Today’s Final Jeopardy – Friday, May 28, 2021

Here’s today’s Final Jeopardy (in the category European Borders) for Friday, May 28, 2021 (Season 37, Game 175):

It’s still there, but none of the countries that bordered this country at the beginning of 1990 exist anymore

One note about today’s game: Due to the NBA playoffs, the airing of this episode has been moved to after the basketball in many markets on the West Coast. Please check your local listings.

(correct response beneath the contestants)

Today’s contestants:

Sam Kavanaugh, a substitute teacher originally from Carlton, Minnesota (yesterday’s total: $38,000)
Sam Kavanaugh on Jeopardy!
Jennifer Quail, a wine tasting consultant from Dowagiac, Michigan (yesterday’s total: $14,500)
Jennifer Quail on Jeopardy!
Veronica Vichit-Vadakan, a librarian from Portland, Oregon (yesterday’s total: $6,400)
Veronica Vichit-Vadakan on Jeopardy!

Andy’s Pregame Thoughts: A big wager in Final Jeopardy! yesterday paid off handsomely for Sam, and he’s got a commanding lead going into today’s game. In fact, Jennifer needs at least $11,800 before Final Jeopardy! today to even have a possibility of catching Sam, and that number may be even higher depending on how well Sam does. That being said, comebacks are possible and have happened in the past—this tournament is far from over.

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Correct response: What is Poland?

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More information about Final Jeopardy: (The following write-up is original content and is copyright 2021 The Jeopardy! Fan. It may not be copied without linked attribution back to this page.)

On January 1, 1990, Poland bordered East Germany (which reunified with West Germany in October of that year), Czechoslovakia (which split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 1993), and the Soviet Union (which dissolved December 26, 1991). Unlike yesterday’s clue, I thought that this was an excellent clue. A+ to the writers on this one; it is very fitting for a tournament final.

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Looking to find out who won Jeopardy! today? Tonight’s results are below!

Scores going into Final:
Sam $20,400
Jennifer $19,000
Veronica $9,200

Tonight’s results:
Veronica $9,200 – $0 = $9,200 + $6,400 = $15,600 ($50,000) (What is Albania?)
Jennifer $19,000 + $8,500 = $27,500 + $14,500 = $42,000 ($100,000) (What is Poland?)
Sam $20,400 – $12 = $20,388 + $38,000 = $58,388 ($250,000) (What is Hungary?)

Sam Kavanaugh, today's Jeopardy! winner (for the May 28, 2021 game.)

Scores after the Jeopardy! Round:
Sam $6,600
Jennifer $6,400
Veronica $3,200


Opening break taken after: 15 clues

Daily Double locations:
1) GEOGRAPHY $600 (clue #10)
Sam 2000 +2000 (Veronica 1000 Jennifer 2600)
2) THE 18th CENTURY $2000 (clue #5)
Jennifer 10400 +2200 (Veronica 3200 Sam 6600)
3) MATH CHAMPS $1200 (clue #13, $16000 left on board)
Sam 7800 +7800 (Veronica 5600 Jennifer 13800)
Overall Daily Double Efficiency for this game: 221

Unplayed clues:
J! Round: None!
DJ! Round: None!
Total Left On Board: $0
Number of clues left unrevealed this season: 188 (1.07 per episode average), 2 Daily Doubles

Game Stats:
Jennifer $18,800 Coryat, 22 correct, 2 incorrect, 38.60% in first on buzzer (22/57), 0/1 on rebound attempts (on 1 rebound opportunity)
Sam $12,400 Coryat, 16 correct, 0 incorrect, 24.56% in first on buzzer (14/57), 0/0 on rebound attempts (on 2 rebound opportunities)
Veronica $9,200 Coryat, 13 correct, 1 incorrect, 24.56% in first on buzzer (14/57), 0/0 on rebound attempts (on 1 rebound opportunity)
Combined Coryat Score: $40,400
Lach Trash: $9,600 (on 9 Triple Stumpers)
Coryat lost to incorrect responses (less double-correct responses): $4,000

Veronica Vichit-Vadakan, career statistics:
162 correct, 18 incorrect
10/14 on rebound attempts (on 42 rebound opportunities)
29.76% in first on buzzer (150/504)
5/7 on Daily Doubles (Net Earned: $8,200)
5/9 in Final Jeopardy
Average Coryat: $13,533

