Jeopardy! Announces Second Chance Tournament Participants

Jeopardy! has announced the field for the show’s first-ever Second Chance Tournament, to be held this fall.

The field was announced on August 1 to coincide with the debut episode of the show’s Inside Jeopardy! podcast.

The 18 players who will be returning are:

Isaac Applebaum, Stanford, CA (4th place in the Jeopardy! National College Championship)
James Fraser, Newport Beach, CA (March 10, 2021)
Sadie Goldberger, Columbia, MD (June 17, 2022)
Aaron Gulyas, Grand Blanc, MI (May 27, 2022)
Molly Karol, Houston, TX (November 15, 2021)
Alicia O’Hare, Long Beach, NY (July 6, 2022)
Do Park, Minneapolis, MN (December 20, 2021)
Tom Philipose, Forest Hills, NY (June 2, 2022)
Tracy Pitzel, Ellensburg, WA (September 20, 2021)
Nickee Porcaro, originally from Lebanon, NJ (June 25, 2021)
Renée Russell, Baltimore, MD (April 28, 2022)
Pam Schoenberg, South Salem, NY (November 30, 2021)
Jeff Smith, San Diego, CA (November 5, 2021)
Sarah Snider, Fishers, IN (May 5, 2022)
Jessica Stephens, Nashville, TN (October 11, 2021)
Rowan Ward, Chicago, IL (August 13, 2021)
Jack Weller, originally from San Diego, CA (January 22, 2021)
Cindy Zhang, New York, NY (November 4, 2021)

According to an announcement on her Twitter account, Erica Weiner-Amachi (July 18, 2022) will be an alternate player for the event. (There may also be more alternate players selected.)

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One wrinkle in the tournament format has caught many fans off-guard: There will be 2 players in this tournament advancing to the Tournament of Champions in November. In this week’s Inside Jeopardy!, it has been said that the upcoming Tournament of Champions format will be different — the Tournament of Champions field and format will be announced on the August 15 episode of the podcast.

Unfortunately, some fans are likely going to be focused on how some of their favorite players from the most recent Tournament of Champions cycle didn’t receive an invitation. There are obviously going to be perceived snubs in a format such as this, and this is no exception. In my opinion, there are undoubtedly many more very deserving players than there were spots available in this event, and that means that the favorites of many won’t be returning. There were 787 people who were eligible for this Tournament of Champions, and somewhere around 770 (give or take a few) of whom had not already qualified for the ToC. It’s going to be impossible for everyone to agree on which subset of those 770-or-so should get a second chance. Thus, as a fandom, we should celebrate the players who were fortunate enough to be invited back instead of being upset about those who weren’t.


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6 Comments on "Jeopardy! Announces Second Chance Tournament Participants"

  1. “There were 787 people who were eligible for this Tournament of Champions”
    I disagree. To be eligible for ToC, a player has to win at least 4 games (or win a special tournament, or in rare cases be granted special eligibility by the producers ala Emma B).
    That list contains about 19 people.

    I’m guessing your stat of 787 people are those who played during the current ToC qualification window (don’t know if you included the non-winners of the Prof or college tourneys or not), which is the same qualification window that was used for the SCT. And while they didn’t specifically lay out qualification parameters (aside from the airdate window), it would seem that other than the 4th place JCC player, another qualification would be NOT having won their original J! game. That would bring the number to roughly the range of 550-650
    but I’m probably being overly pedantic

    • yeah, only thing I could think was 787 were eligible for SCT. Glad to see Ms. Goldberger getting a second chance after losing because she couldn’t finish writing Tubman in time (which was a correct ruling – I’m not arguing with the ruling).

  2. The podcast seemed to infer that the 9 SCT contestants that were summarized on that first podcast episode would be competing in the first week of the SCT (with each week essentially being its own mini-tournament with its champion getting a ToC spot). Though they might have misspoke when they said that (or perhaps I misunderstood)

  3. Jack Weller’s inclusion is interesting in the theoretical dilemma it presents, although the choice in this instance is obvious.

    I can’t know why he was chosen as the parameters were not released, and other than the winless requirement, and possibly “no questions wrong”, there isn’t a perfectly ascertainable algorithm to the choices. I also have to believe that, unlike the regular show, contestants being offered to participate in the SCT would be required to be available during the specific dates of the SCT. Usually, the show will reschedule or work around a participant’s schedule if it can. Here, that wouldn’t be possible. Thus, there is no way to know if someone was invited but is unable or chose not to participate.

    Nevertheless, if losing on a tiebreaker would, theoretically, be a qualifier for the SCT, would a contestant rather win once, with the possibility of winning again enough times to participate in a tournament that would only require the contestant to win two games to enter the TOC(as the current SCT is set up, although the second game is a doubleheader).

    The dilemma obviously changes based on the money involved in the original tiebreaker, and here with a “guaranteed” $35k+ on the line, the answer is obvious. But what if the two contestants both get FJ wrong and are tied at a very low number instead?

    Survive to play another day, or aim for the possible TOC shortcut…?

    • Nevertheless, if losing on a tiebreaker would, theoretically, be a qualifier for the SCT, would a contestant rather win once, with the possibility of winning again enough times to participate in **the TOC (and winning a lot of money along the way) or lose the tiebreaker and be entered into a tournament that would only require the contestant to win two games to enter the TOC (as the current SCT is set up, although the second game is a doubleheader).

    • your pretense is faulty, as there is no way for a contestant to know that losing gets them into the SCT. Because at the time of that match, there was no such thing as the SCT. And even if there had been, there is no guaranteed way of getting into the SCT (and perhaps that is the reason why they’ve never divulged official qualification criteria).
      And who is to say that being in a tiebreak situation was even part of the equation. It could have been as simple as the fact that he had a high total (18800) after DJ, or one of the highest non-winning totals after FJ (37600) by a challenger (someone who wasn’t a returning champ)
      Not to mention that they hadn’t even announced the format of the SCT until AFTER all of the season’s episodes had aired.

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