Saturday, 30 March 2013

Mastermind Grand Final Preview

Well, weren’t those semifinals full of surprises? I’ll be honest, if you’d twisted my arm and asked me to write a list of 6 predicted finalists based on prior knowledge and/or first round performance it wouldn’t have borne a huge amount of similarity to this one. Just goes to show how much I know. Let’s have a look at the table, then, shall we?

The Details

Name1st total1st passesSemi totalSemi passSemi GK
John Savage250210 13
Paul Whittaker 27 221210
Didier Bruyère27 119010
Andrew Frazer35 021010
Sian West 26021211
Aidan McQuade246 21110

There’s two things I want to say about this table. Firstly, aren’t those semifinal performances close? No less than 5 scores of 21. The other was only 2 points less. The last figure represents the semifinal GK score. Now, secondly, we have to remember that these were 2 minute rather than 2 and a half minute rounds, but even so, with the exception of John Savage, nobody managed to get into the teens. John, you’ll remember, came from fifth at half time to win his semi on the back of that GK round. Does that give him an advantage going into the final? Maybe so. However in both first round and semi he didn’t post a massive score in the specialist round. If he’s trailing at halfway he may find it too much of a gap to make up at this stage. Andrew scored a magnificent 19 on GK in the first round heat. I did say in my preview that I have a sneaking suspicion that harder GK rounds are prepared for the semis, and maybe the final sees them revert to the same level as the first round. In which case Andrew seems like a decent shout to run well. I haven’t mentioned Didier Bruyère yet. Didier is a very highly ranked quizzer – but he has the handicap of playing in what is not his own first language. Which makes it all the more remarkable what he has achieved so far. Does this mean that he can’t win the final though? Absolutely not. Sian West, Paul Whitaker, and Aidan McQuade all scored as well as John and Andrew in their semis. Sian West could well become our first lady champion since Nancy in 2009, although I will say that her round of 14 on GK in the first round heat worries me a little. The same caveat applies even more for Paul and Aidan, who scored respectively 12 and 9 in their first round GK.

Alright then, for what it’s worth, this is what I think. I see Andrew, John and Didier being on the podium, although I wouldn’t like to say which step each will be standing upon. However this series has been so full of surprises that anyone could do it. I congratulate each contender on reaching the final and wish good luck to all of them.


dxdtdemon said...

Just out of curiosity, what is the record for the largest margin of victory in a Mastermind final?

Londinius said...

Hi dxdtdemon,

Right - I'll be honest with you, I don't have figures for the Magnus Magnusson era, so what I say only counts for the Humphrys era - 2003 to the present day.

The lowest margin of victory for a Humphrys era final came in 2004, when Shaun Wallace won on pass countback - 24 and 0 passes as against 24 and 2 passes. My 2008 final came next, where I won by a point from the excellent Derek Moody, - 30 and 0 against 29 and 0. The Highest margin of victory of the Humphrys era came in 2006, when Geoff Thomas won by a staggering 12 points from Ray Eaton - 36 - 0 against 24 - 0. That is the only double figures margin so far in the modern era.

Will G said...

Out of interest, can you tell me what the round split is in the final? I've always thought the past 2 years had been 2 and 2, but other sources have had it at 2 and 2.30.

Londinius said...

Hi Will G, and welcome to LAM

It's a little complicated since they first started lengthening and shortening rounds in 2010, but the final then was a standard 2 and 2, which is when Jesse set the Humphrys era 2 and 2 record for the regular series.In 2011 it switched to 2 and 2 and a half for the final. I think it was 2 and a half minutes for GK again last year, but I'm willing to be contradicted if that wasn't the case.

Will G said...

Thanks. And thanks for the welcome
I'll try and listen more carefully to JH on Friday.
For what it's worth, I'll predict a didier win with 32points (17 SS, 15 GK).

dxdtdemon said...

Thank you. I don't think that Andrew is 12 points better than Didier, so Geoff Thomas should keep his record, especially since I think we will see a much better Didier. He reminds me of many of the quizbowl teammates I had who were non-native English speakers. It's surprising how rapidly they go from needing to confer on almost every question to being the best scorer on the team by far. I think that Will G has a reasonable prediction for how Didier will so, but I'll guess that he does 17 and 17.

Londinius said...

I wouldn't like to predict the scores. By the time of the Grand Final you find that some contenders grow in strength, finding that increased familiarity with the demands of the black chair means that they can perform with more confidence and fewer nerves. On the other hand some contenders clearly seem to have reached the proverbial end of the road by the time of the final, and don't produce the form they showed in the first round and semi. I wouldn't like to predict which finalists will fall into which category this time round.

Andrew B. said...

Quite a few of the margins of victory can be found in Magnus's book about the programme "I've Started, So I'll Finish" - the winners; margins (where given) or, failing that, the best description (if any) of the margin given; and winning scores (where given) are:

1972: Nancy Wilkinson by 2 (37)
1973: Patricia Owen "decisively"
1974: Elizabeth Horrocks by 1 (21)
1975: John Hart by 3 (29)
1976: Roger Pritchard
1977: David Hunt "romped home" (37)
1978: Rosemary James
1979: Philip Jenkins "decisive win"
1980: Fred Housego by at most 2 (33)
1981: Leslie Grout "held off a stiff challenge"
1982 (Champion of Champions): David Hunt by 5 (28)
1983: Christopher Hughes "with deceptive ease"
1984: Margaret Harris by 3 (38)
1985: Ian Meadows (30)
1986: Jennifer Keaveney (40)
1987: Jeremy Bradbrooke by "a couple" (33)
1988: David Beamish by 2 (35)
1989: Mary-Elizabeth Raw by 1 (33)
1990: David Edwards by 3 (37)
1991: Stephen Allen (35)
1992: Steve Williams by 1 (34)
1993: Gavin Fuller by 1 (32)
1994: George Davidson by 3 (37)
1995: Kevin Ashman by 5 (39)
1996: Richard Sturch by 2 (32)
1997: Anne Ashurst by 3 (34)