Jennifer Quail, career statistics:
340 correct, 37 incorrect
19/25 on rebound attempts (on 52 rebound opportunities)
43.66% in first on buzzer (320/733)
18/19 on Daily Doubles (Net Earned: $35,700)
12/13 in Final Jeopardy
Average Coryat: $19,646

Sam Kavanaugh, career statistics:
202 correct, 17 incorrect
4/5 on rebound attempts (on 31 rebound opportunities)
33.33% in first on buzzer (188/564)
15/16 on Daily Doubles (Net Earned: $84,000)
7/10 in Final Jeopardy
Average Coryat: $15,580

Andy’s Thoughts:

  • I was disappointed that there were no BEFORE, DURING & AFTER or INITIALS TO ROMAN NUMERALS TO NUMBERS categories in this tournament.
  • Sam is a very deserving champion of this tournament; he has cemented his reputation as one of the top Daily Double players in the history of the show.

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27 Comments on "Today’s Final Jeopardy – Friday, May 28, 2021"

  1. I got it right, but not in 30 seconds. My brain was stuck on Albania, which I knew wasn’t right. Yes, an excellent FJ!

  2. It’s hard to imagine that we haven’t seen a female win the tournament of champions since Celeste dinicci but Sam was well deserving

  3. Congratulations, Sam – well done!!!

  4. Great FJ clue today. I too fell for the Albania trap, which is pretty bad given my many years of German language study. If you start with Germany, it would be hard to go wrong.

    Congratulations to Sam! Hope to see him back in future events.

  5. Jennifer played very well, but seemingly could have won by going all in with her DD such as Sam did with his two, than going all in with FJ, since she got FJ correct and Sam didn’t, but congrats to Sam for an excellent TOC!

    • Yes, if she bet it all or most of her cash on the Daily Double she would have won as Sam bet it all on the final daily double and got it. She got the final and he missed it.

    • Ronnie Gambardella | May 31, 2021 at 12:12 am |

      If Alex were still the host I can hear his trademark reply to her wager…” $2200 only?”

  6. With Jennifer having to finish double jeopardy at least 11,750 higher than Sam to have a chance at winning, I thought her wager on the daily double was too conservative. I wonder if the difference between second and third being 50,000 weighed into her conservative bet.

    • Seems likely…. And farewell to Buzzy, who did a great job as Guest Host. If he’s interested in being Alex’s successor, we may get to see him again!

      • Ima Trebeki | May 31, 2021 at 10:52 pm |

        I remember Buzzy expressed an interest in hosting Jeopardy! when he was a contestant.

  7. Definitely one of the strongest Daily Double players in the history of the show. Congratulations on a well-deserved victory, Sam!

    Also, I haven’t seen anyone talking about this yet, but congratulations to Kevin Walsh!
    (He got engaged about a day after his semifinal game aired)

  8. I knew right away that Poland came to me the moment after the clue. Sam definitely earned the 250K win here in the toc. Jennifer played well too especially veronica. An excellent toc. I needed to brush up on my German so I didn’t fall for the Albania trap.

  9. Noumon Munir | May 28, 2021 at 3:21 pm |

    yay sam repping MN !!

  10. Geez, that mincing Daily Double by Jennifer… how does that happen in a ToC final? Her poor Daily Double betting cost her hundreds of thousands of dollars. 🙁 Still one of my favourite contestants of the past few years.

    Hats off to Sam, who evidently studied hard for the tournament and has employed an optimal strategy from his first day on the show. Makes you wonder how many long-forgotten players could have been Sam Kavanaugh with better DD strategy. He was out-Coryated in four of the six games in his original run!

    Speaking of Sam’s original run, he owes a big thank-you to Steven Green, who saved Sam from being a long-forgotten one-day champion with a clunker of a FJ bet:

    And let’s pour one out for Roey Hadar, who locked out the Tournament of Champions winner in his first game, then managed a lock-tie in his second, bet zero in FJ, lost the tiebreaker, and went home. Arguably one of the most impressive one-day champions ever. It’s a shame he couldn’t squeak out the win on day 2, as he would have played Jason Z in the following game.

