These people seem familiar…

Invitational will finally end Jeopardy’s season of tournaments

Published March 24, 2024

Welcome back to my weekly rundown from the world of Jeopardy!

This past week saw the conclusion of the Tournament of Champions, followed by the start of the season’s final tournament, the Jeopardy! Invitational Tournament, where a number of past champions were brought back to compete for a spot in Season 2 of Jeopardy! Masters.

Each heading contains a link to my daily write-up over at The Jeopardy! Fan

31st Tournament of Champions, Final, Game #5, Monday, Mar. 18

The week of play began with Ben Chan one win away from victory, having collected two wins in exciting come-from-behind fashion. In this game, Troy Meyer got out to an early lead thanks to a Daily Double, but Yogesh Raut picked up 14 correct in the opening round to hold the advantage after the Jeopardy round. Double Jeopardy saw Troy pull close again thanks to the second Daily Double, but Yogesh put the game out of reach with a $15,200 True Daily Double, and he cruised to a runaway victory. In all, Yogesh had 29 correct—as many as Ben and Troy combined—and got in on the buzzer 53% of the time (compared to 31% each for Ben and Troy).

Final Jeopardy was in Eurasia: Zvartnots International Airport serves this capital & has the code EVN, all letters found in the city’s name. Ben and Troy both knew it was Yerevan, Armenia, but it was Yogesh who joined Ben on the brink of ToC glory.

Game #6, Tuesday, Mar. 19

Needing a win to force Game 7, Troy got off to the best start, picking up 12 correct en route to a $4,000 lead over Yogesh after the opening round. Ben finally got his chances in Double Jeopardy, finding both Daily Doubles… but a crucial incorrect response on the second one1 dropped him out of contention. Meanwhile, Yogesh picked up 11 correct in Double Jeopardy to come within $3,200 of Troy going into Final Jeopardy. 

The Final Jeopardy clue, in The Human Body: This glandular organ that starts to shrink at puberty is known for being where the cells key to adaptive immunity develop. Ben’s Daily Double miss came back to haunt him, as he was the only player to name the thymus–from which T cells get their name–and thus could have been the champion. Meanwhile, Yogesh made a small bet, and Troy’s incorrect response of the pituitary gave Yogesh the tournament-ending third victory. Yogesh picks up $250,000 and an invitation to Jeopardy! Masters, while Ben gets $100,000 for second place and Troy $50,000 for third.

2024 Jeopardy! Invitational Tournament, Quarterfinal #1, Wednesday, Mar. 20

Pam Mueller got off to the quickest start in this last tournament of the season, picking up 12 correct, while Andrew He (trying to undo his relegation from Jeopardy! Masters) missed the Daily Double. Dan Pawson sat second after the Jeopardy round, but struggled on the buzzer all game, only getting in 39% of the time. Characteristically, Andrew found both Daily Doubles in the second round, picking up a combined $18,600. He might have regretted not betting more on the last one—his score of $33,600 was exactly double Pam’s $16,800, so he was $1 shy of a runaway game.

Final Jeopardy was in Trailblazers: The foremost member of the “Sochi Six,” which was similar to a previous U.S. group, he died in a plane crash in 1968. Andrew came up with Yuri Gagarin (the “Sochi Six” were equivalent to America’s Mercury Seven). Dan and Pam both thought of U.N. Secretaries-General, so Andrew overcame his near-runaway-miss to become the first semifinalist.

Quarterfinal #2, Thursday, Mar. 21

Airing alongside or preempted by March Madness in many markets, this one saw Larissa Kelly rocket out to an early lead; thanks to the Daily Double, she had $10,000 just 10 clues into the game. Leonard Cooper and Jason Zuffranieri caught up with the Daily Doubles in Double Jeopardy, and Jason even took a brief lead, but Larissa got in on 64% of her attempts in the round, and took a lead into Final Jeopardy.

That clue was in 20th Century Novels: Virginia Woolf disliked this book that was “cutting out the explanations and putting in the thoughts between dashes.” Both Larissa and Leonard correctly named James Joyce’s Ulysses (Woolf’s publishing company passed on the rights), and Larissa moved on to the semifinals the first week in April.

Quarterfinal #3, Friday, Mar. 22

Matt Jackson jumped out to an early lead on the first Daily Double. He was starting to pull away from both Alan Lin and Terry O’Shea when Alan found the second one, and pulled slightly closer. But Matt—who also had 57% buzzer success—turned the last Daily Double into $12,000 and turned an already dominant performance into a massive runaway, ending the round with nearly three times as much ($41,200) as second-place Alan ($14,000).

“From the Ancient World” was the week’s final category: “Captured in Egypt by the British Army 1801” is painted on the side of this artifact named for the city where it was found. Both Alan and Matt named the Rosetta Stone, but that’s barely a footnote: Matt advanced to the semifinals on the strength of the paragraph above.

Other notes from the week:

Next week, the Invitational Tournament quarterfinals continue, with the likes of Amy Schneider (Monday), Monica Thieu and Chuck “Bounce” Forrest (Thursday), and two Chasers from ABC’s The Chase—Brandon Blackwell (Wednesday) and Victoria Groce (Friday).

  1. MIND THE GAP $1200: Near where Virginia, Kentucky & Tennessee meet, you’ll find this pass named for a son of George II. Ben, forgetting the category, guessed “What is the Prince William Pass?”; the correct response was “What is the Cumberland Gap?” (Prince William was also the Duke of Cumberland.)

Andy Saunders covers Jeopardy! daily as site administrator for The Jeopardy! Fan. He is also a founding archivist of The J! Archive. His weekly recap appears at Questionist every Sunday.

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