2023-24 UK Player Polls and Discussion

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2023-24 UK Player Polls and Discussion

Post by Oscario »

We wanted to get in on this, so here we are - the player poll ranking, but this time for players in the UK circuit. There will be polls for best overall player and best newcomer. Subject polls might happen later. Anyone who has been active in quizbowl (including playing/moderating tournaments), or is a current member of the UK Quizbowl committee, may vote.

The poll form, with lists of eligible players, can be found here: https://forms.gle/JnmjiURVMyANp3Df9

Main poll eligibility criteria:
- played in the UK mirrors of at least two tournaments of 3-dot or higher difficulty, or
- played in just one 3-dot tournament in the UK, and was one of the top ten individuals in that tournament

Newcomer poll eligibility criteria:
- played their first tournament (of any kind) after 01 September 2023, and
- played at least two tournaments, or placed in the top five individuals at just one (N. B. WashBowl counts)

Reply to this thread if you'd like to shout out anyone you think particularly deserves a mention. Even if it's obvious.

Voting will close at 23:59 BST on Sunday the 9th of June, or later if we haven't had many submissions.
Last edited by Oscario on Tue May 28, 2024 7:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 2023-24 UK Player Polls and Discussion

Post by Fisher »

Will not bother with posting my full list, but Ben Russell Jones and Michael Kohn have been clearly the two best individual players in the UK this academic year, having tremendous breadth and depth.

On newcomers, Brendan Bethlehem is a clear frontrunner and for my money, the best new quizbowl player the UK has had since Seoan Webb. Terrific history player and plenty to add across much of the rest of the syllabus. I also want to give a shout-out to Jaime Salamanca Camacho who I was unfamiliar with until his team destroyed us at BSQC.
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Re: 2023-24 UK Player Polls and Discussion

Post by Oscario »

On the topic of newcomers, two people I'd particularly like to mention who might otherwise fly under the radar are Joshua Bobin from Imperial (misspelled "Brobin" in stats) and Leigh-Ann Turnbull from Durham. Both only did the one tournament each, but smashed it. Of the people eligible in the newcomer poll, Leigh-Ann had the highest powers per game out of anybody who played British Novice
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Re: 2023-24 UK Player Polls and Discussion

Post by thart18 »

Here are my rankings, first the overall rankings, then the newcomers.

1. Ben Russell Jones
2. Michael Kohn
3. Harrison Whitaker
4. Omer Keskin
5. Enoch Yuen
6. Justin Lee
7. Jacob Robertson
8. Sam Foo
9. Michael Mays
10. Kai Madgwick
11. Adam Jones
12. Mehmet Tatoglu
13. Brendan Bethlehem
14. Sam Moore
15. Agnijo Banerjee
16. Oscar Despard
17. Andrew Fisher
18. Freddy Potts
19. Conrad Freidson
20. Oliver Hargrave
21. Jaime Salamanca Camacho
22. Dillon Patel
23. Parth Jagtap
24. Ted Warner
25. Ben LaFond

1. Brendan Bethlehem
2. Jaime Salamanca Camacho
3. Ben LaFond
4. Benjamin Watson
5. Teddy Fogel
6. Lewys Jenkins
7. Eileen Peng
8. Angus Willis
9. Joe Terrey
10. Rayhana Amjad
11. Leigh-Ann Turnbull
12. Alessandro d’Attanasio
13. Matthew Spry
14. Zosia Mikolajczuk
15. Lucas Johns

A few words about some of the people on my rankings. I agree with Andrew that Ben Russell Jones and Michael Kohn are the top two players on the circuit. I could write paragraphs upon paragraphs of their deep knowledge of all parts of the distribution, but I will simply say not only are they two of the smartest men I know, but they’re also two of the best men I know. I’m proud to call them my friends. I also agree with Andrew about the sheer talent that is Brendan Bethlehem. Quite simply, he’s the best new player to have come onto the circuit in my four years on it.

