Page last updated at 19:35 GMT, Friday, 23 October 2009 20:35 UK

Norwegian named Monopoly champion

Bjorn Halvard Knappskog wins the World Monopoly Championship in Las Vegas, Australia (22 October 2009)
Mr Knappskog said he would spend his winnings on a helicopter ride

A 19-year-old Norwegian is $20,580 (£12,200) richer - in real money - after sweeping the board at the World Monopoly Championships in Las Vegas.

Bjorn Halvard Knappskog, playing with the iron, beat rivals from 41 countries to take the prize money - equal to a game's bank reserves.

It took him just over 40 minutes to beat the battleship brandished by Geoff Christopher of New Zealand.

He said he was "the most surprised you could ever be" after his victory.

"I think this was a really good final. It was the best game I played in the whole tournament," Mr Knappskog told the Associated Press in the ballroom of the Caesar's Palace hotel.

The players, using the Atlantic City version of the game, were all champions in their home countries.

Translators were on hand to help the competitors stick to the rules and negotiate property deals.

Additional rules and an extra "speed dice" meant the game was over rather more quickly than the average contest.

'Nimble Thimble'

Oleg Korostelev, 24, from Russia was first out of the game, followed by Rick Marinaccio, shattering the 26-year-old US lawyer's hopes of becoming the first US champion.

Final game in the Monopoly World Championship in Las Vegas, US (22 October 2009)
The tense final in Las Vegas lasted only 41 minutes

After a series of swaps and purchases some of the hundreds of spectators considered risky, Mr Knappskog finally rendered his New Zealand rival bankrupt with a $1,600 rent demand on North Carolina Avenue.

Mr Christopher, known to his supporters as the "Nimble Thimble", said his usual strategy of "accumulate, negotiate and dominate" had not worked this time.

"I thought I'd got myself into a really good position, but the dice didn't really go my way," he told Radio New Zealand.

"The guy that won it had a huge bankroll. I was just sitting there with a few houses on my orange set and he ended up finishing me off."

Monopoly was first launched in 1935, with the championship running periodically since 1973.

Mr Knappskog said he would spend his prize money - equivalent to the total reserves of the Monopoly bank in each game - on a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon before returning home to Oslo.

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