    One of the more interesting Jeopardy counterfactuals is “Who would have beaten James if he’d squeaked by Emma?” I think he would have been in tough against Salome and Brendan (who ultimately squeezed out Emma), but it would have been great to see him take on Ryan Bilger, Sam, and Jason. Turning the tables a bit, it’s fun to think of Nate Scheffey competing in this tournament.

    Final tournament thoughts:

    Some great FJs, including today’s. Would have liked to see the fourth quarterfinal’s be a bit easier from a fairness perspective.
    Pretty good tournament matchups, though I would not have put Jason vs. Jennifer in round 2. I know I said the show would do that (in a post that was maybe deleted?), but it was still disappointing to see. They were the top two seeds going into the tournament.
    Looking forward to seeing Sam, Jason, and hopefully Jennifer back for some kind of reunion super-tournament. I’d absolutely watch an all-women tournament, too (Larissa/Jennifer/Emma final?), although the misogynists would lose their minds.
    Finally, credit where it’s due: Buzzy stepped up and put on a decent performance. He wouldn’t have been my pick, and if he is picked as permanent host I’ll be extremely disappointed, but he got the job done here.

    • Interestingly on Quora when someone mentioned James’s bet against Emma, Jennifer Quail stated that he made the wrong one when in fact he made the perfect bet under the circumstances. Appears wagering is not her strong point.

  11. Brad (not Rutter) | May 28, 2021 at 5:09 pm |

    What the heck was Jennifer thinking with that wimpy DD wager?! We could have had a thrilling finish. Anyway, congrats to Sam, and I wish today’s game had happened yesterday.

    • I think she knew she was out of the running by that point (even if she had bet it all and got it correct, she wouldn’t have been able to catch Sam) and was just trying to make sure she didn’t fall to third place.

      • Incorrect. Had she bet it all, she would have been in range to catch Sam in Final Jeopardy—and she would have done so with how Final worked out.

    • She would have won the tournament if she bet it all or most of her cash at that time. There still was another daily double at that time but after Game 1 she was in a position where she would have to bet big to take the tournament. She is 18/19 in Daily Doubles. Jennifer also bet fairly small for Final Jeopardy in Game 1.

  12. Jason Smith | May 28, 2021 at 8:37 pm |

    How come Denmark isn’t also correct for FJ? It only borders current Germany. It shares maritime borders with several countries, but one of those is Poland, which would invalidate the question.

    • I believe that they would only count land borders.The pluralization of countries would mean that it would have to share a land border with more than one country.

      • Jason Smith | May 29, 2021 at 12:51 am |

        Semantics. There are two countries that share borders with only defunct countries. Therefore both are correct. Yet another example of the terrible writing but the clue team recently. Especially for an FJ in the TOC, there should be no ambiguity whatsoever.

    • At the beginning of 1990 Denmark bordered the Federal Republic of Germany (popularly referred to as “West Germany”). The Federal Republic of Germany still exists, but with a larger land area because it now includes land which at that time was the German Democratic Republic (popularly referred to as “East Germany”).

  13. Enos Williams | May 28, 2021 at 11:12 pm |

    “I was disappointed that there were no BEFORE, DURING & AFTER or INITIALS TO ROMAN NUMERALS TO NUMBERS categories in this tournament.”

    “Some men aren’t looking for anything logical, like money. They can’t be bought, bullied, reasoned, or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.”

  14. Jennifer clearly had the knowledge to be a TOC Champion. She lacked, however, the necessary daring.

    • Agreed! Jennifer definitely has the knowledge to be a TOC champ. Emma showed that daring and would have been the previous TOC champ had James missed FJ then as Sam did. But I’m sure it’s very hard to do after being consciously conservative in regular Jeopardy! Kudos to Ken for learning to be as daring as James in the GOAT tournament else James would have smoked him probably 3-0! We were spoiled with high drama in the GOAT tournament when Ken, Brad and James went all in with true DD’s on every DD.

  15. Donna Sandin | May 29, 2021 at 8:01 am |

    Our channel here in the DC metro area went to tornado warnings and squeezed in the video of the last few questions and the final in the upper corner of the screen. But of course we couldn’t HEAR the correct answer or the final banter….SO irresponsible of this major ABC outlet not to tell its thousands of viewers in a “crawl” when they’d rerun the show. Glad I found the final answer here but I miss the chatter as the award is received

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