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EQC 2008 Pairs Championships

Report, results and analysis

Report

The pairs competition consisted of 100 questions divided into five rounds of 20 questions each. All questions were handed out in writing, with a time limit of 15 minutes per round. Among the favourites were Mark Bytheway/Kevin Ashman, Albert November/Ronny Swiggers, Dr. Ian Bayley/Pat Gibson, Jussi Suvanto/Tero Kalliolevo and, not least, the title holders Tom Trogh/Erik Derycke. 49 pairs took part in the competition – well, that should actually be 48 and a half: There was an odd number of quizzers present, and Stijn Vanacker of Belgium entered on his own, giving an excellent solo performance and beating several pairs!

Round 1

Round 1 was probably among the easier rounds of the quiz, but certainly wasn’t without its difficulties. The question about a lake in Canada with a mammal in its name (Reindeer Lake) was correctly answered by only five pairs (November/Swiggers, Permentier/Baes, Pattyn/Braxel, Bayley/Gibson and Kémeri/Nováky). The second most difficult question was on an American band with a parody of «Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds»; ten pairs got this. At the other end of the scale, the question on the American financial institutions Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae was the easiest, and 44 of 49 pairs got this one right. Of the five pairs missing this question, two were Estonian and two Hungarian, so there may be some cultural differences on what is reported back home?

Not unsurprisingly, the opening round was very close, but the duo November/Swiggers impressed with getting 12 out of the first 12 questions, before stumbling when asked what meconium is. Even with a strong finish they were overtaken by another Belgian duo, Pattyn/Braxel, who took the lead after the first round with 18 points, closely followed by November/Swiggers, Stainer/Bjortomt and Bayley/Gibson on 17 points, and a several pairs with 16 points.

Round 2

In round 2, the first-round leaders Pattyn/Braxel had a tough outing, and only managed 11 points, which led to them being passed by five pairs. After 30 questions, November/Swiggers were back in the lead, equal with Stainer/Bjortomt on 25 points. The latter team went into a solo lead with 29 points after 35 questions, but when the second round was over, the lead was again shared. The best score in this round was 16 points, achieved by the two leading pairs. They were followed by the surprise combination of Halck/L. Heggland, who had 31 points after 16 and 15 respectively in the two first rounds, a point up on the 2006 champions Bayley/Gibson.

The top six after two rounds:
Albert November & Ronny Swiggers 33
David Stainer & Olav Bjortomt 33
Ole Martin Halck & Lars Heggland 31
Ian Bayley & Pat Gibson 30
Bart Permentier & Marnix Baes 29
Kevin Ashman & Mark Bytheway 29

Round 3

In the third round, November/Swiggers raced to the front after 45 questions, but now the Norwegian duo Halck/L. Heggland was suddenly hot on their heels, just one point behind! They managed to keep up with the Belgians for the next five questions, while Stainer/Bjortomt got into a spot of trouble and lost contact somewhat. This would turn out to be the Norwegians’ round, because after five more questions they were even with the Belgian leaders, on 43 out of 55 points, three points up on Stainer/Bjortomt who held the third place alone. The English pair delivered a great finish with 5 out of 5 points, however, but couldn’t stop the Norwegian pair in taking the lead alone with 47 points (16-15-16), one point ahead of November/Swiggers. Could the Norwegians manage to keep it up to the end? If so, that would be a bit of a sensation. With 14 points, the Finns Suvanto/Kalliolevo was second best in this round, but still six points behind the lead. But the competition was still far from over…

The top six after three rounds:
Ole Martin Halck & Lars Heggland 47
Albert November & Ronny Swiggers 46
David Stainer & Olav Bjortomt 45
Bart Permentier & Marnix Baes 44
Nico Pattyn & Chris Braxel 42
Erik Derycke & Tom Trogh 42

Round 4

Round 4 would prove tough for the Norwegian home favourites, and with only one point from the first five questions they fell away from the lead. November/Swiggers now led with 50 out of 65, one point ahead of Stainer/Bjortomt who in turn were one point ahead of Halck/L. Heggland. The Belgians increased their lead by one further point over the next five questions, but were equaled in this round by the individual world champions Bytheway and Ashman. The English pair were only in equal seventh after three rounds with 41 points, but struck in the fourth with 17 points and in the list. This was the highest fourth-round score, shared with Suvanto/Kalliolevo, whose closed in on the top with their two consecutive strong rounds.

