Recap for 24 January 2003 - C of C XI Grand Final

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Julian Fell
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Recap for 24 January 2003 - C of C XI Grand Final

Post by Julian Fell » Mon Jan 28, 2008 2:59 pm

Countdown recap for Friday 24th January 2003.

Championship of Champions XI
Grand Final

C1: Challenger Chris Wills.
C2: Challenger Graham Nash.
DC: Susie Dent and Eric Knowles.
CV: Carol Vorderman.
OT: Other words or solutions.

R01: L C F O U E S R T
R02: N G M A I E P S D
R03: R H L O E I T N K
R04: M D R E A A Y G B
R05: 50, 7, 5, 1, 6, 7. Target: 820.
TTT:
R06: T V S O E I N P E
R07: C L D O I A T R E
R08: S J M A E I X L T
R09: W R D O E O G N F
R10: 50, 2, 3, 9, 6, 4. Target: 469.
TTT:
R11: Z S T A E U P C H
R12: R M L O I E S N O
R13: D G B U I E R T P
R14: 3, 1, 5, 2, 2, 3. Target: 393.
R15: O V E R S P A D E (conundrum)


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Round 1: L C F O U E S R T
C1: FOULEST (7)
C2: CLOSURE (7)
DC: FRUCTOSE (8)
OT: COULTERS (8) - apparently, Chris had this but didn't offer it. Why not, Chris?...
Score: 7–7 (max 8)

Round 2: N G M A I E P S D
C1: MAGPIES (7)
C2: ENIGMAS (7)
OT: loads of sevens, nothing better
Score: 14–14 (max 15)

Round 3: R H L O E I T N K
C1: THINKER (7)
C2: THINKER (7)
OT: RETHINK (7) RETINOL (7) HOTLINE (7) ... "thornlike" is in the dictionary now, but wasn't in the NODE
Score: 21–21 (max 22)

Round 4: M D R E A A Y G B
C1: GAMBADE (7)
C2: BARGED (6)
OT: YARDAGE (7) and the interesting DAYMARE (7)
Score: 28–21 (max 29)

Round 5: 50, 7, 5, 1, 6, 7. Target: 820.
C1: -
C2: -
CV: 830. (not explained) (5)
OT: 819. is the closest possible... a few ways of getting there, all of them very counter-intuitive; probably the easiest is ((50+7+7+1)x5)-6. After a spate of dead-easy numbers games, CECIL throws up a real stinker! (7)
Score: 28–21 (max 36)

Teatime teaser: ->

Round 6: T V S O E I N P E
C1: POINTS (6)
C2: PENSIVE (7)
OT: POINTES (7) PEONIES (7) POETISE (7) PENTOSE (7) TENSIVE (7)
Score: 28–28 (max 43)

Round 7: C L D O I A T R E
C1: ARTICLED (8)
C2: IDOLATER (8)
Score: 36–36 (max 51)

Round 8: S J M A E I X L T
C1: mistle
C2: METALS (6)
DC: EXALTS (6)
OT: A few other sixes, including MESIAL (6) LAXEST (6) TAXIES (6) SAMITE (6)
Score: 36–42 (max 57)

Round 9: W R D O E O G N F
C1: FROWNED (7)
C2: FROWNED (7)
DC: WRONGED (7) FORGONE (7)
OT: FORDONE (7) WOONERF (7)
Score: 43–49 (max 64)

Round 10: 50, 2, 3, 9, 6, 4. Target: 469.
C1: 469. ((50+2)x9)+4-3 (10)
C2: 469. (50x9)+(6x2)+4+3 (10)
Score: 53–59 (max 74)

Teatime teaser: ->

Round 11: Z S T A E U P C H
C1: TEACUPS (7)
C2: PATCHES (7)
Score: 60–66 (max 81)

Round 12: R M L O I E S N O
C1: LOONIES (7)
C2: EROSION (7)
DC: MOONRISE (8)
OT: IONOMERS (8) SIMOLEON (8)
Score: 67–73 (max 89)

Round 13: D G B U I E R T P
C1: BUDGIE (6)
C2: BRIDGE (6)
DC: PUDGIER (7) BRUITED (7)
Score: 73–79 (max 96)

Round 14: 3, 1, 5, 2, 2, 3. Target: 393.
C1: -
C2: -
Score: 73–79 (max 96)

Round 15: O V E R S P A D E
No one buzzes. The answer was EAVESDROP.
Score: 73–79 (max 106)

Incredible stuff - not the high-scoring game we were hoping for, but you couldn't beat it for tension at the end. When the clock had finally ticked down on the conundrum, Graham famously burst out with a joyous "YEEAAAH WHO'S THE DADDY? COME ON!!!"... well might he be happy with himself: he'd just beaten, in succession, the three (probable) pre-tournament favourites on his way to a title which almost no-one would have predicted. An fantastic story, and a well-deserved triumph for a really great bloke.

