It’s…a chess clock quiz

By | February 2, 2020

The format for Beat the Chasers has leaked and we’re a bit disappointed to discover it’s a chess clock quiz, which are rarely quite as good and exciting an idea in reality as they are on paper.

Basically each contestant starts with 5 questions in a Cashbuilder for £1,000 each, then the Chasers make increasing offers depending on how big (or little) a headstart you get, from a baseline one minute. It sounds like winning is going to be largely dependent on how many questions the Chasers get wrong and keeping up a decent hit rate yourself.

21 thoughts on “It’s…a chess clock quiz

    1. Nico W.

      To me it sounds like the first question is on the buzzer for both parties and from there on the clock of whoever did not get a right answer keeps running, while the one with the right answer stops. But that’s just how I read it, no idea whether that is right or not.

      1. Brig Bother Post author

        It certainly sounds like the amount of chasers are cumulative and they’ll have to buzz in, like the contestants do on a standard final chase.

  1. Danny Kerner

    So the final is like the head to head in alphabetical of series 1.

  2. Brekkie

    Will be interesting to see how the Chasers actually interact with each other on screen. Not fully convinced by this format but preferable to another celeb run. Finding now I’ve seen most the celeb repeats more than once.

  3. David B

    Having visited this avenue of development myself, the issue with chess clocks is always that there’s a certain amount of time drained by the questions themselves. So if you’ve got 2 or 3 seconds left and it’s passed over to you, you’re pretty much toast (and if not then, then certainly on the next one). But if you don’t run the clock down during questions, then you end up with the Waiting Game problem of continuously passing until you get a question you like. So it’ll be interesting if there’s been any new ideas in this area.

    I’m willing to give this a go, but I agree with the comment above about “interaction” since this particular set up seems sub-optimal if you’re after Inter-Chaser Bantz.

    1. Matt Clemson

      While it’s not strictly a ‘chess clock quiz’, I quite like the approach The Hit List’s final round has to it: Five free seconds after each stoppage, *then* the clock kicks in. Gives you a grace period to retain a ‘perfect score’, but if you do have to start passing, no grace period for subsequent questions until you get to a fresh stoppage.

      That said, while that works in a “get ten answers” environment, it could end up with lengthy stalemates in a versus format.

  4. Alex Richards

    Idea: use the idea of byoyomi from the game Go. Have a chess clock, but when the time is elapsed, the player reaches a sudden-death mode where they only have a fixed 5 seconds or so to answer, with a wrong answer or timing out causing elimination.

    This might be crap, haven’t had the time to properly think about it, I just wanted to flex on knowing about timing systems in Go to be honest.

    1. Brig Bother Post author

      I think I like this as an idea, or certainly a sudden death variant of it, as it would make those end bits potentially far more tense.

      I think people sort of misunderstand chess clocks, they’re more there as pressure on you to make a move then they are to pressure your opponent – you always have the option to make a rubbish move to keep time and make your opponent play which is not a luxury afforded to having to getting questions right.

      I always remember how much I liked the sudden death mode with that moving block in Splatoon, in that when time elapses if you’re behind but in control you can keep playing until you lose control. I think there is format potential in something like that, where zero doesn’t mean zero.

      1. David B

        Well, that’s quite similar to the ‘one last try’ thing in the Freeze bit of Avanti. And in rugby, the game doesn’t end at 80 minutes but keeps going until the end of the current passage of play so, if you’re within a converted try of the other team, you still have a chance.

        So I think the correct answer to all of this is: “the loser is the first person to get a question wrong when their clock has expired”.

    2. Chris M. Dickson

      As the kids say these days, “weird flex but OK”. I have been looking for an excuse to say this for weeks, so thank you.

      While we’re doing game show format elements as mind sports timing mechanics, one might compare the timer in Tom and David’s Game Garage’s Checkpoint to a Fischer clock, and the timer in the final of The Hit List to a clock with simple delay, which is very closely related to a Bronstein clock.


    3. Chris M. Dickson

      Just the other day, I learnt about the concept of the Elam ending to a sports match, used in higher-scoring sports. Instead of a match being played for 60 minutes, it is played for (e.g.) 56 minutes, then the clock is stopped. Instead of there being a fixed duration and variable winning score, the rest of the match is played with a variable duration and a fixed winning score, (e.g.) eight points ahead of the current score of whoever is leading at the 56 minute mark. So the winning team only needs to score eight points to win, but the losing team can still come back to overtake them at the very end; if they were only losing by two points at the 56 minute mark then they only need to score ten points to win before the winning team scores eight, which seems possible, but if they were losing by twenty-two points at the 56 minute mark then they need to score 30 points to win before the winning team scores eight, which would be a feat of appropriate heroism.

      I’d say “how about that for a cool mechanic for a quiz?” – but it would work much better for a YouTube quiz, or similar, where videos can go on as long as they please, rather than a TV quiz which generally needs to be a pretty predictable duration.

  5. David B

    Apropos of nothing, if you haven’t already jumped down the rabbit hole that is Escape the Hunt, the latest one is a good starting point:

  6. Des Elmes

    All this talk of chess clocks in game shows, and Grand Slam hasn’t yet been mentioned. (Was that *really* seventeen years ago now? Jesus…)

    Grand Slam ran for only one series, of course – and I’ve always wondered if this was actually intentional. More often than not, Carol Vorderman said that the champion would be “the greatest television quiz player of all time”. And none of the show’s flaws – including the clocks being calibrated in hundredths of a second, switched questions being switched straight back, and the anticlimactic final round – were sorted out during the run.

    GSN’s version ran for only one season, too – and also had its clocks calibrated in hundredths of a second, and allowed switched questions to be switched straight back.

    I’ve also always wondered about the appointment of the otherwise great James Richardson as “colour commentator”. When I was younger and that bit more naive, and Brig had a video of the grand final on YouTube, I commented that James must have had some enthusiasm for quiz shows (to which someone cheekily replied, “Or for Carol”). Nowadays, I wonder if his appointment was a move to keep him on Channel 4 after the Italian football went elsewhere?

    1. Brandon

      Grand Slam was mentioned a few weeks ago on here I think, specifically a comment about how the Spanish version just sounds like a blur of random words if you don’t read the questions at the bottom.

  7. Danny Kerner

    Accidentally today during Loose Women. The date was revealed as Anne had to correct Andrea that ITV wanted this info embargoed. ironically since that interview went up this afternoon that bit has been omitted. I know the date and depending on if the itv hub version has been censored i will not reveal it in case itv are cracking down on people revealing. If another stool pigeon comes up before April I might reveal it there.


Leave a Reply to Brandon Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.