Ottawa pub quiz competitor makes it to the big time: Jeopardy!

Ottawa native George Tsuji defeated three-time Jeopardy champion Vito Cortese of Pittsburgh, Pa., in a match broadcast on Tuesday evening. Among Tsuji's opponents in the episode to be broadcast on Wednesday is Robert Kennedy, also of Ottawa.

Former Ottawa-resident and trivia aficionado Jackie Irvine is a publishing professional and book blogger living in Toronto. Conor Cronin is a third year law student at the University of Windsor who will soon be articling at an Ottawa law firm. He plays on the “Spoiler Alert!” pub quiz team  at the Downtown Royal Oak on Wednesdays.

For trivia aficionados, an episode of Jeopardy can be more exciting than a Stanley Cup playoff game. OK, slight exaggeration, but many Ottawa Trivia League players were on the edge of our seats last night as one of our own, George Tsuji from the Costanza pub quiz team, fought tooth and nail for ultimate trivia nerd supremacy.

Here is a detailed play-by-play from Conor, on George’s performance:

After selecting the first Daily Double early in the first round and daringly betting the full $1,000, I had a feeling George Tsuji would do well. Though I was nervous as he was standing at the far right podium where Quiz Master Paul Paquet’s wife Laura stood several years ago and placed third.

George won over our hearts after the first commercial break with a charming story about buying a new car.  It was a stick shift and, not knowing how to drive manual, he had to have the salesman drive him home because it was rush hour.

No one had clear control of the board for most of the Jeopardy round. After missing a few higher scoring questions, however, George found himself in third place heading in to Double Jeopardy. Imee Slater, the size 4 shoe wearing middle podium contestant, basically disappeared and a battle of nerves and wit played out between George and three day champ Vito Cortese.

With one category to go, Ballet, Vito had a small lead. George came up with some timely answers to put him within striking distance and took the lead when Vito incorrectly answered “Nutcracker Suite” and not simply “Nutcracker” on the last clue! George carried his $4,000 lead into Final Jeopardy, which all the contestants answered correctly.

With a sizable bet, George won handily finishing with $20,000. Look for questions regarding the USS Arapahoe and it being the first ship to send an SOS in 1909 during upcoming pub quizzes.

Tune in tonight to see how George fares in his second game!