Without taking anything away from Graham, you have to say that Chris didn't play anywhere near his best - overall he had a rather odd tournament, interspersing fabulous, near-unbeatable showings against David Williams and John Rawnsley with error-strewn performances in his other two games. Ah well, he is human after all! And perhaps this one was down to tiredness after a draining three days of recording. He still had the runner-up prize to console him, and would come very, very close to beating me in a 'Special' recorded a few months later...

So, a dramatic end to a very high-standard CofC - but anyone who harboured thoughts that it was the best ever had a rude awakening in store when CofC XII rolled around in 2006...

Further summaries are at:
http://www.thecountdowncorral.com/cd/se ... ?series=-2

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Re: Recap for 24 January 2003 - C of C XI Grand Final

Post by Gavin Chipper » Wed Jan 30, 2008 12:19 am

Ah yes, Graham Nash and his shock win. To be honest I think he sort of hinted at it with his post with everyone's odds of winning. That's the sort of thing a winner does.

Julian, you failing to win this CofC and Conor in the next - once someone said to me (on another non-Countdown forum actually) that they were annoyed you both failed because he regarded you as the greatest two Countdowners of all time, and victory for either of you would have meant we had an undisputed number one all-time great. But instead we ended up with Graham Nash who, while unbeaten, didn't put in many spectacular performances - apart from against you, and Paul Gallen who was arguably in the best form of anyone ever when he won, but wasn't unbeaten! So who is the greatest ever?

Would Craig Beevers become the greatest if he won the CofC, or would his performance then be compared against Paul Gallen's? And what about Harvey Freeman?

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Re: Recap for 24 January 2003 - C of C XI Grand Final

Post by Jon O'Neill » Wed Jan 30, 2008 1:04 am

At their respective peaks, the best are Gallen and Beevers. The most impressive ever are Julian for his word defining and Hansford for being weird.

These are indisputable truths.

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Re: Recap for 24 January 2003 - C of C XI Grand Final

Post by Paul Howe » Wed Jan 30, 2008 1:13 am

Ginger Jono wrote:At their respective peaks, the best are Gallen and Beevers.
I'd quite like to see this as a special. Well, Paul vs the winner of the next CofC, which I'm kind of assuming will be Craig, but you never know.

My gut feeling is that Paul would edge it, making the rather large assumption of both players at peak form.

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Re: Recap for 24 January 2003 - C of C XI Grand Final

Post by Charlie Reams » Wed Jan 30, 2008 2:02 am

Also the above post was written by the greatest untrophied player in the history of Countdown.

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Re: Recap for 24 January 2003 - C of C XI Grand Final

Post by Ben Wilson » Wed Jan 30, 2008 5:35 pm

Charlie Reams wrote:Also the above post was written by the greatest untrophied player in the history of Countdown.
With the possible exception of Allan saldanha.

Ah sod it, there's only one answer. Gevin mate, can you please start a 'Greatest Countdowner ever' thread in the general forum/ I promise not to delete or lock it. :)

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Re: Recap for 24 January 2003 - C of C XI Grand Final

Post by Jon O'Neill » Wed Jan 30, 2008 5:50 pm

ben_wilson wrote:With the possible exception of Allan saldanha.
Based only on the Saldanha games I've seen on The Countdown Page, I would say Paul Howe on the form he showed was a much stronger player; Saldanha did miss plenty but was also very capable of streaks of brilliance. Of course, Saldanha also gets a load of impressive points because of his age.

