Friday, 3 February 2017

Mastermind: Semi Final 3

As has become traditional, let’s cast a glance over the runners and riders for from round one: -  


Steven Marc Rhodes
Nicholas Hawksmoor
12
0
19
0
31
0
Ross May
The Life and work of MC Escher 
15 
0 
13 
1 
28 
1
Andrew Craig
The History of Aviation up to 1914
11
0
16
0
27
0
Michael Ward
The films of the Cohen Brothers
14
0
13
3
27
3
Pamela Culley
The Life and Novels of Elizabeth Gaskell
10
2
13
8
23
10

 I’ll make a couple of observations about this. Firstly, Steven Marc Rhodes’ outstanding GK round was the one which I stated publically that I felt like standing up and applauding. If he could repeat that level of performance in this semi, then he would really mark himself out as one of the favourites for the title this time round. The next three competitors, Ross, Andrew and Michael all seemed evenly matched. Andrew, our repechage runner up, has been this way before, and I firmly believe that experience does count for something in Mastermind since it gets easier to cope with the stress of the chair. Of all the contenders, Pamela looked the outsider, however this was mostly due to a lower score in specialist, and that’s something it’s easier to rectify than a low first round GK score. 

So to the show. Michael Ward kicked off with the group Radiohead. I’m afraid that I hardly troubled the scorer on this one, but Michael put in a good round, without necessarily managing the kind of round which would put him ahead at the half time break. 10 points – well, anything in double figures is pretty good going in a 90 second round, but you had to fancy that at least one of the others was going to be a couple of points ahead.  

Pamela Culley offered us the writer Alison Uttley. Can’t say I recall ever reading one of her books, and this was reflected in the lack of points that I accrued. Pamela too scored 10 points. Putting this in perspective, this was the same score she achieved in her first round heat, in which she had 30 seconds more time to answer questions, so that ranks in my book as a significant improvement. Yes, you play in a semi then of course you want to reach the final. However, if you can improve on your first round performance, then you really can be pleased with your performance, whichever position you might find yourself at the finish.  

Andrew Craig finished in third place in his semi final in Clive’s 2014 series. In the first round Andrew scored 11 on his specialist round. Tonight, answering on Field Marshal Montgomery, he scored 1 less, but in the context of a 90 second round that’s actually an improvement on the first round. It put him level with the two previous contenders. Both of the two semis we’ve seen previously this year have been won on GK, and the way the contest was shaping up at this point it looked likely that History would repeat itself. 

However, Ross May, answering on a Mastermind subject that’s done the rounds more than once in previous years, the films of Powell and Pressburger, whacked in an absolutely splendid perfect round of 13 next. Suddenly it looked as if the triumvirate of 10s were facing a significant mountain to climb in the GK round. Ross’ 13 was only 2 points down on his 15 in the first round heats – and that was a terrific performance in its own right. As he walked back to his chair, the question seemed to be whether the final contender of the evening, Steven Marc Rhodes could get close to his score. 

The answer was soon provided with a resounding affirmative. Steven’s round on Herbert Howells (yes, you’re correct, he is known as Herbert Who? In LAM Towers) was every bit as successful as Ross’ had been. 13 and no passes made him my half time favourite, bearing in mind the difference between his and Ross’ GK scores in their heats. Of course, a Mastermind show is rarely over bar the shouting by half time. 

The way that the first round had worked out had the unusual result that each contender returned to the chair in same order for the GK round as they had for the specialists. So first back was Michael. Now, I did make the point on several occasions that I felt that the GK rounds in the first round heats were somewhat easier than I’d been expecting. Well, I think that there was a definite raising of the bar in terms of the level of difficulty of the questions in this semi. Michael struggled manfully with his round, picking off what he did know, coming up with guesses for what he didn’t, and passing when all else failed. However he’d only accrued 8 by the end. That’s perfectly respectable, but 18 was just not going to be a winning score tonight.  

Pamela Culley began her round on GK in pretty decent form, if truth be told. She was listening intently, and snapping out the answers that she knew with haste. However the questions to which she didn’t know or couldn’t remember the answers began to accrue. Pamela’s tactic was to pass pretty quickly when the answer didn’t come. That’s a perfectly valid tactic, but it does run the risk of falling into a pass spiral. Once you’ve said that word ‘pass’ once in a round it becomes easier and more tempting to say it again and again and again. In the end Pamela finished with a total of 16. 

Andrew Craig had the second highest GK round in the first round of all tonight’s contenders with 16. The questions being of the level they were in that round, it made it difficult to say how good a score of, let’s say, 13 actually was. Any score of 15 or over, though, really had to be taken seriously as a GK score. I don’t think that Andrew’s 10 in his GK round tonight was quite of the same level of performance. It was still pretty good, though, and was our first double figure score of the evening More importantly it put him into the lead, and with the two leaders needing at least 7 answers at least it provided them with some level of challenge.

For the first minute of his round it looked like a challenge that Ross was going to struggle to meet. However ina  reversal of the more common state of affairs, the second minute of his round was rather better than the first, and he began to pick up momentum. He was going to pass Andrew’s score, and the only question that remained to be answered was how difficult a target was he going to be able to set for Steven? In the end he scored 9 and 3 passes. Therefore 9 and 2 passes was the minimum total needed for Steve to win outright. In the context of Steven’s GK performance in the heats, then that looked a given. However, first round form can be deceptive as we well know. 

It was close, as John said when the round was over. Yes indeed, although while I was watching the round it didn’t seem that close. I always felt that Steven was ahead of the clock, and in the end I was surprised that he only beat the target by one. But at the end of the day, one point is enough. Let’s be honest, one pass is enough. So if Steven didn’t hit the heights he had hit in the heats, well, what does it matter. The fact is that he won, and earned his place in the Grand Final. Very well done sir, and the best of luck in the final.  

The Details 

Michael Ward
Radiohead
10
0
8
3
18
3
Pamela Culley
Alison Uttley
10
0
6
5
16
5
Andrew Craig
Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery
10
0
10
1
20
1
Ross May
The Films of Powell and Pressburger
13
0
9
3
22
3
Steven Marc Rhodes
Herbert Howells
13
0
10
0
23
0


5 comments:

Liam Holton said...

Could Shaun be ready to hand over his title of most recent barrister to win? Steve does have winning potential

Londinius said...

Not only last barrister to win, but only barrister, I believe. Look, Steven is in the final, and that's the first essential. If you're in the final, of course you could win it.

Will G said...

Hi, Dave. The Stats you posted for Pamela Culley at the top were actually from her 1st round appearance in the 2013-14 series. This time her 1st round stats were 11-2-16-3 (according to LAM).

Londinius said...

D'Oh! Thanks Will - I'll amend

Liam Holton said...

The finalists are in good shape so far