# Stat Attack

That’s right! Not only do I like gossip and pointless conjecture at Bother’s Bar, on occasion I actually do some hard research as well.

Final rounds of gameshows are difficult to perfect – you want to be fair, but at the same time you don’t really want to disenfranchise the people lagging behind – miracle comebacks are good telly after all.

I was never a fan of “let’s double the points!!!!” because it doesn’t really solve a problem – sure, you make it easier to catch up. On the other hand, you make it just as easy to pull away, and chances are if they were doing better than you before they’re going to be doing twice as good as you when it really matters.

The Krypton Factor  was always slightly different in that it tests ability in a number of different disciplines. Most of these events are scored the same way (usually 10, 6, 4, 2). But the final round, General Knowledge plays slightly differently: a number of questions on the buzzer against a time limit with points on for answering correctly and points off for answering incorrectly. Incorrectly answered questions are not thrown over. The points and time limit have varied wildly over the years, but with the potential for one person to blast everybody out, is there too much weighting towards it?

So I thought we’d take a look at some stats from the 2009 series (we will do the same at the end of 2010 and compare). In this year, 2 points are awarded for a correct answer, -1 point for a wrong answer. 70 seconds is the time limit, which in practice meant between 9 and 14 questions.

The scores given are before general knowledge and in the brackets the final result:

Ep 1: 26 (31), 20 (21), 18 (17), 28 (30)
Ep 2: 22 (22), 26 (32), 20 (21), 24 (26)
Ep 3: 30 (32), 28 (30), 22 (29), 16 (20)
Ep 4: 26 (30), 12 (14), 18 (18), 34 (37)
Ep 5: 26 (26), 22 (26), 28 (30), 14 (23)
Ep 6: 30 (30), 20 (20), 20 (28), 22 (24)
Ep 7: 26 (27), 20 (23), 16 (18), 30 (36)
Ep 8: 24 (30), 10 (12), 22 (21), 36 (36)
Ep 9: 22 (31), 30 (32), 18 (19), 24 (23)
Ep 10: 14 (15), 20 (20), 22 (22), 34 (47)

Doing a little bit of number crunching shows up some quite interesting things:

• Given that other rounds are typically scored 10, 6, 4 and 2, if you were to average the best, second best and so on scores for GK in 2009 it would be worth 7.3, 2.5, 1.1 and 0.
• That equals 10.9, a far cry from the 22 points on offer for all the other rounds.
• The person leading going into the round ended up winning the contest nine out of ten times, but on only four occasions did they actually score the highest on general knowledge.

To me, this leads to a surprising conclusion that far from being weighted too heavily, general knowledge wasn’t weighted enough compared to other rounds of the contest. Whilst on only one occasion did a contestant score more than the 10 points on offer from other rounds, those further down lose out more.

I will return to this at the end of the 2010 – similar scoring but a longer 90 second time limit and seemingly faster questions. It’s also the fourth round of four rather than of five or six as it used to be.

If anyone wants to compile statistics from older series as shown on Challenge, go on right ahead.

1. Brekkie says:

Don’t you just hate it when you look into the stats hoping to prove a point and it comes out the other way!

• Brig Bother says:

I don’t hate it at all, that is the excitement of human endeavour.

2. KP says:

The one counter-argument is that there is an average gap of more than four points between first and second… it’s the gaps that matter (40 – 36 – 34 – 32 is equivalent to 10 – 6 – 4 – 2 as the gaps are 4 – 2 – 2 either way).

The average gaps here are 4.8 – 1.4 – 1.1, which implies that on average, there’s more to gain from being the best at general knowledge, but conversely less to lose from being the worst.

I’d expect these gaps to widen a little bit with the same underlying trend in 2010.

• Brig Bother says:

Yes that’s a reasonable point.

If you want to play along at home, the results for the first two episodes of 2010 go:

Ep 1: 26 (30), 16 (16), 20 (30), 10 (22)
Ep 2: 22 (23), 16 (16), 14 (19), 16 (25)

Episode one is particularly noteworthy here – scores of 12, 10 and 4. Ep 2 has 9, 5 and 1.

I wonder if there would be any merit in +2 for a right answer, -3 for a wrong one? Would it make it a bit more tactical in terms of interruptions? 2009 had some fairly poor swerve (and un-Krypton-like) questions, but I haven’t heard any in 2010 yet.

Also: The Krypton ‘Copter for 2011 Response please thanks.

3. Annoyed of Redditch says:

Someone call Ofcom that viewer competition on Indian Millionaire has been closed 3 years!

4. David says:

Just to have a comparison from the 6-round era-Here’s the 1990 series (90 seconds for the General Knowledge round,+2 right, -2 wrong)

1-28 (40), 36 (40), 32 (46), 30 (32)
2-24 (32), 30 (30), 40 (52), 22 (24)
3-16 (28), 42 (44), 34 (40), 28 (30)
4-16 (22), 40 (46), 32 (40), 36 (40)
5-30 (32), 36 (42), 34 (38), 22 (36)
6-22 (32), 32 (32), 34 (36), 34 (40)
7-32 (40), 26 (30), 36 (40), 24 (26)
8-28 (28), 38 (44), 22 (28), 32 (40)
9-22 (20), 34 (38), 30 (36), 28 (32)
10-30 (40), 24 (22), 30 (32), 34 (34)
11-30 (30), 34 (48), 32 (34), 36 (46)
12-40 (42), 32 (38), 20 (28), 22 (34)
13-24 (24), 32 (38), 32 (28), 34 (42)

• Brig Bother says:

Ooh good stuff thanks, I’ll number crunch these later, if someone doesn’t do it already.

It was 90 seconds in 1990, yes?

• Brig Bother says:

Alright, rounding to one decimal place we get 11.2, 6.5, 3.2 and 0.5 adding to 21.4 which is interestingly close to the norm. Five episodes where someone scores more than 10. The person leading going into the round wins 10 out of 13 times. Occasionally there’s an upset.

To be honest it does suggest that GK tends to be about right for an entertainment show which is what The Krypton Factor is when it comes down to it.

• KP says:

Yes, basically GK should be the most important round by a small margin, but keep the potential for anything to happen. The non-fixed scoring allows that (compare and contrast with F1 championships for instance), it’s just a question of balance in round length, and that’s what’s being examined here.