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February 21, 2014

Daily analysis, Friday, February 21 – 2014 College Championship Final #2

2014 College Championship
Quarterfinals Semifinals Finals
1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 1 2

Two-day final matches are usually tricky to calculate. This time is no exception.The Final Wager - February 21, 2014

Heading into the concluding question, our Game Two scores are:

Kevin Shen (Berkeley): 0 (yesterday: 8,765)
Tucker Pope (Texas A&M): 13,200 (yesterday: 14,800)
Terry O’Shea (Princeton): 13,000 (yesterday: 19,800)

The Final Jeopardy! category: THE BRITISH EMPIRE

Kevin made a great True Daily Double wager with five clues to play, and couldn’t pull himself out of the hole. Had he responded correctly, he would have had 14,000, and smoke might be coming out of my ears right now from too much math. (Imagine being a player in this situation.)

Let’s put this in a different format:

Now let’s work our way through the calculations – I suggest you watch the video so that this all falls into place.

Remember yesterday we determined that Tucker would control his destiny if he led Terry by more than 2,500. His lead is only 200, so Terry is in the driver’s seat.

Alternatively, calculate the maximum score each player can have: Terry can get up to 45,800, while Tucker can reach 41,200.

Do the math, and you’ll see that Terry needs to wager 8,401 to beat Tucker. Tucker responds by wagering up to 3,600 in case Terry gets it wrong and wagers for the win.

The problem for Tucker is if he wagers 3,600 and gets it right, he still won’t have enough to cover what Terry has now – he’ll be short by 1,200. Terry, therefore, could wager up to 1,199 if she’s uncomfortable with the category and thinks Tucker will be conservative.

Tucker might respond by wagering at least 6,000.

See, this is why two-day wagering is difficult: Tucker’s winning this second game, but if he wagers properly, he will lose to a zero wager by Terry! So bizarre.

By the way, had Kevin responded correctly on that Daily Double, he still would have been in third, but the wagering would have been even more complex.

Here’s what actually happened.

I’m not sure what Terry was doing; perhaps she thought wagering the difference between today and yesterday was good, or maybe she didn’t realize she was in first place. Had Tucker responded correctly, he would be walking away with the trophy and the TOC bid – even though Terry got it right!

Even worse – Terry’s wager drops her below Tucker if he risks nothing. At the very least, you have to make your opponent get it right to beat you from behind with a suboptimal wager.

All in all, this was an excellent tournament – no runaways and some very tense moments. We’ll be back with our favorite villain on Monday. Have a great weekend!

The Final Jeopardy! clue for February 21, 2014 (THE BRITISH EMPIRE):


Correct response: What is Gibraltar?

  1. Kelly permalink

    Good comment about how the fact that Kevin’s non-round wager from Day 1 ended up being irrelevant since he finished with nothing in Day 2 and was below both of the other Day 1 scores.

    Kevin’s True Daily Double wager did make sense – if he had bet small instead he would’ve been in the two-day equivalent of being in third with less than the difference of the other two players’ scores and thus unable to win unless Terry bet too much (yesterday I worked my brain to see if there was a viable formula like you found for determining the leader and/or lock scenario for determining whether a third-place contestant is locked out or not in a two-day game, and I couldn’t think of one). With the bet that Kevin did make if he had been right he would’ve been in a third-place position where a win was possible but would require him to be correct on Final to have a shot (and Tucker would’ve been in a Stratton’s Dilemma situation where he couldn’t both cover Kevin and win over Terry’s shutout bet on a miss – in which case Tucker’s all-in bet would’ve made sense).

  2. RainMan5678 permalink

    Terry sais in the toc that she almost “let” tucker win. i think she wanted to give him a chance by not covering him. however if tucker responded correctly he wouldve won. terry basically just did something ridiculous

What do you think?