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Re: Recap for 24 January 2003 - C of C XI Grand Final

Post by Julian Fell » Wed Jan 30, 2008 9:39 pm

Ginger Jono wrote:
ben_wilson wrote:With the possible exception of Allan saldanha.
Based only on the Saldanha games I've seen on The Countdown Page, I would say Paul Howe on the form he showed was a much stronger player; Saldanha did miss plenty but was also very capable of streaks of brilliance. Of course, Saldanha also gets a load of impressive points because of his age.
Agreed Jono, although it's really difficult, and maybe unfair, to compare current and recent players with the likes of Saldanha and Freeman... Countdown was so different in their day, different format, much smaller dictionary, much tougher letters distribution... it wasn't a year-round show and there weren't all these recaps, generators and solvers, CO- events or a vibrant online community to help a budding player practise and improve... so it's hardly surprising that even the best players back then were a bit inconsistent compared to contestants now.

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Re: Recap for 24 January 2003 - C of C XI Grand Final

Post by Julian Fell » Wed Jan 30, 2008 10:07 pm

Ginger Jono wrote:At their respective peaks, the best are Gallen and Beevers.
I totally agree that Paul Gallen and Craig, at their peak, are the best ever - though Paul G was at his peak only in the CofC, where he was (I thought) completely transformed from the very beatable player who played in series 52. Whereas Craig has maintained his incredible standard over 11 games now... do we award extra marks for consistency? I think if Craig has a CofC like Paul Gallen's - i.e. plays more or less faultlessly through several tough opponents and close games - then I think you'd have to marginally go for him as GOAT because he'd kept up his standard over a longer period. But, it's all opinions at the end of the day...

In any case, definitely Paul H: a special between both of them at their peak would be a hell of a game! Would almost certainly be better than the much-trumpeted game between me and Chris Wills, where neither of us played our best on the day.

But I can certainly say, to Gavin's correspondent or anyone else, without any false modesty, that I can't in any way be bracketed with the likes of Paul Gallen and Craig (or with Conor, who IMHO is just below their level) - I didn't have, and never will have, their all-round ability and consistency under pressure... and even on the letters, which are my strength, I can't match Conor/Paul H/Paul G/Craig's achievement of getting the maximum in every letters round of a game - and that's any game, let alone a series semi-final / CofC Final!

In that CofC XII Final, I tried to play along from home... and I would have been 32 points behind Paul going into the conundrum. And I was at home under no pressure, and he was in the studio, playing an incredibly tense grudge match against a top-class opponent. No contest!

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Re: Recap for 24 January 2003 - C of C XI Grand Final

Post by Gavin Chipper » Wed Jan 30, 2008 11:39 pm

ben_wilson wrote:
Charlie Reams wrote:Also the above post was written by the greatest untrophied player in the history of Countdown.
With the possible exception of Allan saldanha.

Ah sod it, there's only one answer. Gevin mate, can you please start a 'Greatest Countdowner ever' thread in the general forum/ I promise not to delete or lock it. :)
Should it be a poll? If so, who would one include? Harvey Freeman, Graham Nash, Julian Fell, Conor Travers, Paul Gallen, Craig Beevers?

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Re: Recap for 24 January 2003 - C of C XI Grand Final

Post by Jon O'Neill » Wed Jan 30, 2008 11:43 pm

Do a series of polls of every player ever, in knockout format.

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Re: Recap for 24 January 2003 - C of C XI Grand Final

Post by Gavin Chipper » Wed Jan 30, 2008 11:48 pm

Ginger Jono wrote:Do a series of polls of every player ever, in knockout format.
Every player? There was once upon a time a series of polls on an old Yahoo group, but it didn't include every player, just about 72 of them. :mrgreen:

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Re: Recap for 24 January 2003 - C of C XI Grand Final

Post by Jon O'Neill » Wed Jan 30, 2008 11:58 pm

Oh really? I didn't know that. Anyway, this time, just to avoid any chance that there might be someone who doesn't get selected for the poll, we should do every player. Start with Series 1. Go!

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Re: Recap for 24 January 2003 - C of C XI Grand Final

Post by Ben Wilson » Thu Jan 31, 2008 5:39 pm

Aye, the polls were pretty good if I recall correctly. Anyways I was thinking more just a general discussion/slanging match at first. :)

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Re: Recap for 24 January 2003 - C of C XI Grand Final

Post by Gavin Chipper » Thu Jan 31, 2008 11:37 pm

Ginger Jono wrote:
ben_wilson wrote:With the possible exception of Allan saldanha.
Based only on the Saldanha games I've seen on The Countdown Page, I would say Paul Howe on the form he showed was a much stronger player; Saldanha did miss plenty but was also very capable of streaks of brilliance. Of course, Saldanha also gets a load of impressive points because of his age.
Jon Corby, Matthew Shore and Tom Hargreaves are all 850+ Octochamps not to have won anything. Matthew Shore also beat Jon Corby and Chris Cummins. Then we have David Williams, highest scoring Ocotchamp of the 9-round era. Surely some of these would be in the reckoning?

