Game Recap – Jeopardy! Greatest of All Time, Match 1 (Tuesday, January 7, 2020)


Warning: There may be spoilers in the post below at any point after 8:00 PM Eastern on January 7, 2020.

Tonight’s the night for Match #1 of the Jeopardy! Greatest of All Time! Here’s tonight’s game recap (for January 7, 2020):

Are you looking for the recap for tonight’s syndicated game? Find it here!


Today’s contestants:

Brad Rutter, currently on 0 wins
Brad Rutter on Jeopardy!
Ken Jennings, currently on 0 wins
Ken Jennings on Jeopardy!
James Holzhauer, currently on 0 wins
James Holzhauer on Jeopardy!

This is currently a placeholder post which will be updated with Final Jeopardy! information and a game recap once it is known.

Preview: Anything can happen and a lot is unknown going into the first of these matches. The prediction model from December made Brad a very slight favorite going in. The winner of this match will certainly get some confidence and momentum for Match #2 tomorrow as well! In case anyone was wondering, these episodes were not live; taping began on December 10.


Updated daily at around 11:30 AM Eastern, you can find an archive of J!6 questions here at The Jeopardy! Fan!

Are you going on the show and looking for information about how to bet in Final Jeopardy? Check out my new Betting Strategy 101 page!

I recently updated my tournament wildcard models with as much tournament data that I’ve been able to find! If you’re playing in a tournament, you’ll want to check this out!

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Part 1, Final Jeopardy! category: PRESIDENTS & THE BIBLE

Part 1, Final Jeopardy! clue: “Silent” Calvin Coolidge was inaugurated in 1925 on a bible open to this 6-word first line of the gospel according to John


Did you know that you can now find game-by-game stats of everyone, now including Jason Zuffranieri and James Holzhauer, who has won 10 or more games on Jeopardy!, here on the site?


Part 1, Final Jeopardy! correct response: What is “In the beginning was the word”?

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Part 2, Final Jeopardy! category: ASTRONOMERS

Part 2, Final Jeopardy! clue: This man’s name was given to a comet that crashed into Jupiter in 1994; he’s the only human whose remains lie on the moon


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Part 2, Final Jeopardy! correct response: Who is (Eugene) Shoemaker?


Game 1 results:
Brad 5,200 + 5,200 = 10,400
James 16,600 + 16,600 = 33,200
Ken 33,200 + 11,800 = 45,000

Game 2 results:
Brad 10,000 – 10,000 = 0 + 10,400 = 10,400 (Who is Hale)?
Ken 12,200 + 6,200 = 18,400 + 45,000 = 63,400 (Game 1 winner)
James 15,000 + 15,000 = 30,000 + 33,200 = 63,200

Tonight's final scores for Jeopardy! Greatest of All Time Match 1 (January 7, 2020).

Daily Double locations:
1) MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS $1000 (15th pick)
Brad 1800 +1800 (James 5200 Ken 4000)
2) DANCING WITH THE CZARS $1600 (1st pick)
Brad 4000 -4000 (James 7800 Ken 7000)
3) BEFORE, DURING & AFTER $1200 (4th pick)
Ken 8600 +8600 (James 9800 Brad 0)
4) GREATEST OF ALL TIME TRAVELLERS $600 (5th pick)
Ken 2400 +2400 (James 1000 Brad 0)
5) LET’S JAZZ UP THIS PLACE $1600 (1st pick)
Brad 3800 -3800 (James 8200 Ken 7000)
6) PHILOSOPHERS $2000 (7th pick)
Brad 2800 -2800 (Ken 10600 James 9800)
Overall Daily Double Efficiency for this match: 0

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Unplayed clues:
Game 1, J! round: None!
Game 1, DJ! round: None!
Game 2, J! round: None!
Game 2, DJ! round: None!
Total $ Left On Board: $0

Game Stats:
Ken 36,200 Coryat, 48 correct, 5 incorrect, 43.86% in first on buzzer, 1/1 on rebound attempts (on 3 rebound opportunities)
James 31,600 Coryat, 39 correct, 2 incorrect, 33.33% in first on buzzer, 3/3 on rebound attempts (on 6 rebound opportunities)
Brad 25,000 Coryat, 28 correct, 4 incorrect, 21.93% in first on buzzer, 3/3 on rebound attempts (on 7 rebound opportunities)
Combined Coryat Score: $92,800
Lach Trash: $2,400 (on 2 Triple Stumpers)
Coryat lost to incorrect responses (less double-correct responses): $12,800

James Holzhauer, stats to date:
1,348 correct, 47 incorrect
41/44 on rebound attempts (on 82 rebound opportunities)
55.69% in first on buzzer (1228/2205)
78/84 on Daily Doubles (Net Earned: $676,988)
37/39 in Final Jeopardy
Average Coryat: $29,272

James Holzhauer, to win (per the prediction model):
Wins in 3: 0.000% of the time.
Wins in 4: 7.383% of the time.
Wins in 5: 12.928% of the time.
Wins in 6: 11.790% of the time.
Wins in 7: 5.866% of the time.
Overall: 37.966% of the time.