As to the teammates of mine I’ve ranked: Conrad Freidson is a great character with a remarkable ability to produce first-lines from out of nowhere; over the past year Dillon Patel has become a stalwart of Warwick A, plugging the gaps in my historical knowledge and getting us some much-needed science buzzes; the fact that we only discovered Benjamin Watson in their final year is a great tragedy and they will prove another strong addition to an already terrifying Oxford squad for 2024/25; and Lucas Johns looks to be the next member of a proud tradition of Warwick generalists studying maths alongside the likes of Ben Slater, Ben Beardsley, Andrew Rout, Ethan Webb, Luke Beresford, and yours truly - I shall watch his career with great interest.
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Re: 2023-24 UK Player Polls and Discussion

Post by MichaelKohn »

--long post alert--

I have now submitted my rankings, and given it's my last year playing on the student circuit, I thought I'd go into some detail for all 25 picks, someone had to! There are too many honourable mentions to count.

1. Ben Russell Jones

There's very little that's not been said about BRJ in student quizbowl in the UK, excels at literature while being incredibly dangerous on basically everything else. 1st by ppg at almost every tournament he's played at this year, and troubling even the most balanced teams. He walked all over the ACF Winter final, and put in some huge performances at BSQC. Lastly he showed when he's locked in and willing to take risks on the buzzer, he can truly be head and shoulders above others in the UK's open field, far exceeding the powers/ppg of others in the Deep Bench field, while having a not half bad quad team. It's been such a pleasure to play against (often getting utterly shut out of the buzzer until this year, and still then too) Ben for my years on the circuit, and even better for all the great online and post-tournament chats. Writing and bouncing ideas off Ben, or indeed playing with him at Deep Bench are major highlights of my time as a student. Quizbowl in general, and at Edinburgh in particular, has been a far far better place with Ben in it.

2. Omer Keskin

Playing Omer this year was an interesting experience- I would both be very nervous as he is so dangerous on a lot of categories that I was Durham's player in, but also I often had a lot of fun against Oxford regardless of the score. Omer's deep knowledge is really impressive and often all one can do is applaud, particularly on history and literature; if he knows it well, he is almost certainly going to get there really, really early. He's had some incredible performances, though has been prone to having particularly good/bad packets in terms of content (he went 7-0-0 against my double in the morning of Deep Bench but had some big variance in buzzes per game). Once his conquest of the quizbowl canon is complete, I'm sure he will be an all-time UK great.

3. Enoch Yuen

Enoch will spend a lot of the tournament complaining at how badly it's going, while absolutely destroying a lot of categories, and holding up really well against other good teams- his statlines at BSQC particularly on literature were amazing. It was crazy to see Enoch add Visual Fine Arts to his repertoire this year, making him stand out even more on the already stacked Imperial A squad.

4. Justin Lee
Justin comes in for me just behind Enoch based on consistency, but is easily one of the best specialists in UK quizbowl history (with that specialism being history- although Justin has a tendency to first line things well outside what is perceived to be his comfort zone). Playing COOT with him and being able to relax on a good quarter of the distribution while applauding his buzzes was brilliant.

5. Sam Foo
Sam's statlines and improvement have been off the charts this year. Some crazy fine arts knowledge complemented with great humanities generalism that holds up against all teams. The ESPN stat line alone is award-worthy.

6. Harrison Whitaker

Harrison's generalism has been a brilliant staple of the 3 dot UK tournaments for the past 2 years now, and has lead him to be one of only two people on this list to lift two BSQC titles- his brilliant command of a lot of humanities underlies why Cambridge A's ppb at BSQC has been so high for the past three years. A few quieter performances on the buzzer against good teams (equally mixed in with mega stat lines against those same teams) makes me put him just below Sam, but it's easy to argue that Harrison should be even higher on this list.

7. Jacob Robertson
The only other person on this list with 2 BSQC wins, Jacob is terrifying to play against because of his great mix of deep specialisms in physical sciences, literature and mythology, while they are also more than capable of buzzing on many more subjects. Like Omer, when Jacob is firing I was never downcast when being utterly crushed, because you just have to applaud their incredible knowledge.

8. Thomas Hart
I've been saying for years that Thomas was incredibly underrated, one of the best Warwick generalists with strong specialisms in modern history/politics and AFA (to which I will echo the claim he is the best AFA player not to play an instrument). It's been great to see my friend thrive at so many tournaments this year.