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Re: Recap for 24 January 2003 - C of C XI Grand Final

Post by Gavin Chipper » Thu Jan 31, 2008 11:38 pm

Ginger Jono wrote:At their respective peaks, the best are Gallen and Beevers. The most impressive ever are Julian for his word defining and Hansford for being weird.

These are indisputable truths.
I think Stuart Solomons was also pretty impressive at being weird.

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Re: Recap for 24 January 2003 - C of C XI Grand Final

Post by Gavin Chipper » Fri Feb 01, 2008 12:18 am

Julian, I know that you don't seem to like being mentioned alongside these other greats and say how you wouldn't take them to a crucial conundrum etc., but I think you've said yourself that you let yourself get out of practice so it's not necessarily indicative of you at your peak.

There must be some reason why your average score is still better than any other player. Maybe it's down to letter distributions? But I certainly think that if you'd won your CofC you would be many people's all-time great.

Regarding Craig Beevers, I think it would be better to wait until after his CofC before doing a poll because then he would have had the same opportunity to display his skill. Also greatness is not just about skill itself, but performing when you need to*, so I think we need to see him against some tougher opposition.

*A good example of this is in the supreme championships. Harvey Freeman scraped into the final going through on crucial conundrums every time. Allan Saldanha breezed through in comparison and must have started as favourite. But on the day, Harvey won and his greatness was secured.

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Re: Recap for 24 January 2003 - C of C XI Grand Final

Post by Paul Howe » Fri Feb 01, 2008 12:49 am

Gevin-Gavin wrote:
Jon Corby, Matthew Shore and Tom Hargreaves are all
850+ Octochamps not to have won anything. Matthew Shore also beat Jon
Corby and Chris Cummins. Then we have David Williams, highest scoring
Ocotchamp of the 9-round era. Surely some of these would be in the
reckoning?
Yes, I agree, as flattering as the original compliment was. I would have loved to have played Matt, we just missed out on it three times (he was on a couple of days after I finished my octo run, then we were one round away from meeting in both the series finals and CofC).

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Re: Recap for 24 January 2003 - C of C XI Grand Final

Post by Charlie Reams » Fri Feb 01, 2008 1:37 am

Corby doesn't count as untrophied because his Countdown career isn't over yet. I guess you could say the same thing about a future Supreme Championship but that's much more speculative, and wouldn't measure much anyway.

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Re: Recap for 24 January 2003 - C of C XI Grand Final

Post by Gavin Chipper » Fri Feb 01, 2008 5:11 pm

Regarding Beevers v Gallen - looking at the Countdown Corral, Craig scored 92.1% of the possible in his Octochamp run and Paul 83.8%. Obviously this doesn't count as Paul Gallen's greatness is based on the premise that he improved massively for the CofC. So looking at those four games:

125/141
118/127
118/120
111/118

=472/506 = 93.3% which beats Craig Beevers. And that was against tougher opposition.

Looking at Craig's three games in the finals (which may be a fairer comparison), we have:

106/117
118/131
105/118

=329/366 = 89.9%.

So Paul Gallen comes out on top here, but this isn't exactly the one true measure of greatness. And with a small number of games, it isn't that accurate. Had Craig got the final conundrum, the 89.9% would jump up to 92.6%.

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Re: Recap for 24 January 2003 - C of C XI Grand Final

Post by Craig Beevers » Fri Feb 01, 2008 6:09 pm

That's all somewhat pointless really. There's no point comparing live rounds, 'crucial' conundrums and other high pressure situtations with my games where I won comfortably because they're completely different.

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Re: Recap for 24 January 2003 - C of C XI Grand Final

Post by Gavin Chipper » Sat Feb 02, 2008 12:18 am

Craig Beevers wrote:That's all somewhat pointless really. There's no point comparing live rounds, 'crucial' conundrums and other high pressure situtations with my games where I won comfortably because they're completely different.
Yeah, alright. But it's the best comparison I could think of at the time. Most statistics have some sort of problem like that anyway. Really we're sitting and waiting to see how you do at the CofC.