Of the other Belgian favourites, Pattyn/Braxel had lost enough terrain to exclude them from the fight for the gold, and were six points behind the leaders. Permentier/Baes and Derycke/Trogh were still in it, however, and were also accompanied by Bayley/Gibson in the top eight after four rounds:

Albert November & Ronny Swiggers 61
David Stainer & Olav Bjortomt 60
Ole Martin Halck & Lars Heggland 59
Bart Permentier & Marnix Baes 59
Kevin Ashman & Mark Bytheway 58
Jussi Suvanto & Tero Kalliolevo 58
Erik Derycke & Tom Trogh 58
Ian Bayley & Pat Gibson 58

Round 5

Fittingly, the fifth and last round was the hardest, with only seven pairs managing a score of more than 50%. After 85 questions, the Belgians were two points ahead of their closest rivals Stainer/Bjortomt, a lead that increased to five points after 90 questions – now, Ashman/Bytheway were closest, three points behind. Five questions on, and five from the end, Stainer/Bjortomt had mounted a minor comeback, and both of the English pairs were now three points behind the Belgians. November/Swiggers held them off, and with 14 points won the round as well as the Championship, their 75 points a solid three points ahead of Stainer/Bjortomt.

The bronze medal would have to be decided on tie-breaker questions, as Ashman/Bytheway and Suvanto/Kalliolevo both ended up with 71 points. After 87 questions the Finns had been four points behind Ashman/Bytheway, but managed to close the gap in the final 13 questions. Still, this turned out not to be enough, as Kevin Ashman won the playoffs alone, as Mark Bytheway apparently didn’t make it back on time.

Final results

The final, official list of results runs as follows:

No. Pair R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 Total
1 Albert November & Ronny Swiggers 17 16 13 15 14 75
2 David Stainer & Olav Bjortomt 17 16 12 15 12 72
3 Kevin Ashman & Mark Bytheway 14 15 12 17 13 71
4 Jussi Suvanto & Tero Kalliolevo 16 11 14 17 13 71
5 Erik Derycke & Tom Trogh 14 15 13 16 11 69
5 Ian Bayley & Pat Gibson 17 13 10 18 11 69
7 Ole Martin Halck & Lars Heggland 16 15 16 12 9 68
8 Bart Permentier & Marnix Baes 15 15 14 15 6 65
9 Nico Pattyn & Chris Braxel 18 11 13 13 9 64
10 Thomas Kolåsæter & Trine Aalborg 16 11 11 14 9 61
11 Bernard Kreps & Staf Dujardin 16 9 9 13 13 60
12 William De Ath & Mark Grant 13 13 11 15 7 59
13 Paul Arts & Eric Hemelaers 16 13 10 11 8 58
14 Koen Vervremd & Derk de Graaf 12 10 11 11 8 52
15 Ove Põder & Tauno Vahter 15 9 6 11 8 49
15 Sean O’Neill & Keith Andrew 11 11 7 10 10 49
17 Harald Aastorp & Tore Dahl 10 9 9 12 8 48
18 Dag Fjeldstad & Øystein Aadnevik 11 8 9 12 7 47
19 Barry Simmons & David Edwards 13 10 6 11 6 46
20 Jamie Dodding & Stephen Dodding 13 9 5 9 8 44
21 Stig Sanner & Trond Brastad 10 12 4 12 5 43
21 Ed Toutant & Mark Ryder 9 10 4 12 8 43
23 Kristel Blommaert & Luc Venstermans 9 11 8 10 4 42
23 Lars Van Moer & Ivar Areklett 12 7 7 9 7 42
23 Mats Bergstrøm & Knut Heggland 12 7 6 12 5 42
26 Dave Taylor & Rob Hannah 10 10 8 10 3 41
26 Jenny Ryan & Gareth Kingston 11 10 5 9 6 41
28 Johan Vander Elst & Joke Cools 8 7 9 10 6 40
28 Bjørn Revil & Jon Strøm 9 9 4 11 7 40
28 Sigve Sørland & Karen Skjånes 10 5 7 9 9 40
31 Tiit Naarits & Heino Raivet 12 8 3 10 6 39
32 Andres Kund & Tuomas Tumi 10 9 4 7 7 37
33 Christian Thorn & Ingo Matzat 10 7 9 6 4 36
34 Peter Korrel & Rinus Uijl 11 6 5 9 5 35
34 Tor Carlsen & Lars André Gundersen 11 7 4 9 4 35
36 Neil Harrison & Anurakshat Gupta 7 9 6 7 4 33
37 Stijn Vanacker 9 4 7 7 4 31
37 Andrew Teale & Michael Mcgreavy 8 8 5 5 5 31
39 Paul Bailey & Dilip Chandran 5 7 5 7 6 30
40 Indrek Salis & Aare Olander 8 5 5 7 4 29
40 Gábor Hacsek & Zsófia Hacsek 7 8 4 6 4 29
42 Ragnhild Rein Bore & Jan Gunnar Fredriksen 7 6 5 6 4 28
42 Truls Flatberg & Roger Eldegard 7 7 5 6 3 28
42 Tõnis Poom & Margus Maiste 6 6 4 6 6 28
45 Dave Legler & Phil Smith 5 6 4 7 5 27
46 Marte Stang Midttun & Toril Opsahl 7 5 4 7 2 25
47 Attila Verók & Gabor Gaspar 5 5 3 6 3 24
48 György Kémeri & Béla Nováky 4 6 3 8 2 23
48 Vallo Kask & Raul Raudsepp 7 4 5 5 2 23

