When Hasbro announced earlier this month that it would replace one of the eight game pieces in its classic Monopoly with a new piece to be chosen by popular vote, Phillips Lytle associate Richard Marinaccio knew what he had to do.
In 2009, Marinaccio bested 27 challengers in the game's national championships in Washington, D.C., becoming America's Monopoly champion and reaping a $20,580 prize, the amount in Monopoly's bank. And he did it with the most humble of game pieces, the thimble. Now, Marinaccio is asking Monopoly players to stand up for his favored piece, and his firm is standing behind him. On Jan. 11, the firm issued a press release to spread Marinaccio's call to give "thumbs up for the thimble."
The thimble is up against the race car, shoe, dog, battleship, top hat, iron and wheelbarrow. The piece voted least popular stands to be replaced by a cat, diamond ring, guitar, toy robot or helicopter. Votes can be cast on Monopoly's Facebook page.
Marinaccio, 30, has played Monopoly since childhood but didn't play competitively until the 2009 tournament. He said he chose the thimble because most other players favored more glamorous pieceslike the dog, race car and top hatallowing him to make the thimble his own.
Marinaccio's knack for closing deals isn't limited to the Monopoly board. As a Buffalo-based attorney, he focuses on commercial agreements, licenses and mergers and acquisitions. He earned his J.D. at the University at Buffalo Law School in 2007, where he also was publications editor of the Buffalo Law Review.
After the 2009 national Monopoly championship, Marinaccio went on to place third in the world championship in Las Vegas. Because there have been no national or worldwide Monopoly tournaments since then, Marinaccio still holds his title, which he says he will defend in the next championship.
Q: How long have you been playing competitive Mo-nopoly? How did you get into it?
A: I have been playing Monopoly since I was a little boy. I liked playing board games with my family.
Q: How much time do you spend on Monopoly?