Chicago librarian Emma Boettcher made headlines on Monday when she defeated James Holzhauer's 32-game winning streak at Jeopardy! finished. But the story was not in her favor when she returned the next day to defend the throne. As Jeremy Samuel Faust noted earlier this week in Slate, a surprising number of so-called Dragon Slayers who have defeated the longest reigning champion of the game have lost their next games. When Alex Trebek introduced Boettcher's second appearance on the show, he could not help but remember her story. "Remember, Nancy Zerg defeated Ken Jennings and survived just one game," said the host as he introduced the new champion. "Hmm …"
It's early in the Boettcher era, but I already love it. She is not Nancy Zerg. She seemed unimpressed by Trebek's introduction to Debbie Downer on Tuesday. She opened the game with the selection of the category "Vocalist Bible Books" ("VWLSS BBL BKS") and quickly caught up with every response in the category and received an appreciative applause from the audience. * "You know your vocal books, young lady," chuckled Trebek. (She also ran the first category on Wednesday.)
Trebek giggled again on Tuesday when the "young lady" (Boettcher is 27) put her entire income on her first Daily Double. "Influenced by James, is that us?" Boettcher's face flickered quite easily with a mixture of confusion and anger. She won the Daily Double and at the end of the first round she had $ 14,200 on board, more than four times the earnings of her next rival.
There was a reason why Boettcher was confused by Trebek's suggestion that she had been "influenced" by Holzhauer. First and foremost, it is a classic move to put everything on a Daily Double, not one of several real innovations of Holzhauer in gameplay. Boettcher was confident that she would do anything – a move she'd made in her first game – also because she had calculated her own accuracy rate at home and knew the odds were with her.
Why do I find Boettcher so adorable? Probably partial, because she is not open charming.
More specifically, Boettcher barely knew who Holzhauer was. Their first episode was recorded in March, and Holzhauer's 32-game series aired on television in April. Jeopardy! records episodes months before it airs.) When she arrived on set, she learned of her competitor's historic life, but she had not experienced the bustle. "It was strange to watch daily danger! and somehow there is this phenomenon that I've never heard of," she told The New York Times in an interview that was printed this week along with a photo of you smiled and held a daisy. But Trebek returned several times in Boettcher's second episode to the idea that she was shaking with fear of Holzhauer. "How did you feel when you were playing against him?", The moderator asked during the interview segment of the candidates on Tuesday. Boettcher looked dull as he continued, "Were you intimidated or did you just say, 'Hey, I'm as good as everyone else? "Mostly the latter," she said.
Boettcher's trust is well placed. It's not just a little thing that's lucky. She wrote her capstone project for her Masters in Information Science on Jeopardy! Hints that analyze whether a computer can determine how difficult a clue is based on features such as the length of the clue and the number of noun phrases. Before she received the call to appear on the show this year, she had personally auditioned four times, beginning at high school. She trained, she told The Times, standing a few feet away from the TV and "humming" on a toilet paper holder to practice.
This practice paid off when Boettcher defeated the curse of Danger ! Dragonslayer in their first game after defeating Woodcutter. She did not land in the Daily Double in the second round, but she still finished the round with more than twice the money of everyone else on the stage, which ensured her victory even before the announcement of Final Jeopardy was announced. "This was a runaway game for Emma," Trebek said as the game came to an end. Boettcher smiled modestly again. And then she won again on Wednesday.
Why do I find Boettcher so adorable? Probably partly because she is not very charming. She wears a casual business wardrobe and an uncomplicated Dorothy Hamill wedge. It is not "ethereal, hovering with incomparable grace through the game," as Mark Joseph Stern of Slate wrote about Holzhauer. Holzhauer is a professional player who lives in Las Vegas. Boettcher is a university librarian in the Midwest. In her third game, Wednesday, she gave up in the Double Jeopardy and secured her victory only in the last question. She has worked extremely hard to get there, trying it out time and time, and tracking her own results at home for five years. And now she is finally here and she wins – 97,002 US dollars and counts. Their fourth episode will air on Thursday.
Correction, June 6, 2019: This article originally falsely stated that Boettcher had earned $ 4,600 in the Vocal Books category. Part of it was earned in other categories.