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Re: Recap for 24 January 2003 - C of C XI Grand Final

Post by Julian Fell » Sat Feb 02, 2008 7:25 pm

Charlie Reams wrote:Corby doesn't count as untrophied because his Countdown career isn't over yet. I guess you could say the same thing about a future Supreme Championship but that's much more speculative, and wouldn't measure much anyway.
Charlie - re another Supreme Championship - Damian has firmly knocked that idea on the head, he said there definitely won't be another one on his watch. Though I bitterly argued with him at the time, I've come to realize that he was right - if there were another one, the vast majority of the contestants would, like me until recently, be hopelessly out of practice, and I think the games would make pretty desperate viewing until maybe the last week of the competition.

Gevin, like you say, all statistics have their weak points - but for your comparison of Craig and Paul, "percentage of maximum score" is IMHO just about the weakest statistic you could use; means diddly-squat in my book. Number of maxima achieved / missed is the best yardstick - I'm with Jono on that one - though even that isn't perfect.

Agree that we're all waiting to see how Craig does in CofC before deciding where to place him among the greats - though Craig, given that you don't seem to suffer from nerves and have produced probably your best performances in the most important games (series finals), I can't imagine you're suddenly going to flake under the pressure of facing top opposition! But yes we wait with interest to see what happens...

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Re: Recap for 24 January 2003 - C of C XI Grand Final

Post by Julian Fell » Sat Feb 02, 2008 7:34 pm

Oh yeah I remember what else I was going to say now - re some of the other names mentioned as "best untrophied player", David Williams is a good one... he's a bit of a forgotten figure now, which is undeserved - he had one bad game in his series semi-final, and because of that, got a rotten draw in CofC. But yes he's definitely up there with Allan S. and Paul H. for me.

IMHO Matthew Shore and Tom Hargreaves, though very good, aren't quite up to the level of that top three; as for Mr Corby, we wait to see how he does in CofC! Good luck Jon!

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Re: Recap for 24 January 2003 - C of C XI Grand Final

Post by Gavin Chipper » Sat Feb 02, 2008 8:29 pm

Julian wrote:Charlie - re another Supreme Championship - Damian has firmly knocked that idea on the head, he said there definitely won't be another one on his watch. Though I bitterly argued with him at the time, I've come to realize that he was right - if there were another one, the vast majority of the contestants would, like me until recently, be hopelessly out of practice, and I think the games would make pretty desperate viewing until maybe the last week of the competition.
Presumably some of them would make the effort of getting back into practice. I think it was quite exciting last time and this is disappointing. And the games would make no more desperate viewing than watching "normal" contestants. Even if some aren't at their peak, they are unlikely to suddenly become awful.
Gevin, like you say, all statistics have their weak points - but for your comparison of Craig and Paul, "percentage of maximum score" is IMHO just about the weakest statistic you could use; means diddly-squat in my book. Number of maxima achieved / missed is the best yardstick - I'm with Jono on that one - though even that isn't perfect.
I used it because Soo has got all the percentage of maximum scores for Ocotchamps on his website. Although I see no reason why it is a particularly bad statisitc to use, as opposed to just an averagely bad one (in that they're all bad). Care to explain?

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Re: Recap for 24 January 2003 - C of C XI Grand Final

Post by David O'Donnell » Sat Feb 02, 2008 8:37 pm

A rating system would be more effective. It works well in chess and generally suggests who the strongest player is. The only problem with Countdown is that it's a knockout format. In chess if you lose you just lose a few rating points but you always have the opportunity to redeem yourself; in Countdown you lose, then, usually, you're out.

Going on par scores and percentage scores I am placed rather high on Jim's list; going on rating I am 42nd: I know which one is more accurate.

PS That's right, it's Jim's!! :lol:

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Re: Recap for 24 January 2003 - C of C XI Grand Final

Post by Julian Fell » Sat Feb 02, 2008 9:37 pm

Gevin-Gavin wrote:
I used it because Soo has got all the percentage of maximum scores for Ocotchamps on his website. Although I see no reason why it is a particularly bad statisitc to use, as opposed to just an averagely bad one (in that they're all bad). Care to explain?
Well, player A gets the maximum in every letters round and gets every numbers game spot on; he is then streets ahead of his opponent and doesn't make much effort for the (non-crucial) conundrum, which his opponent gets. Player B is one below the maximum in nearly every letters round, but because his opponent is so rubbish, he still scores in every round, and then gets the conundrum. All other things being equal, Player B has the higher percentage of the maximum score - but who is the better player?! Ok that's an extreme example, but still.