Ken Jennings, stats to date:
2,983 correct, 299 incorrect
108/134 on rebound attempts
58.66% in first on buzzer (2888/4923)
145/175 on Daily Doubles (Net Earned: $465,399)
56/85 in Final Jeopardy
Average Coryat: $26,386

Ken Jennings, to win (per the prediction model):
Wins in 3: 7.147% of the time.
Wins in 4: 10.393% of the time.
Wins in 5: 11.455% of the time.
Wins in 6: 8.249% of the time.
Wins in 7: 3.695% of the time.
Overall: 40.938% of the time.

Brad Rutter, stats to date:
722 correct, 81 incorrect
41/44 on rebound attempts
41.27% in first on buzzer (681/1650)
43/52 on Daily Doubles (Net Earned: $62,300)
16/27 in Final Jeopardy
Average Coryat: $19,124

Brad Rutter, to win (per the prediction model):
Wins in 3: 0.000% of the time.
Wins in 4: 3.059% of the time.
Wins in 5: 6.259% of the time.
Wins in 6: 7.434% of the time.
Wins in 7: 4.342% of the time.
Overall: 21.095% of the time.


Andy’s Thoughts:

  • The turning point was absolutely the BEFORE, DURING & AFTER Daily Double, and it goes to show just what they can do. Good on Ken for going all-in. That buoyed a Double Jeopardy! round where he went 16/0 in the second half of Game 1, en route to a Game 1 $25,800 Coryat and a 27-20 advantage over James on the buzzer.
  • James played very well for not seeing a Daily Double, and the prediction model is bullish on James’ chances, even though Ken is a slight favorite thanks to his Game 1 win.
  • Brad’s interview comments about his brain losing a step were prescient; it felt like all 3 of his Daily Doubles were on the tip of his tongue, and he probably would have had them all in 2005. I’ve always said that he gives you one chance to beat you. Was this the one chance? Will he be able to bounce back tomorrow?

Contestant photo credit: jeopardy.com

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58 Comments on "Game Recap – Jeopardy! Greatest of All Time, Match 1 (Tuesday, January 7, 2020)"

  1. Were you able to get the FJ questions before air time because you were at the taping, or through some other source (or are they airing earlier than I thought)?

    Keep up the great work. Your dedication to the site is inspiring.

  2. Brilliant!

    I await the comments of anti-religious people and cries of “inside baseball” on the first Final Jeopardy.

    Two fantastic FJ clues for this tournament, in my opinion.

  3. I think the second DD in DJ! was poorly worded…”this double first-name philosopher..?” I was trying to think of someone with a double first name, like John-John. Looked to me that so was Brad.

    • Elizabeth Harris | January 7, 2020 at 10:09 pm | Reply

      I totally agree and said exactly the same think to my daughter. His response reflected the poor wording of the question as all he could come up with was Jean Paul Sartre. It should have been worded “This philosopher whose last name is also a first name…”

  4. For brad this is the same problem with Watson he’s not just playing ken but another quick person on the buzzer. I think ken wins in 6 3 for him 2 for James 1 for brad

  5. Can someone tell me who the actors were that gave out clues in the 2nd game, double jeopardy round? The one guy played on a tv drama I used to watch and I can’t remember the name of it and it’s driving me nuts!

  6. In his biographical feature, Ken really seemed determined to finally climb the Brad Rudder mountain. In Game One, he seemed to be up to the task–very impressive!
    Thank you for setting the tournament up on this site, Andy. Good job!

  7. I NEVER KNEW THERE WAS A CORPSE ON THE MOON!

  8. Has there ever been a string of back-to-back games that saw six consecutive TDDs before?

  9. It will all hinge on who gets the daily doubles and Brad seems to get most of them. I’ve seen enough, no matter the outcome, James is the greatest of all time!

  10. Ken:
    W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W
    James:
    W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W

    If you wanna be the GOAT…win baby!
    If you’ve done this MORE THAN TWICE AS MUCH as the next guy in line…you the GOAT!