The medallists

Analysis

1. Difficulty

A total of 2181 points were taken in the quiz out of 4900 possible, a percentage of 44.5. In detail, the difficulty profile, ie the number of questions at each observed difficulty (measured by the number of pairs answering correctly) looks as follows:

We observe that no question was so easy that everyone got it right, nor were there any questions missed by just one pair. The easiest question was answered correctly by 47 out of 49 pairs: question 28, on a more well-known name of a Rembrandt painting. 44 pairs got question 12 («personal» names of US mortgage corporations), while questions 67 and 78 (Brunhoff’s elephant character and shear-stress resistance of fluid) were answered correctly by 43 pairs, and questions 6 and 23 (sea-floor animals and Athenian statesman) by 42 pairs.

On the other end of the scale, four questions were not correctly answered by anyone. These were questions 27 (film by Feng Xiaogang), 44 (long-living lightbulb), 47 (the job of «Les Barbouzes») and 94 (Italian manierist painter). The two hardest questions with correct answers each gave points to three pairs: number 30 (photographic award, points to Blommaert/Venstermans, Stainer/Bjortomt and Kolåsæter/Aalborg) and number 91 (inflammatory nerve disorder; Kreps/Dujardin, Toutant/Ryder and Bailey/Chandran).

Six questions were correctly answered by five pairs:
11 (Canadian lake with mammal name): November/Swiggers, Permentier/Baes, Pattyn/Braxel, Bayley/Gibson, Kémeri/Nováky
31 (Pokémon character): Permentier/Baes, G. Hacsek/Z. Hacsek, Korrel/Uijl, Midttun/Opsahl, Kolåsæter/Aalborg
35 (Michelin-starred chef): Stainer/Bjortomt, Ashman/Bytheway, Suvanto/Kalliolevo, Toutant/Ryder, Vanacker
46 (First-person shooter computer game): November/Swiggers, Permentier/Baes, Derycke/Trogh, Aastorp/Dahl, Halck/L. Heggland
76 (Chinese sisters): Ashman/Bytheway, Põder/Vahter, Suvanto/Kalliolevo, Halck/L. Heggland, Toutant/Ryder
98 (Montevideo-born journalist): Põder/Vahter, Suvanto/Kalliolevo, Sørland/Skjånes, Kolåsæter/Aalborg, Kund/Tumi

The table below shows how difficult was the most difficult question answered correctly by each pair (plus some extra data for the top ten pairs). «AC» means «answered correctly by», so «AC8» after a pair means that their most difficult point was also answered correctly by seven other pairs:

