Friday, 30 August 2019

Mastermind 2020 First round - heat 4

Nice to see you. Well, even though we were UC-less this week, thankfully we still had Mastermind to take up the slack.

Now, one of the things I can’t help doing, even though it’s pointless really to do so, is trying to work out what has gone wrong with a contender’s specialist round when they only achieve a low score. Without wishing to be horrible, that’s what this heat kicked off with. Wendy Morrison, answering on the life of Napoleon Bonaparte, scored 4. Now, to me it seemed that the questions almost exclusively focused on his military career, and ignored other aspects of his life – his two marriages, for example, and his political career, and I’d guess that Wendy hadn’t prepared this aspect of his life thoroughly enough. However, at the end of the round we also saw her almost, yet not quite, answer what may well have been the easiest question of the round, which may well have been through stress caused by what had happened in the rest of the round. I scored a decent 6 in a show in which all 4 specialists seemed to offer something.

Now, over 40 years ago I read and loved the Chronicles of Narnia, which was the subject offered to us by Eve Devlin. That, though, was a very long time ago.  So again, I was pleased to dredge up a few answers to push my total onwards. Eve, though, far outshone this. In fact I did think that her round was slightly better than the 10 points she scored – I was surprised when the transparent line of death had almost completed its circuit just as John began the question which would bring her 10th point. A good round.

Not as good, though, as Vik Bansal’s round on the Life and Career of Andre Agassi. This was a calm and assured performance, and Vik obviously really knew his stuff. In fact his performance had all the hallmarks of a perfect round, until the very last question, and this was enough to give him the lead with an excellent 10 points. It also took me to 15, meaning that I needed just 2 correct answers on the final round to set a new highest specialist aggregate for this series.

I fancied my chances as well, bearing in mind that Kris Jones, our final contender, was offering us National Flags. That’s a very special subject indeed. Not quite a decade ago, the great Jesse Honey set an all time Mastermind record round score on Flags with 23 points. Well, the nature of the questions now mean that there is just no way that you could possibly get through 23 questions, so there was no chance of Kris Jones doing that. Kris’ suffered, I though, from having good knowledge of what’s actually on the flag, without having very good knowledge about the things on the flag themselves, or how they got there, or who put them there. As a result he scored 6, but was too far behind the leader to have a realistic chance in the GK. As for me, 8 brought me a new record aggregate total for this series of 23.

So to the GK, which was, to all intents and purposes, a two horse race. Prior to that though, Wendy Morrison had a chance to show us her mettle. John jocularly reminded her that there was plenty of time to race through into the lead, but as I’ve said before, I wish he wouldn’t make these comments, because all it does is to remind the contender in the chair that he or she had a bad first round. Wendy had a very good GK round as it happened. Which in one way is very nice, but in another way it must have left her thinking about what might have been. It wasn’t quite the case with Kris Jones’ round. Kris himself managed double figures, but he scored 10, which crucially left him a point behind Wendy.

With all due respect, though, this was just the sideshow, or the precursor to the main event. For Eve Devlin it was crucial to set the bar as high as possible. Once again, her round wasn’t bad. She scored 9, which was decent, but it left Vik needing only 8 answers for an outright win, and that’s not quite enough to put a good contender into the corridor of doubt, I would argue.

Finally Vik, then. Now, this was another of those rounds which looked better than the score would suggest. Vik never looked in danger of not getting enough points, especially in the first minute of the round during which I felt he was headed for a score in the teens. The last minute wasn’t quite so good, as Vik picked up a couple of wrong answers and a couple of passes, and seemed a little slower and more hesitant with his answers. Nonetheless he’d already achieved the target, and pushed on to score 11 points which gave him a final total of 23. Well played, sir, and best of luck in the semis.

The Details

Wendy Morrison
The Life of Napoleon Bonaparte
Eve Devlin
C.S.Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia
Vik Bansal
The Life and Career of Andre Agassi
Kris Jones
National Flags

1 comment:

Keshava said...

An enjoyable episode with a nice range of specialist subjects.
No disrespect to Vik Bansal who deserved his win – he was well prepared and very good on GK too – but I thought that a pretty soft set of questions on Agassi, especially by comparison to the Narnia set that preceded it.