  11. What a game! I guess Brad’s streak of never losing to a human came crashing down tonight. Ken and James looked like the best players (with tiny edge to Ken) but I’m not counting Brad out by any means.

  12. $200 was all there was between 1st and 2nd place! Wow, what a close finish. What would have happened if it was a tie?

  13. I was wondering how many total games Ken has played so it must be 85 (based on 56/85 in Final Jeopardy). Hopefully he gets in the 90 total games played lifetime.

    • Because of the All-Star Games last season, it’s difficult to put a specific number. I’d say 87 is probably the best number. (He didn’t play Final Jeopardy! at all during the All-Star Games.)

  14. Does anyone remember the exact question that James answered = cataracts?

    It was something about an $11 cure.

    Thank you!

  15. Ken bet MASSIVELY wrong in the FJ! in the first game… he should’ve bet at LEAST 25k. He could’ve essentially locked in the match there with a category that he knows very well that he is the best at. The odds of him missing and the other 2 hitting are SO low at that specific category.

    I want a game where the 3rd place can beat the first 2, if they both get it wrong, with James in the middle position, and see how he bets (I forget which scenario this is). I’d also like to see how he bets in that same scenario as the person in third. So interesting analyzing these game theories in this type of tournament!

    I think Ken is well out gunned after watching that.

    • Sorry — game = second game in the match…

      this was the one game that Brad gave Ken to win the tournament… Brad will get stronger on buzzer through the match, while Ken will get weaker, given they use the same method. A method that will weaken, given it uses cadence, and cadence will change, given … why we all give to the purple ribbon society.

      Ken getting the last DD in his strongest category (a connect the dots), a double up was easy… I think I bump Ken and Brads odds down, when incorporating luck factor in these matches.

      Ken also won the buzzer handily today. Alex’ cadence will change and brads ability to pick up on that will get stronger (Ken HANDILY won the buzzer battle, while it seemed it was = bw methods), and in interviews Ken has mentioned how “age matters” with ringing in.

    • Had Final Jeopardy! gone the other way (i.e. a very difficult Triple Stumper), Ken would have had a $20,000 lead. I thought he made a sufficiently aggressive wager, considering the circumstances.

      • Ok, but bible and history are notably Ken strengths. So are ~Kennections~. A 20k lead is not much with an opponent that bets aggressively and another opponent that knows he must now also do that and has beaten you in other games.

        A 30k lead over a new opponent, who you know is strong that you’ve never played, and 50k lead over someone you’ve lost to in every single dual game match that you know has to play the same aggressive style?

        Would you rather bank on the triple stumper and be up 20k in one of your strongest suits, or put it away?

        Again, in this specific category, he needed to bet 2/3 or more. He’s historically not strong at FJ! and the other two are, where is almost matters most. He could have put the match away early and chose not to, and that to me signals he will not fare well.

  16. Ugh *fair well

  17. Ugh… and I clearly shouldn’t have corrected my correct self to be incorrect.

    Finally, to me — effectively put it away or come out w a 10k lead is a clear no brainer over coming out effectively 10k ahead on a triple stumper and just 6k ahead. Ken’s abilities to adjust his strategy to an opponent clearly lack, given his inability to win a tournament and that he’s only ~essentially~ won against fresh opponents.

    This is not an indictment against Ken’s abilities at trivia or Jeopard (he is very traversed and very respected), but rather it’s a commentary on the art of how cards are drawn and how to adjust to known opponents.

    • Ummm…you realize you are criticizing as “MASSIVELY wrong” a player who has won more games than anyone else, and in particular WON THIS TIME?
      I do agree with you that your comments are not an “indictment.” LOL

  18. Just finished watching on the West Coast, Amazing! Ken was exciting with his biggest DD bets ever and extremely quick on the buzzer. James & Ken had the most competitive tournament match ever! Can’t wait for day 2! James did amazingly well despite no DDs. If he can get a fair share in his remaining games, I predict he wins the tournament. But DDs weren’t Brad’s friend today!

  19. Andy (or whomever) — Out of curiosity, do you know how they taped these? Did they do two episodes (four games) per day? One per day over a longer time?

  20. Great stuff! Brad obviously had a terrible time with the DD’s, but I imagine he’ll bounce back (sometimes it’s best to have all your whiffs in one match). Ken wasn’t kidding in his little pre-taped segment, he was intense as all get-out, especially when he got the second Final Jeopardy! right. James was his usual cool self, but the lack of a DD can be all the difference in this game. What is clear is that James’ DD strategy will not be ignored by Ken and Brad. ALL “True” DD’s today! Let’s hope for more drama on Day 2.