Albert November & Ronny Swiggers AC5 (x2), AC6
David Stainer & Olav Bjortomt AC3, AC5
Kevin Ashman & Mark Bytheway AC5 (x2)
Jussi Suvanto & Tero Kalliolevo AC5 (x3)
Erik Derycke & Tom Trogh AC5
Ian Bayley & Pat Gibson AC5, AC6
Ole Martin Halck & Lars Heggland AC5(x2)
Bart Permentier & Marnix Baes AC5 (x3)
Nico Pattyn & Chris Braxel AC5, AC6
Thomas Kolåsæter & Trine Aalborg AC3, AC5(x2)
Bernard Kreps & Staf Dujardin AC3
William De Ath & Mark Grant AC12
Paul Arts & Eric Hemelaers AC6
Koen Vervremd & Derk de Graaf AC8
Ove Põder & Tauno Vahter AC5
Sean O’Neill & Keith Andrew AC8
Harald Aastorp & Tore Dahl AC5
Dag Fjeldstad & Øystein Aadnevik AC12
Barry Simmons & David Edwards AC15
Jamie Dodding & Stephen Dodding AC8
Stig Sanner & Trond Brastad AC10
Ed Toutant & Mark Ryder AC3
Kristel Blommaert & Luc Venstermans AC3
Lars Van Moer & Ivar Areklett AC8
Mats Bergstrøm & Knut Heggland AC12
Dave Taylor & Rob Hannah AC10
Jenny Ryan & Gareth Kingston AC9
Johan Vander Elst & Joke Cools AC13
Bjørn Revil & Jon Strøm AC9
Sigve Sørland & Karen Skjånes AC5
Tiit Naarits & Heino Raivet AC10
Andres Kund & Tuomas Tumi AC5
Christian Thorn & Ingo Matzat AC10
Peter Korrel & Rinus Uijl AC5
Tor Carlsen & Lars André Gundersen AC10
Neil Harrison & Anurakshat Gupta AC10
Stijn Vanacker AC5
Andrew Teale & Michael Mcgreavy AC16
Paul Bailey & Dilip Chandran AC3
Indrek Salis & Aare Olander AC12
Gábor Hacsek & Zsófia Hacsek AC5
Ragnhild Rein Bore & Jan Gunnar Fredriksen AC9
Truls Flatberg & Roger Eldegard AC9
Tõnis Poom & Margus Maiste AC10
Dave Legler & Phil Smith AC10
Marte Stang Midttun & Toril Opsahl AC5
Attila Verók & Gabor Gaspar AC13
György Kémeri & Béla Nováky AC5
Vallo Kask & Raul Raudsepp AC10

For the elite pairs, it is also interesting to note their easiest misses. Stainer/Bjortomt missed the question mentioned above about an Athenian statesman, which 42 other pairs got. November/Swiggers stumbled on the Coney Island fast-food question (29 correct), while Ashman/Bytheway missed out on the Aldi brothers’ surname – but so did almost half of all the pairs (26 correct). The country with an African-based religion, Suvanto/Kalliolevo’s easiest miss, wasn’t exactly child’s play either, but 29 pairs got a point here. Trogh/Derycke went without a point on the very first question (Ornithology jazzman, 30 correct). Finally, Bayley/Gibson had the most difficult easiest miss of them all: the nationality of a disqualified sprinter (25 correct).

2. Regional Specialties

Now a look at the strong and weak points of the different nations’ quiz cultures. (For the purposes of this analysis, Belgium and the Netherlands have been pooled together, as have Finland/Estonia and England/Wales, due to a few two-nation pairs.)

Belgium/Netherlands: Question 68 (Patagonian glacier) was answered correctly by 45.5% of BEL/NED pairs, but only by 2.6% of the rest, a ratio of over 17! The next questions among Low Countries specialties are number 11 (Canadian mammal lake, 27.3% vs 5.3%), number 38 (hospitality network, 54.5% vs 10.5%) and number 46 (shooter game, 27.3% vs 5.3%). Weak spots were number 98 (Montevidean journalist, 0% vs 26.3%), 76 (Chinese sisters, 0% vs 13.2%), 60 (most of the Universe, 0% vs 13.2%) and 70 (Ukrainian chess-player, 9.1% vs 36.8%).

Estonia/Finland: Question 98 (that journalist again) was correctly answered by 42.9% of EST/FIN pairs, versus 4.8% among the rest, followed by number 85 (French politician during the Revolution, 71.4%(!) vs 16.7%). Several questions were misses for all EST/FIN pairs, the easiest one was number 68 due to the high Belgian percentage here.