9. Andrew Fisher
A really solid generalist who can buzz on anything, which really made playing Sheffield quite a tricky match-up pairing Andrew's ability to snipe almost anything with Freddy's strong history knowledge, and with some fantastic early buzzes thrown in there (early VFA and literature buzzes at NASAT '21 and Regs '24 stand out to me). Andrew has also brought brilliant things to the UKQB table in his years on committee.

10. Michael Mays
A great generalist whose knowledge of 'famous' literature (Enoch's words) perfectly complementing Enoch, and adding in some great history and fine arts buzzes alongside physical sciences. Like all of Imperial A, and indeed most people on this list who I've got to know well, also a really great person.

11. Freddy Potts

I still haven't quite got a handle on what Freddy's specialisms are but he always gets some really strong buzzes against every team, particularly with historical questions whenever I play him, and posting great stats at Regs. The jar of pickled onions deserves a forum mention too.

12. Brendan Bethlehem
As Andrew and Thomas have said, Brendan is an incredible newcomer to the circuit, with fantastic history knowledge and incredibly deep knowledge of multiple (often niche) areas of humanities. Even if Brendan is negging (which currently, he does fairly often) it's always very close to the mark. This was particularly impressive when he regularly gets buzzes on content that I would consider my or other team members of my specialisms while we haven't a clue what is going on or what subject we're in. As he absorbs more of the canon, which he's already seeming to take to incredibly quickly judging from the discord, he will become even better, which is a scary prospect.

13. Sam Moore
A slight bias of living with the man, but seeing him start on subjects he had very patchy knowledge of (qb canon-wise) and fill out to become very good at biochem and social sciences was a delight and made the difference in seeing Durham lift a title this year at ACF regionals, and Sam is dangerous on other subjects too.

14. Kai Madgwick
Kai has had some amazing buzzes this year and it's a joy to sit next to them when they're having a good time on the buzzer (as it is indeed a joy to know all of my Durham A teammates so well this year). Providing some fantastic history buzzes, they also regularly smash the buzzer with great answers across multiple subjects; a smattering of literature stock and some great fine arts and some myth knowledge to mention a few. Their clutch buzzes sealed both victories over Oxford at ACF Regionals 2024 and even on the few tournaments that fell on off days for them, you can't count them off the buzzer on many, many subjects.

15. Jaime Salamanca Camacho
Jaime will be right at the top of the newcomers poll for many, and I have to say I don't really know what he specialises in because judging by the stats from ARCADIA and Regs he can buzz incredibly early on a wide variety of subjects, despite coming into those tournaments with very little, if any, quizbowl experience.

16. Oscar Despard
Flies under the radar due to playing on a stacked Cambridge A team but brilliant natural sciences player with ability to buzz on much more.

17. Parth Jagtap
A very solid generalist who has had many team's numbers on social science, religion/myth and some literature.

18. Agnijo Banerjee
Another great generalist with particular skill on the American content that often British teams lack.

19. Oliver Hargrave
Another very good generalist with great knowledge of Lit and VFA. If you even have time to work out that the content is China-related you can give up, because Oliver will be there.

20. Albert Ying Zhi Nyang

Really impressive statline at BSQC with particularly impressive literature answers at the BSQC qualifiers- I hope he and LSE participate more in future!

21. Adam Jones
Like Agnijo, Adam flies under the radar by having Michael, Justin and Enoch as teammates but improved massively between 2021-22 and 2022-23 season to complement the others perfectly, with some particularly good fine arts, literature and mythology buzzes.

22. Elliot Cosnett
I have only played Elliot a few times this year but he's provided some brilliant, often clutch buzzes that have kept his team always in the mix and led to some incredibly close games at ACF Winter and BSQC.

23. Ben LaFond
Another good pick for newcomer of the year, Ben has shown some great knowledge and had some seriously great games at tournaments, rising very quickly from Fall-level to having fantastic days at ARCADIA in particular. Seeing some of the buzzes he got in the Deep Bench practice and who he was buzzer racing to on some subjects shows serious canon coverage and real potential for the rest of his time on the UKQB circuit.

24. Eileen Peng
I think I only played Eileen twice this year, but both times she had some fantastic buzzes, and seems to be improving rapidly, judging by a great statline at ILLIAC.

