Friday, 2 May 2014

Fifteen to One - Grand Final

Yes, it’s many congratulations to Dave McBryan, who is the new 15 to 1 Grand Champion for 2014. Our champion modestly said that he felt lucky that the questions had fallen his way, enabling him to beat people he viewed as better quizzers. Well, he hardly put a foot wrong in the Grand Final, which I missed yesterday but caught up on tonight.

With so many good, very good, and excellent quizzers in the Grand Final, the nomination round was always going to be brutal. So it proved, and in the end 2014 Brain of Britain Mark Grant was the last to fall, and finished an unlucky 4th. His last question – which company manufactured the Hillman Imp – brought back memories for me. My first ever car was a Hillman Imp. Only problem was, I never got round to learning how to drive it. Long story, and not a particularly interesting one either. When the dust of the carnage settled, only three were left standing – Dave McBryan, who may not necessarily be as well known as the other two finalists, but has certainly paid his dues in many competitions, Iwan Thomas and David Stainer.

The format for the final round changed for the Grand Final. These final 40 questions were all on the buzzer – there was no nominating others to answer. This obviously called for a change of tactics. With quizzers of this calibre each had to go for the buzzer the instant they had an inkling of the answer. Most of the time they were right too, but then it only needed three wrong answers, and that was it. First to fall was Iwan. David and Dave went head to head, and neck and neck. However David had already lost a life. Another went, and then he was faced with a dilemma. Dave still had all three lives, and could afford to throw caution to the wind. Eventually we were left with three questions, and Dave led by 20. To win, David had to answer all three remaining questions – there was no point in caution now. Asked what sternutation means, David won the buzzer race, but an answer of hiccups instead of sneezing did for him. His tactic of buzzing was absolutely right in my opinion. After all, had he left it go, and not answered, Dave could still win quite easily. All he would have to do would be to buzz in ridiculously early on the next answer, then give no answer. Yes, it would cost a life, but it would deny David a chance to answer it correctly, for these questions can not be passed over.

Congratulations Dave. You played brilliantly, and you accepted your prize in a manner becoming of a champion. As for the series, oh, let’s not beat about the bush, I really enjoyed it. Yes, I think that there are still too many arbitrary stoppers in the first rounds, and I’d like to see some tweaking of it. But what the hell, I stick by what I’ve already said. If there is another series I shall certainly be watching it, and you never know – this time I may even get an application form away in time.

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