England/Wales: Question 82 (American singer really called D’Amato) gave a point to 50% of ENG/WAL pairs, versus 7.7% for the rest. The Serbian climate cycles of question 64 paid 70%(!) to the Brits, and 23.1% to non-Brits. The two easiest questions where the British drew blanks were number 41 (Italian female singer, 35.9% among the rest) and number 48 (Malay pirate, 33.3% among the rest).

Hungary: With only three pairs, data is a bit thin here. Still, all Hungarian pairs got number 48 (see England/Wales above), versus 21.7% of the rest. The easiest question without a Hungarian point was number 99 (computer-graphic movie of 1972), which 78.2% of Non-Hungarian pairs knew.

Norway: Norway has the lowest «specialist ratio» of all country groups considered here; the most Norwegian-friendly question – number 57 (movie by Moodyson) – yielded points for 84.6% of Norwegian pairs, versus 33.3% for the rest, a ratio of 2.54. The only other question where twice as many Norwegians as non-Norwegians (relatively speaking) answered correctly was number 90 (TV series by von Trier, 100% vs 50%). The easiest Norwegian zeroes were number 85 (French politician again, 33.3% among the rest) and number 2 («Lucy in the Sky» parodist, 27.8%).

Rest of the World: Dominated by Americans, the four pairs of the ROTW team also showed some special strengths. Question 91 (nerve disorder) was a point for 50% of the ROTWers, versus 2.2% of the rest (ie only three teams got it at all), while, unsurprisingly, the never-winning NBA team of question 77 was also in their favour (75% vs 15.6%). Two questions were answered correctly by more than 80% of Europeans but by no ROTW pair: number 18 (Parfüm author, 86.7%) and number 22 (Brazilian football, excuse me, soccer player, 82.2%).

3. Combinations

The winning score was 75 points. How well could a team of four do? The following list shows the twelve best combinations of two pairs, counting points that either or both pairs took:

Albert November & Ronny Swiggers / David Stainer & Olav Bjortomt 88
Albert November & Ronny Swiggers / Jussi Suvanto & Tero Kalliolevo 88
Nico Pattyn & Chris Braxel / David Stainer & Olav Bjortomt 87
Albert November & Ronny Swiggers / Ian Bayley & Pat Gibson 86
Bart Permentier & Marnix Baes / Jussi Suvanto & Tero Kalliolevo 86
Paul Arts & Eric Hemelaers / Jussi Suvanto & Tero Kalliolevo 86
Nico Pattyn & Chris Braxel / Kevin Ashman & Mark Bytheway 86
Nico Pattyn & Chris Braxel / Jussi Suvanto & Tero Kalliolevo 86
Albert November & Ronny Swiggers / Erik Derycke & Tom Trogh 85
Albert November & Ronny Swiggers / Kevin Ashman & Mark Bytheway 85
Albert November & Ronny Swiggers / Ole Martin Halck & Lars Heggland 85
Bart Permentier & Marnix Baes / Ian Bayley & Pat Gibson 85
Paul Arts & Eric Hemelaers / David Stainer & Olav Bjortomt 85
David Stainer & Olav Bjortomt / Ole Martin Halck & Lars Heggland 85

 

It is striking that all but one of these best hypothetical teams consist of pairs from different countries, underlining the regional differences indicated above.

Not surprisingly, November/Swiggers would be the best partners for such a team for most pairs. The list for every pair in the competition is as follows:

