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February's featured article
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Episode S29 was a special episode of Countdown broadcast on 16 August 2010. It was the third game contested by Junaid Mubeen, the Series 59 champion, and Charlie Reams, runner-up to Mubeen in the series final (pictured) by a score of 88 – 84. The two players were drawn against each other in the second quarter-final of Championship of Champions XIII, broadcast six weeks to the day after the Series 59 final. Therein, neither contestant could solve the crucial conundrum LEGALSIRS and this time Reams prevailed by 88 points to 79. With their head-to-head wins therefore tied at one-all, Episode S29 was played as a decider.
Under the original 15 round format, the player in the challenger's chair chose how many large numbers would be available to use to reach the target for two numbers rounds, whereas the challenger only did so for one. To alleviate this advantage, arithmetician Rachel Riley chose the numbers throughout Episode S29. Furthermore, the standard large numbers – 25, 50, 75 and 100 – were swapped for 12, 37, 62 and 87, first used for a special episode to decide the overall Countdown champion of 2009.
In Episode S29, both Reams and Mubeen scored seven points in the first round, before the darren DOORMAT put Reams ahead in round 2. He extended his lead with SAVANTE in round 4, and took advantage when Mubeen had shooted ☓ disallowed in round 8. A perfect numbers solution reduced Mubeen's arrears in round 10, and at the second commercial break the players were separated by 10 points. Reams spotted ISOTOPIC in round 11 to go further in front, but Mubeen replied with INLANDER in round 12. In the final letters round, Reams offered VIZIERS to go 17 points ahead, but failed to declare in the final numbers round. Mubeen found a route to 651, two away from the target. This earnt seven points and set up a crucial conundrum – wherein a correct solution by Mubeen would force the game to sudden death. However, Reams unravelled KILLABAAA in half a second to win by 87 points to 67. (more...)
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