The “annoying” Jeopardy champion

It’s kind of amazing all that’s being written by current Jeopardy champion, Arthur Chu, just because he jumps around the board a lot in search of daily doubles, instead of simply going category by category.  It’s not like he’s the first player to do this.  I’ve watched several of Chu’s games.  Here’s why he wins: he knows more answers than his competitors and he’s faster on the buzzer.  He could go category by category like most everybody else and he’d still be kicking butt and probably earning almost as much as money.  Anyway, when the Post assigns somebody to write a story about Jeopardy, just perhaps, they should assign a reporter who actually knows how the game works– or has at least watched an episode.  I suspect there’s many.  Instead we get this idiocy:

Most unforgivably to many, Chu tries to squeeze in the most questions per round by pounding the bejesus out of his buzzer and interrupting Alex Trebek. This is Alex Trebek, North American icon (he’s Canadian), we’re talking about here.

No, no, no!!  How did this get published?!  Nobody interrupts Alex Trebek.  If you hit the buzzer before he’s done reading the question, you are actually frozen out from having the opportunity to answer for a second or so.  Half the battle to winning Jeopardy is timing.  Lots of times all the contestants know the questions and the key is to buzz in first once Trebek is done readking and you are allowed to buzz.  In fact, Chu is really good at this.  It’s a big part of why he’s racking up his big wins.  Anyway, I suppose it is only a style section blog post, ultimately (though it was on the front of Wasthingtonpost.com, which implies some sort of endorsement), but still it is just pathetic to get the story so wrong.

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About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

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