Anyway I know how intractable you are Gevin, I know you won't let anyone have the last word ever, so I won't argue endlessly with you on this. But for me it's "maxima achieved/missed" that sorts the men from the boys - though I've never been one for massive statistical analysis anyway, I think there's too much of it around at the moment... the principal way I've always judged Countdowners is the age-old method of simply playing along with them and seeing how easy I find it to "beat" them.

Re the Supremes, I think what Damian was getting at is that it's not worth putting all the new contestants who are waiting for their turn, on hold for 4-6 months or however long such a series would take, when the standard of play would, for most of the series, not be anything particularly special. Again it's something I refused to accept when he first said it, but I've come round to his way of thinking now. It doesn't matter so much now that there are all these CO- events that former (and future) Countdowners can take part in anyway.

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Re: Recap for 24 January 2003 - C of C XI Grand Final

Post by Gavin Chipper » Sat Feb 02, 2008 10:18 pm

Julian wrote:
Gevin-Gavin wrote:
I used it because Soo has got all the percentage of maximum scores for Ocotchamps on his website. Although I see no reason why it is a particularly bad statisitc to use, as opposed to just an averagely bad one (in that they're all bad). Care to explain?
Well, player A gets the maximum in every letters round and gets every numbers game spot on; he is then streets ahead of his opponent and doesn't make much effort for the (non-crucial) conundrum, which his opponent gets. Player B is one below the maximum in nearly every letters round, but because his opponent is so rubbish, he still scores in every round, and then gets the conundrum. All other things being equal, Player B has the higher percentage of the maximum score - but who is the better player?! Ok that's an extreme example, but still.

Anyway I know how intractable you are Gevin, I know you won't let anyone have the last word ever, so I won't argue endlessly with you on this. But for me it's "maxima achieved/missed" that sorts the men from the boys - though I've never been one for massive statistical analysis anyway, I think there's too much of it around at the moment... the principal way I've always judged Countdowners is the age-old method of simply playing along with them and seeing how easy I find it to "beat" them.
Intractable? Me? OK, so you've made a point for the maximums achieved. But it wasn't as easily available and also that doesn't mean my method was the worst available as opposed to just not the best!

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Re: Recap for 24 January 2003 - C of C XI Grand Final

Post by Tom » Sun Feb 03, 2008 9:26 pm

Gevin - nice to see you posting and yourself too Julian. What you doing these days??

The C of C final, that was spellbinding at the end wasn't it. Great to watch from the audience.

The truth is, the competitiveness and the way the game has changed since I were on 6 year ago has changed drastically, not to mention via the web. And for the latter, that's where I take my hat off to aficionados like Soo.

A supreme championship in my opinion would not work either - silly idea really. An idea I once had would be a decade tournament for the best 8 players from the last 10 years to battle it out. Also, my reckoning is, from the success of the C of C I was in, a 16 player tournament with players from the last 3 years is the best format and I hope the next one stays that way.

When talking about greats, the 3 year period between one C of C ending and the time up to the next one, is virtually a generation. Julian was the best in mine, Conor in his and barring a rejuvenated version of the last 2 names, Craig in his. When you talk about great players having never won a tournament, you might possibly think of me as one. Although I stopped watching in 2004 - I still check recaps every now and then, and from the last generation, Matthew Shore and Paul Howe fell into the same category, I reckon I could probably take Matt, but Paul would be a harder nut so to speak.

With the greatest of all time, I don't think many people would disagree that had Julian won C of C, there would have been no doubt as to who the greatest player would have been and I beleive he still is.

Lastly Gevin, know you like your stats and I was working it out not so long ago: I scored exactly 1,000 points in all 14 games I was in and 900 in my winning 12 games!

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Re: Recap for 24 January 2003 - C of C XI Grand Final

Post by Tom » Sun Feb 03, 2008 9:29 pm

Sorry Gevin, I meant 1,000 on the letters in my 14 games. Think I scored around 1,500 in all my games.
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Re: Recap for 24 January 2003 - C of C XI Grand Final

Post by Kirk Bevins » Sun Feb 03, 2008 10:58 pm

I don't know why people are knocking Conor. I think he is up there with Beevers and Gallen. Fell is quality, spotting SALMONIDS etc but Conor does that now in about a second, whilst looking at the letters upside-down. We need a Beevers v Travers match. Wills was destroyed by Travers with quality spots such as PUTAMEN (that one stuck out for me). By the sounds of things, Fell is out of practice and last time I met Hargreaves (at the finals of series 52 in the audience, watching Tournoff v Gallen) I beat him with FIACRES. I think that means he's out of practice too but Hargreaves is still quality opposition.