25. Conrad Freidson
I wanted to use this last space give a small shout out to Conrad who, in addition to being very unpredictable on the buzzer, has displayed some fantastic knowledge over the years.

For novices I ranked the following (I felt I could only rank people who I had actually played or seen play, so apologies to some fantastic newcomers who aren't on this list). I will just echo Thomas and Andrew that Brendan is the most talented novice I've seen, and also shouting out Durham's Leigh-Ann Turnbull and Angus Willis as two incredibly talented new players who are ones to watch out for in the coming years. It's also been great to see novices such as Teddy and Zosia interacting on the discord and visibly improving, and I'm sure they will carry their societies to new heights over the next few years. This is perhaps the best crop of newcomers across my time in student quizbowl.

Brendan Bethlehem
Leigh-Ann Turnbull
Jaime Salamanca Camacho
Ben LaFond
Eileen Peng
Angus Willis
Teddy Fogel
Benjamin Watson
Rayhana Amjad
Lewys Jenkins
Joe Terrey
Bella Thomas
Zayyan Mahmood
Zosia Mikolajczuk
Hamish Campbell

Lastly I want to highlight Abigail Tan and Oscar O’Flanagan for their continued engagement with the student quizbowl circuit, work behind the scenes, and some great performances at open tournaments
Last edited by MichaelKohn on Wed May 29, 2024 9:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 2023-24 UK Player Polls and Discussion

Post by Restitutor27 »

I’m honoured to have played both with and against so many brilliant players during my time in student quizbowl from 2020 to 2023; based both on background from this and on having stayed active in the open tournament/moderating scene over 2023-24, I’d like to give a shoutout to some of this season’s top student players.

My top placements are Ben Russell Jones and Michael Kohn, two literature/arts-focused generalists who led their teams to victory at ACF Winter 2023 and ACF Regionals 2024 respectively this season. Both players have very few topics they do not cover in some capacity. Ben in particular can be counted on to rarely miss questions on his self-proclaimed specialism of “things he has heard before” and has an alarming tendency to get science past science specialists, while Michael’s coverage is similarly demonstrated by a number of outstanding individual performances, such as an 11/0 statline in a match against Cambridge A at Regionals.

Next on my list is Justin Lee, who I would comfortably call the single toughest opponent I’ve faced in all my time playing student quizbowl. Justin’s depth of history knowledge is as broad as it is terrifying, and getting any of it past him at all, especially medieval, is a challenge even for the best players. Following on from an almost unprecedented run of tournament wins in 2023 (which I remember well from many Cam A/Imp A showdowns last year), his successes this season have included winning ARCADIA and taking Cambridge A to within 5 points in the final of BSQC.

Omer Keskin’s extensive coverage of the quiz distribution, especially in literature, history and philosophy, has placed him among the highest scorers at practically all recent tournaments, and he has had a large number of the best buzzes I have seen this season. I have placed Jacob Robertson, another Oxford A player, next, who I would consider the best science specialist on the student circuit, in addition to having an impressive depth of myth knowledge.

I’d like to give a special shoutout to my former teammate Harrison Whitaker, a two-time (and current) BSQC champion as well as an absolutely delightful person to play alongside with. Harrison is another top humanities-focused generalist whose other highlights this season have included a victory in Varsity for the second year running and getting a Regionals film buzz in about five words. There are very few other players I’ve encountered who are both capable of being an excellent scorer in their own right and of grounding the composure of a team so well.

Other excellent players I’ve put on the list include current Cambridge BSQC champions Sam Foo, Agnijo Banerjee and Oscar Despard, Warwick modern history/CE/FA player Thomas Hart, semi-retired Oxford player Mehmet Tatoglu (who I’m convinced has read basically every medieval chronicle in existence), and standout newcomer Brendan Bethlehem, which posters above have already pointed out. While there are far more than 25 great quizzers on the student circuit and it hasn’t been possible to include everyone, my lists for both the main and newcomer polls are also posted below.