Albert November & Ronny Swiggers David Stainer & Olav Bjortomt/Jussi Suvanto & Tero Kalliolevo (88)
David Stainer & Olav Bjortomt Albert November & Ronny Swiggers (88)
Jussi Suvanto & Tero Kalliolevo Albert November & Ronny Swiggers (88)
Nico Pattyn & Chris Braxel David Stainer & Olav Bjortomt (87)
Bart Permentier & Marnix Baes Jussi Suvanto & Tero Kalliolevo (86)
Paul Arts & Eric Hemelaers Jussi Suvanto & Tero Kalliolevo (86)
Ian Bayley & Pat Gibson Albert November & Ronny Swiggers (86)
Kevin Ashman & Mark Bytheway Nico Pattyn & Chris Braxel (86)
Erik Derycke & Tom Trogh Albert November & Ronny Swiggers (85)
Ole Martin Halck & Lars Heggland Albert November & Ronny Swiggers/David Stainer & Olav Bjortomt (85)
Bernard Kreps & Staf Dujardin Albert November & Ronny Swiggers (84)
Thomas Kolåsæter & Trine Aalborg Albert November & Ronny Swiggers (84)
Ed Toutant & Mark Ryder Albert November & Ronny Swiggers (84)
Ove Põder & Tauno Vahter David Stainer & Olav Bjortomt (83)
Harald Aastorp & Tore Dahl Albert November & Ronny Swiggers (83)
Mats Bergstrøm & Knut Heggland Albert November & Ronny Swiggers (83)
Sigve Sørland & Karen Skjånes Albert November & Ronny Swiggers (83)
Koen Vervremd & Derk de Graaf Albert November & Ronny Swiggers/David Stainer & Olav Bjortomt/Kevin Ashman & Mark Bytheway (82)
William De Ath & Mark Grant Albert November & Ronny Swiggers (82)
Dag Fjeldstad & Øystein Aadnevik Albert November & Ronny Swiggers (82)
Tiit Naarits & Heino Raivet David Stainer & Olav Bjortomt (82)
Lars Van Moer & Ivar Areklett Jussi Suvanto & Tero Kalliolevo (81)
Barry Simmons & David Edwards Albert November & Ronny Swiggers (81)
Stig Sanner & Trond Brastad Albert November & Ronny Swiggers (81)
Andres Kund & Tuomas Tumi Albert November & Ronny Swiggers (81)
Jenny Ryan & Gareth Kingston Albert November & Ronny Swiggers (80)
Bjørn Revil & Jon Strøm Albert November & Ronny Swiggers (80)
Tor Carlsen & Lars André Gundersen Albert November & Ronny Swiggers (80)
Stijn Vanacker Albert November & Ronny Swiggers (80)
Vallo Kask & Raul Raudsepp Albert November & Ronny Swiggers (80)
Sean O’Neill & Keith Andrew Albert November & Ronny Swiggers (80)
Paul Bailey & Dilip Chandran Albert November & Ronny Swiggers (80)
Tõnis Poom & Margus Maiste David Stainer & Olav Bjortomt (80)
Neil Harrison & Anurakshat Gupta Albert November & Ronny Swiggers (80)
Kristel Blommaert & Luc Venstermans Albert November & Ronny Swiggers/David Stainer & Olav Bjortomt (79)
Jamie Dodding & Stephen Dodding Albert November & Ronny Swiggers (79)
Indrek Salis & Aare Olander Albert November & Ronny Swiggers (79)
Gábor Hacsek & Zsófia Hacsek Albert November & Ronny Swiggers/David Stainer & Olav Bjortomt (79)
Peter Korrel & Rinus Uijl David Stainer & Olav Bjortomt (79)
Ragnhild Rein Bore & Jan Gunnar Fredriksen Albert November & Ronny Swiggers (79)
Dave Legler & Phil Smith Albert November & Ronny Swiggers (79)
Johan Vander Elst & Joke Cools David Stainer & Olav Bjortomt (78)
Dave Taylor & Rob Hannah Albert November & Ronny Swiggers (78)
Marte Stang Midttun & Toril Opsahl Albert November & Ronny Swiggers (78)
Truls Flatberg & Roger Eldegard Albert November & Ronny Swiggers (78)
Christian Thorn & Ingo Matzat Albert November & Ronny Swiggers/David Stainer & Olav Bjortomt (78)
Attila Verók & Gabor Gaspar Albert November & Ronny Swiggers (76)
György Kémeri & Béla Nováky Albert November & Ronny Swiggers/David Stainer & Olav Bjortomt (76)
Andrew Teale & Michael Mcgreavy Albert November & Ronny Swiggers (76)

Several superteams of three pairs had 92 points, and several superteams of four pairs had 95, lacking just one point for the fullest score possible (given the four zero-point questions), meaning that five pairs would be needed to take it all. Here, too, international hypothetical cooperation seems fruitful – in fact, one of the 96-points five-pairs combinations has representatives from seven countries (November/Swiggers + Vervremd/de Graaf + Kolåsæter/Aalborg + Toutant/Ryder + Kund/Tumi)!