Friday, 15 February 2013

Mastermind - First Round Review

Here’s a look at the table then, of all the qualifiers for the semi-finals. It’s been a little complicated for me, because there seems to have been a change of qualification rules. Regular readers may remember that Jon Kelly, the previous producer, said that only those coming second in their heats would be eligible for runner up slots. However from things which have been said in other places I gather that Chris Quinn qualified, which could only happen if third place finishers with high enough scores could now qualify, as it was in Magnus’ day. So working on that principle, this is how I make the table.

The first figure is the overall score, and the second the overall passes. Third comes the GK score, and last the GK passes.

Now, the first thing I have to say is how delighted I am that two friends, Roger Canwell and Rachael Neiman are both so high up the table . It doesn’t guarantee anyone a place in the final, but it suggests that they have a good chance, providing they’re not drawn against each other.

There are a lot of high scoring GK rounds up there. Noticeably far more of them occurred in the first half of the series, and it certainly seemed to me that the first round was rather top heavy. I’d like to draw your attention to a couple of names in the middle of the table. Both Mark Grant and Chris Quinn produced great GK rounds after doing less well than they’d hoped on specialist. I can’t see either of them scoring so modestly on Specialist again, but I can definitely see them doing so well on GK. Anyone in their semis is in with a serious fight, and you’d be a very, very brave person to bet against Mark becoming the first person to reach three Mastermind finals. I don't want to ruin his chances by saying how well I think he'll do, but certainly he is one to watch. Likewise Chris. Either of them could go a very long way. Mind you, to be honest, if you look at the GK marks of the top 8 or 9 there's no duffers there at all.

What can we predict with any certainty? Only that there are going to be surprises. As always we won't really know until we see how well they all cope with the demands of learning a second specialist subject, and that's something which has caused people who have done really well in the first round to come a cropper in the semis before. Now, I don't know if this is true now, but in Magnus' day the idea was to make the questions a bit harder for the semis, to sort out the wheat from the chaff as it were, then make them a bit easier for the grand final to produce an exciting contest. Harder questions can change everything. So again, there's no guarantee that the 6 finalists will all come from the top positions in this table.

Congratulations though to Andrew Frazer, who heads the table. You don’t win anything for having the best score in the first round, but it was a might impressive performance all the same.

1 comment:

Horsey_Heroes11 said...

Hi Dave,

I’ve had a detailed look at the scores this series and compared them to the last 2 (the ones since the GK round was increased to 2.5 mins) and have noticed a very different pattern of scoring this year…

If we look at the 10/11 season, then the average scores for the first round were 12.5 for SS and 11.4 for GK.

For the 11/12 season, average scores were 12.3 for SS and 10.9 for GK.

So scores were slightly lower in 11/12 but the SS/GK split was about the same, with SS accounting for about 53% of total scores.

However, the averages for this season have been 11.1 for SS and 12.7 for GK – a total reversal, with SS now only accounting for 47% of total scores.

My own experience of playing along at home suggests that GK rounds have been a bit easier this year (and the average scores reflect this.) It’s obviously difficult to know if SS has been made harder – and in fact, I don’t believe so but I do think SS questions have been longer than before. This is reflected in the fact that nobody this season scored more than 16 in SS, whereas in 10/11 we had one score of 19, and 4 scores each of 17 & 18. And in 11/12 we had 3 scores of 18 and 5 scores of 17.

I haven’t kept track of the number of questions asked, but it seemed that a number of times we saw someone have a “perfect” SS round but only score 14 or 15 – I don’t think that used to happen before.

I wonder if the new production team made a deliberate decision to increase the bias towards GK this season?