson said.

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