  21. Can anyone shed some light on how the lock out system works? Specifically, on the “recorder” clue, when Ken tried to ring in based on the cadence of Alex’s voice (not realizing there was a musical component) would he have remained locked out at the conclusion of the clue or can the lock out elapse during the clue?

    It occurred to me, based on Andy’s description of buzzer technique in the preview article, that although Brad rang in on this one, James might have an advantage on media clues of indeterminate length since he’s accustomed to reacting to the lights.

  22. Steven G Orvis | January 8, 2020 at 8:22 am | Reply

    The bottom line is that all three of these guys are absolutely brilliant, and it was never clearer than it was tonight.
    I was especially impressed with their responses to the “Before, During and After” and “Triple Rhyme Time” categories. The responses were out of their mouths in about one second.

  23. Ken in 4.
    This is a buzzer contest, and the DD advantage should average out, theoretically.

    • I’ve felt all along that finding the DDs, and when you find them, is a HUGE luck issue. But just think: if the questions in DDs were terribly obscure! Then, finding the DDs would be a negative! Betting huge sums would no longer be wise! Perhaps, this was a move that the organizers have used in dealing with GOATS like Ken, Brad, and James. We’ll see…

  24. Another amazing thing was the first game J! round , which they completed in record time without missing one. They completed all of them in the time Alex normally takes a break after 15 or so questions.

  25. Though he didn’t have a lock and won only by $200, Ken surely knew he had a win if he was correct in the second FJ! and wagered accordingly! Give him credit for calculating quickly how not too wager too little or too much.

    If Brad has aced his 3 missed DDs, he would have been in the lead entering the 2nd FJ. But alas, he missed that also. Having never see him play previously, would love to see him shine and win at least one.

  26. In your final results for James, one equals sign needs to be changed to a plus.

  27. So, I had a few strategy thoughts:

    Ken made the right decision making a huge True DD on Before, Middle and After. But you could see how stressed it made him, even if it is now just for points. That points to one of the more subtle advantages that James has. When you have made thousands of large bets on very small edges, the making of a large bet doesn’t feel stressful and you can operate at peak efficiency. It is noteworthy that the next time Ken had an opportunity to make a big bet in a core subject of his (FJ1), he chose a more moderate size bet instead of a bet size which, in hindsight, would have game 2 a runaway.
    James has made 2 notable changes to his subject-picking strategy. His typical early strategy on Round 1 is to run the 1000 row. It is less likely to stumble on the DD, but allows him to build his bankroll so that if he hits the DD, he can bet big and put the game away early. As he faces tougher competition, this strategy is both less intimidating and also less likely to succeed, as his more skilled opponents are just as likely to benefit and are almost equally willing to bet big early. In game 1, when he got control of the board early, he stayed in the 600 and 800 rows, prioritizing finding the DD for himself over building bankroll.
    The second strategy that James used to employ was quickly jumping around the board using an abbreviated term for the subject. This gave him the advantage of being able to process that topic and the implications for the clue ahead of his opponents. I don’t see why this strategy would not be just as effective against Brad and Ken. I wonder if the producers asked him to ease off on this technique, as it also makes for a worse TV product.

    • Your analysis of changes in James’ strategy is very well explained. I had noticed he wasn’t focused on the 1000 row but didn’t know why and his pace and style in calling the categories was just as you described. We’ll see if he changes that strategy up tonight!

  28. Marty Cunningham | January 8, 2020 at 3:29 pm | Reply

    I checked on my DVR on Monday, to record this week’s games and it showed three for this week, and then one next Tuesday. When I checked again last night, after watching the first match, it now has shows listed Tuesday through Friday next week, so a new total of 7 shows, which seems to mean this will go down to the wire; one deciding show, and possibly one deciding question. But that is as it should be.
    Last night’s show was well done. Nice touches to give it a special feeling, elevated above the daily shows or regular tournaments. Not sure who was in the audience, that was dark for a change. For secrecy, I would think only friends or relatives of the three contestants were allowed into the taping. And it seemed like they may have ‘relaxed’ the time limits for each round, since they cleared every board, but these guys know the shorthand on calling for clues. But truly a master class in how the game should be played, by three of the best who have ever played it. If it does go to seven games, I really don’t care who wins; he will have definitely earned the honor!
    If James wins the million, he would pass Ken in total earnings, but Ken cannot pass Brad if he wins the million (but he would get very close).
    Excellent show. Can’t wait to see more.

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