Sunday, 27 July 2008

Battle of the Brains

Our English Bridge Union team of Jeremy Baker, Amy Cherry, Stuart McPhee, Ian Mitchell, John Pain, Ian Payn and Colin Porch competed well in the quiz show and were seen on BBC Two on 21 August at 6pm. Our team won their second game on Battle of the Brains but sadly won't be returning for a third episode. Congratulations to them all for a good performance!

Battle of the Brains is a game show hosted by Paddy O'Connell and sees two teams of 6 members plus a team captain play a series of games focusing on different parts of the brain.

Battle of the Brains is a game show hosted by Paddy O'Connell and produced by Shine Ltd. for BBC Manchester. It is broadcast weekdays on BBC Two at 6:00pm, and started on 28 July 2008. Two teams of 6 members plus a team captain play a series of games focusing on different parts of the brain.

How does it work?

Round 1
Each captain chooses one member from their team of 6 to take part in one of 6 different tests of skill in one of 15 different categories. This happens 5 times in the first round and any member of the team can play except the team captain. If the player is successful they rejoin their team, if not, then the player is eliminated. If one team is totally successful, then they would have all 6 players intact, while the other team would be down to one.

The 6 different types of challenge are:
Accuracy - The players are asked three near-to-the-mark questions. The person who gets the nearest to the correct answer wins a point. The first to 2 wins. If both players type in the same answer, both get a point and it would become the first to 3 correct answeres who would win.

Identity - The players are asked to identity one thing related to the chosen subject. Clues are read out by Paddy one at a time. The player who answers the question first wins the round. If the player answers incorrectly, they are frozen out of the next clue.

Memory - The players have to take it turns to name things of a list relating to the chosen subject. The round ends when an incorrect answer is given or if no answer is given within 5 seconds.

Nerve - Like a penalty shootout, each player is answered a question each. If Player 1 answers correctly, then Player 2 would have to answer correctly or lose. If Player 1 answered incorrectly and Player 2 answered correctly, then Player 1 would lose. If both players did the same, the round will continue.

Speed - The players will be asked questions about the chosen subject on the buzzer. The winner is the first person to answer three questions correctly.

Wisdom - Both players will have 60 seconds on the chosen subject to answer as many questions as possible. The person with the most correct answers wins. If there is a tie, a sudden death tie-breaker question on the buzzers is asked.

Round 2
In the second round, the players who won the head-to-heads in round 1, along with the player who didn't play compete in a series of questions. The captain of the opposing team chooses which player to answer the question. If the answer is correct, the player stays, if the answer is wrong, the player is eliminated. This continues until one team has no players left.

Final Round
The winning team gets all their players regenerated. They have 90 seconds to get 6 consecutive questions correct. The question is read out, the captain chooses a player. If they get it right their light is turned on and they can't answer another question. If they answer wrong, then everyone's light is turned off. If all 6 lights are on the team wins £2,000.

Captain's Question
Following the final round the team captain has to answer a question correctly. With the captain turned around, so no signals of any kind can be made, Paddy offers the team 2 questions. They have to pick which one their captain will know the answer to. If the captain answers correctly the team can return to the next show. If answered incorrectly the team are eliminated and 2 new teams appear on the next show. (Incidentally, the captain gets asked the other question to see if he/she would have known the right answer.)

Thursday, 3 July 2008

John Armstrong

23rd January 1952 - 3rd July 2008

John Armstrong of Derbyshire, who has died suddenly aged 56, was a member of the England Open Bridge team a week earlier at the European Bridge Championships. In the pair rankings for the championship Armstrong and his partner, John Holland of Manchester, were second to the Norwegian gold medallists.

Armstrong was England’s most capped player in the Home Internationals in a career that spanned four decades. In 1987 Armstrong was in the British team that won silver in both the European and World championship, and then gold at the European Championships in 1991.
Armstrong was born in Ashbourne, Derbyshire in 1952. Both his parents were school teachers and John learned bridge as a teenager. He obtained a First at Cambridge University in mathematics. After University he moved to the Liverpool area for a job with Royal Insurance.
His long-time bridge partner was Graham Kirby. Their first international was in 1978. They earned 31 Camrose appearances for England concluding in 1997 when Kirby retired from international bridge to look after a young family. Armstrong had six internationals partnering Danny Davies before Davies took up a job in the United States.

Armstrong then formed a partnership with Holland. Their first match for England in 2006 saw Armstrong overtake the record of 37 caps for England long held by Tony Forrester. Armstrong and Holland were also selected for a Home International weekend in 2007 and in March this year, before the Europeans.

Armstrong recorded six wins in the Gold Cup, the British knockout championship.

He had retired from his job in insurance and returned to his home town. Armstrong was keen on orienteering, a talented pianist and a devout catholic. He was both a gentle man and a gentleman, very well-liked and respected in the bridge world.

Armstrong never married. He predeceases his mother, two brothers and a sister.