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May 4, 2014

Battle of the Decades: the quarterfinals

Battle of the Decades – knockout rounds
Quarterfinals Semifinals Finals
1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 1 2
preliminary round

After 15 (mostly) thrilling “preliminary” matches in The Battle of the Decades, our survivors will continue their march toward the $1 million prize.

Here’s my primer on how tournaments work.

This week, we start with the quarterfinals, perhaps the most forgiving of all Jeopardy! formats. Each of the contestants plays one game; the winners advance, along with the four highest-scoring players among non-winners (the so-called “wild cards”). That means 60% of the field will move on, as opposed to the usual 33%.

To ensure no one has an advantage, those who haven’t played are sequestered in the green room. Staying in there until the Friday game can be brutal!

Let’s take a look at the match-ups. Click the date for my preview of that day’s game; click a player’s name to see my recap of his or her preliminary game.

Date 1980s 1990s 2000s
Mon, May 5 Leszek Pawlowicz Robin Carroll Roger Craig
Tue, May 6 Tom Nosek Pam Mueller Russ Schumacher
Wed, May 7 Mark Lowenthal Brad Rutter Dan Pawson
Thu, May 8 Tom Cubbage Rachael Schwartz Ken Jennings
Fri, May 9 Chuck Forrest Mark Dawson Colby Burnett

Here are my predictions for the week – but remember, with a line-up like this, anything can happen!

Winners: Leszek, Pam, Brad, Ken, Colby
Wild cards: Roger, Dan, Chuck, Mark D

Who do you think will advance? (No spoilers, please!)

Following is a history of wild-card cut-offs in the TOC, with the Million Dollar Masters thrown in for good measure.

Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions wild-card cut-offs

I threw together a formula based on the first round’s games and FJ! responses, and am predicting a cut-off this time around of 14,600. We’ll see!

Before we find out, this awesome video will whet your appetite:

  1. tom cubbage permalink

    You cut me deep, Shrek.

  2. Nick Condon permalink

    Winners: Roger, Pam, Brad, Ken, Colby
    Wild Cards: Russ, Chuck, Leszek, Tom

  3. Friendly reminder to your readers that I’ll provide some behind-the-scenes scoop since I was there in person! Here’s episode one to get you started.

What do you think?