Main Poll:
1. Ben Russell Jones
2. Michael Kohn
3. Justin Lee
4. Omer Keskin
5. Jacob Robertson
6. Harrison Whitaker
7. Enoch Yuen
8. Sam Foo
9. Mehmet Tatoglu
10. Michael Mays
11. Thomas Hart
12. Sam Moore
13. Andrew Fisher
14. Oscar Despard
15. Adam Jones
16. Oliver Hargrave
17. Kai Madgwick
18. Agnijo Banerjee
19. Freddy Potts
20. Brendan Bethlehem
21. Isaiah Silvers
22. Jaime Salamanca Camacho
23. Maxwell Ye
24. Conrad Freidson
25. Ted Warner

1. Brendan Bethlehem
2. Jaime Salamanca Camacho
3. Ben LaFond
4. Eileen Peng
5. Zosia Mikolajczuk
6. Joe Terrey
7. Arvin Boraghi
8. Leigh-Ann Turnbull
9. Teddy Fogel
10. Lewys Jenkins
11. Alessandro d’Attanasio
12. Liam Fowler
13. Matthew Spry
14. Bekalu Terefe
15. Hamish Campbell
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Re: 2023-24 UK Player Polls and Discussion

Post by 2isn'tawholenumber »

Okay here are my thoughts. Firstly, I agree with many people above that there is no better student quizzer at the moment than Ben Russell Jones. His knowledge of basically the entire qb canon is immense and horrendously scary; he's one of the few non-STEM students I know that can regularly get science tossups and his stats at most tournaments are incredible. Not particularly relevant to the poll but he's also an all-round nice guy and very encouraging to both his teammates and his opponents. However, him negging the "solutions to ODEs" tossup at ACF Winter with "axioms of choice" will go down in history with one of the stupidest moments in UK Quiz history.

Next, I've ranked Ömer Keskin as second. I've been traumatised many a time playing against this quizzing machine, including him going 9/2 against us at ACF Winter 2023. How he has the capacity for all his knowledge is scary, and he's a very trigger happy buzzer, although he has calmed down a bit since the start of his qb days. When I first come across him, he buzzed 11 times in a match against Cambridge B at 2021 British Novice, and I knew then that he would be a great asset to Oxford, and so it's proved to be. His sense of humour and overall demeanour is great as well, and he's been a saviour many a time in writing for COOTs 23 and 24.

Third place is Michael Kohn, who I remember playing against against my first ever tournament, me recognising him from his appearance on a certain BBC2 Monday night game show, and then thinking "hmm, this guy is good." Michael has been both a great asset to Cambridge in guiding them to winning both ACF Regionals and BSQC in 2022, and, more recently, a curse; see his 11/0 match against Cambridge A at Regionals this year. A magnificent Literature, Fine Arts and Religion/Mythology player, as well as one of the circuit's best generalists; in his time at Cambridge I remember being scared to play against him in practice because he would usually smoke me at any classical music question that came up. It is also worth mentioning how much he's done to help the UK Quizbowl circuit as a whole, having served for god knows how many years on the UKQB committee, and being instrumental in setting up initiatives that have made the UK Quizbowl circuit a much closer and welcoming place.

Fourth is Harrison Whitaker, who has been a stalwart for Cambridge quizzing over the past three years, winning two BSQCs, a feat that hasn't been performed often since the years when Oxford just won basically every year. I first came across Harrison modding a Cambridge Intercollegiate Quiz match where I believe he buzzed correctly on 17 of the 22 tossups, and the CUQS committee soon realised how valuable he could be for us and sent him on the A team to BSQC, which they won. Another great generalist who knows a surprising amount of British content, he's come up trumps when it mattered, starring in two magnificent comebacks against Imperial A in the BSQC 2024 final and against Oxford A in the most recent set of Varsity matches.

Fifth is the Oxford legend Jacob Robertson, who's played a jaw dropping 32 collegiate tournaments across eight years and certainly has the achievements to show for it. Many Cambridge teams have been told "if you're playing against him and a physics tossup comes up, either go for it on the second line or just take the hit", and many Cambridge teams have taken the hit. He is unstoppable in science and is easily the best science player in the UK circuit. He's also really down-to-earth and I've had some great post-tournament chats with him. I'm also proud to say I managed to get a physics buzz in a match against him (yes he negged first, shh).