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Re: Recap for 24 January 2003 - C of C XI Grand Final

Post by Ben Wilson » Sun Feb 03, 2008 11:08 pm

I agree entirely Kirk- Conor is on another level when it comes to the game, but frankly, so is Chris, and he has been since he first appeared- wuld you believe it- 6 years ago. let's not forget his record against Conor at CO-events.

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Re: Recap for 24 January 2003 - C of C XI Grand Final

Post by Gavin Chipper » Sun Feb 03, 2008 11:24 pm

Tom wrote:Gevin - nice to see you posting and yourself too Julian. What you doing these days??
Hello Tom! You probably did notice that I included you as one of the best non-champions. Maybe it would be interesting to see a mini tournament!

Regarding Chris and Conor - it's interesting how heavily Conor beat Chris in the words games. I was surprised by this. Presumably this does not happen at the CO events and it was just a poor game (letters-wise anyway) for Chris?

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Re: Recap for 24 January 2003 - C of C XI Grand Final

Post by Gavin Chipper » Sun Feb 03, 2008 11:29 pm

Kirk Bevins wrote:I don't know why people are knocking Conor.
I don't think they have been really. To be honest though I think a lot hinges on one or two games. Had Conor taken the crucial conundrum against Paul Gallen and gone on to win the tournament, I think he would probably win a greatest poll. Mark Tournoff is not frequently mentioned - would he be had he got that conundrum in the CofC final? Unbeaten and twice beater of Paul Gallen in finals.

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Re: Recap for 24 January 2003 - C of C XI Grand Final

Post by Julian Fell » Mon Feb 04, 2008 2:07 am

Hi Tom! Really nice to hear from you! I'm pretty much in exactly the same position as you - I also stopped watching around 2004, and only occasionally read recaps... until at the start of last month, I decided for some reason to get back into watching regularly. I certainly agree with you that the game has changed so much since we were on - especially in terms of the standard of play increasing... did you catch any of the last CofC? It was scarily good from what I've read. There were a few good games in ours, but nothing to compare to that!

I like your idea about the period in between each CofC being like a generation - I'd never thought of it like that but it makes complete sense. Thanks for praise but I think Graham Nash, Chris Wills and David Williams might have something to say about me being the best in my generation!

Kirk did you say you and Tom were in the audience for the series 52 Final? You lucky b*****ds, how did you wangle that?! I'd have loved to watch that game, it must have been fantastic to see it live... alas I didn't even see it on the telly...

Anyway yes Kirk I am out of practice (slowly getting back into practice), though even at my best I would have really struggled against Conor, and as for Gallen / Beevers, they would have beaten me 8/9 times out of 10 I think. The thing is that the standard of play has improved so much in the last 5 years. Around the time that I was on it's probably fair to say that nobody could match me on the letters - though there were better all-round players - but since then there've been several players, like Conor as you say, who are as good if not better at word-spotting than I was, while ALSO being excellent on the numbers and conundrum... this is what scares me!

Re Chris W - I think he's inconsistent, which is pretty much the point I made in the recap at the top of this thread - at his best he can beat anyone (and GUNSMITH vs. David Williams is the greatest word-spot of all time, by the way), but he doesn't maintain that standard, and has off days when he's pretty beatable. I guess the 25th anniversary thrashing by Conor was an off day, whereas at CO- events he's produced his A-game. Compare that to Paul G in CofC, and Craig, and Conor, who are brilliant game-in, game-out... for that reason, when you're talking about all-time greats I think you'd have to rank those three above Chris, though I certainly wouldn't back against Chris in any game.

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Re: Recap for 24 January 2003 - C of C XI Grand Final

Post by David O'Donnell » Mon Feb 04, 2008 12:24 pm

I find these searches for 'the best' are becoming rather trivial. Given the standard of the top players I think you can merely state that there are a crop of top players who are on their day can take anyone. It's not unlike what happened in snooker after Hendry ceased to be the number one or indeed in chess with the departure of Kasparov. Similar arguments are taking place in both disciplines but the truth is that if you make one or two mistakes in a game one of the top players will really punish you for it. Now, who will be that top player? It's the guy who is on form that day.

