9-Year-Old Organizes Millionaires Tournament

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New Rochelle -- PhotoOkay, so it is for make-believe millionaires. And the participants are second-to-fifth graders at a local elementary school in Westchester. But the stakes are high – and it is all for a good cause.

Ben Feinblum, a third-grader at Davis Elementary School in New Rochelle (home to some real millionaires), has loved playing Monopoly ever since his father taught him. He decided to turn his passion into a purpose and came up with the idea of holding a Monopoly tournament. When he approached his school’s first- year principal, Michael Galland, the contest was immediately embraced and they decided to use an entrance fee of $10 as a fundraiser for the school’s Parent Teacher Association.

“In an era of video games, streaming video, and tablets, it may seem hard to believe kids still play board games, but there has been a resurging interest in classic games like Monopoly,” says his dad, Brian. “Ben likes to play for hours and will even help a losing opponent just to extend the game. I was shocked when he beat me.”

Ben says he’d like to see some of the money raised go towards getting new textbooks. He hopes to make it an annual event and extend it to other schools throughout Westchester.

“I like the idea of being rich and Monopoly gives me an early chance of what it feels like to own property, make deals, and compete,” says Ben.

Laura, Ben’s mom, is proud of his passion-inspired gumption to launch the tournament. “He is always discussing things he’d like to invent or conquer, so the tournament is a good outlet for that energy and creativity,” she says.

As much as Ben enjoys buying up Boardwalk and Park Place, his little sister, Olivia, six, runs the other way whenever he plays the game or even talks about it obsessively. “I hate Monopoly,” utters the kindergartner.” Before long even she could be a convert.

The maker of Monopoly, Hasbro, when contacted about the tournament, agreed to donate several game sets.

The event was held from Noon to 2:30 pm at Davis Elementary School on Sunday, June 1, 2014. For more information, please contact brianfeinblum@gmail.com or 1-914-462-2038.

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