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Re: Recap for 24 January 2003 - C of C XI Grand Final

Post by Tom » Mon Feb 04, 2008 8:32 pm

Hi Julian, did catch a bit of the last C of C - just a couple of games though, impressed by what I saw.

The series 52 final was great to watch from the audience - managed to wangle it because we both went to Uni not too far away and had free periods if I remember rightly! Btw the way Kirk if you're reading, I did see you in Cambridge just over a year ago I think when I was seeing someone and then realised I'd walked straight past you! Incidentally when commuting back home 2 week ago I saw Chris Wills on the other side of the road to me but didn't get a chance to say hello or anything lol.

What has probably changed more in the last 5 years if anything has been the knowledge of words now available and to me - what looks like an increasing scrabble orientation to the game. Bringing the game to 15 rounds has definitely raised the bar and the year I was on (2002) we had 8 Octo's in my series and then Julian came along in the next one and took things to a new level - I think since then really has the standard upped itself somewhat.

I wouldn't say that Wills was inconsistent, difference is he probably doesn't know as many obscurities like Conor but Chris is probably, in the time I watched the show, the player with the best natural aptitude I ever saw, getting words like GUNSMITH, SPECTRAL, OBTRUDES etc justify that by offering non-obscure words, but words that had never been on the show. Someone like Paul Gallen for instance (though no criticism), won the C of C by having a great memory of words that had been used on the show before. The majority of players these days seem to be more word list oriented contestants and obviously that is not being critical it seems to be the norm.

What David says is very true, its who performs best on the day - well said! congrats on becoming an Octo, sadly didn't get to see any of your games, but read the recaps, very best of luck to you for the finals!

Tom
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Re: Recap for 24 January 2003 - C of C XI Grand Final

Post by Julian Fell » Mon Feb 04, 2008 10:13 pm

Yeah you're certainly right about Chris' natural ability Tom - the number of times when I was watching him on TV, that he beat me with non-obscure but difficult-to-spot words - I remember FORENAME, LAUGHTER, GORMLESS, ADMIRALS, of course GUNSMITH... and then he went and got an awesome, Carol-beating numbers solution against me when I was actually playing him, in the Special.

I do think that he had more off days than the likes of Conor and Craig, but as I say, I'm not doubting his innate ability. I agree he probably didn't do anywhere near as much preparation, learning etc. as the likes of Paul G and Craig.

David, yes of course it does all come down to very small margins, and these days the gap between the top players indeed hinges on the odd round here and there. But there's no harm in having a debate is there? I think you deserve consideration as one of the greats now. Despite all the joshing, deep down you are pleased and proud of how you did aren't you? You certainly should be.

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Re: Recap for 24 January 2003 - C of C XI Grand Final

Post by David O'Donnell » Mon Feb 04, 2008 10:22 pm

Julian wrote:Yeah you're certainly right about Chris' natural ability Tom - the number of times when I was watching him on TV, that he beat me with non-obscure but difficult-to-spot words - I remember FORENAME, LAUGHTER, GORMLESS, ADMIRALS, of course GUNSMITH... and then he went and got an awesome, Carol-beating numbers solution against me when I was actually playing him, in the Special.

I do think that he had more off days than the likes of Conor and Craig, but as I say, I'm not doubting his innate ability. I agree he probably didn't do anywhere near as much preparation, learning etc. as the likes of Paul G and Craig.

David, yes of course it does all come down to very small margins, and these days the gap between the top players indeed hinges on the odd round here and there. But there's no harm in having a debate is there? I think you deserve consideration as one of the greats now. Despite all the joshing, deep down you are pleased and proud of how you did aren't you? You certainly should be.
One of the greats ... sorry mate ... with no hint of false modesty that's bullshit! I am absolutely overjoyed at having made it to octochamp status, I am not really sure that comes across on TV but I rushed to meet a flight for Ireland already on a cloud. I like to think that if one off the greats was off-form and I was really on-form I could give him/her a scare but I know my place in the natural order of things. I always put off going on Countdown because I thought I could get better, after watching Paul Gallen in the C of C I realised I'd never be that good and in fact I'd probably get progressively worse the more I put it off!

Quite a few people on this site and the old mailing list gave me the encouragement to apply (as well as helping me prepare) and I suppose I haven't actually thanked them: so, thank you.

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