Rounding out my top 10 are history powerhouse Justin Lee, or, as my mum refers to him, "IMPERIAL LEE", in reference to the aforementioned BBC2 Monday night game show, Oxford's Mehmet Tatoğlu, who is both a scary generalist and one of the kindest, funniest and friendliest people you will ever meet, the "Miskin Messi" Thomas Hart, who I'm pleased to see is, along with Ben, flying the Welsh flag in quiz, and half of Imperial A's galacticos of 2022/23, Enoch Yuen and Michael Mays. I would say more about them and the other fifteen, but I don't want to take up too much in this thread already.

Overall Ranking:
1. Ben Russell Jones
2. Ömer Keskin
3. Michael Kohn
4. Harrison Whitaker
5. Jacob Robertson
6. Justin Lee
7. Mehmet Tatoglu
8. Thomas Hart
9. Enoch Yuen
10. Michael Mays
11. Sam Foo
12. Jaime Salamanca Camacho
13. Agnijo Banerjee
14. Andrew Fisher
15. Kai Madgwick
16. Freddy Potts
17. Oliver Hargrave
18. Oscar Despard
19. Adam Jones
20. Sam Moore
21. Brendan Bethlehem
22. Maxwell Ye
23. Andrei Hui
24. Elliot Cosnett
25. Teddy Fogel

HM - Cambridge's Ben LaFond (see below), Linus Luu and Rachel Bentham, the latter being a great partner in crime with me over fourteen quizbowl tournaments.
Oxford's Ella Warde and Alex Baker, both of whom having been big names in UK Quiz over the past four years, as well as doing a lot for Oxford University Quiz Society.
Warwick's Dillon Patel and Oscar Siddle, the former scaring me a lot at Novice tournaments in my first year and the latter being my most played QB opponent (and doing very well in said matches).
Durham's Aisling Skeet, who is shaping up to be a big thing in quiz over the next few years.
Edinburgh's Frances Hadley, who is one of the top classical music players in the country with great knowledge of the literature canon to back it up.

Now we move onto the newcomers. UK Quiz has been blessed with many new introductions to quiz, and it was really hard to whittle the list down to fifteen.

Top of my list is Imperial's Jaime Salamanca Camacho, who terrorised me in our match against Imperial B at BSQC, going 3/4/1 (and the neg was just down to him not noticing someone else had buzzed rather than himself) in a 375-85 drumming. Like Ömer, he buzzes stupidly early on things and you have to be on your game when facing him.

A close second is our very own Brendan Bethlehem, who has been utterly brilliant in his first year at Cambridge, and is one of the best undergraduate freshers we've seen in a long time in both Cambridge and the wider circuit. He dragged Cambridge B into the top bracket at all of Winter, Regs and BSQC, and his knowledge of history is insane for a fresher. Definitely one to watch for the future.

Third is Birmingham's Teddy Fogel, who I had the pleasure of witnessing demolish many a team at British Novice last year on his way to top-scoring. Again a truly terrifying knowledge base for a fresher, and he's another one to watch.

Fourth is another one of our own, Ben LaFond, who I've played five tournaments on a team with this year alone. After demolishing the field at ACF Fall, dragging Cambridge C to third place, Ben cemented himself as a staple in Cambridge's quizbowl teams. A great literature and myth player, and a special commendation to him for putting up with my complaining when an "overly American" questions comes up.

Fifth I have Joe Terrey, who traumatised me twice at CREEK+, powering tossup after tossup on his way to helping Edinburgh win what would be their first of two quizbowl tournaments in the space of a week.

Sixth and seventh I have the Cambridge duo of Alessandro d'Attanasio and Arvin Boraghi, both of whom had very good ACF Falls, with the latter dragging his team to tournament victory, and then the former dragging Cambridge A to the final of British Novice and finishing second on PPG overall. Arvin also had a very good BSQC on Cambridge D, and was on a team that recently made the final of the Cambridge Intercollegiate Quiz. Unfortunately, a certain Brendan Bethlehem happened to be on the other team!

Eighth is another scary prospect of Matthew Spry, who finished just behind Alessandro on PPG at British Novice on a very solid Imperial A team. He was another person I had the pleasure of watching demolish teams.

Ninth I have Oxford's Eileen Peng, who has proven herself to be very dedicated to quiz, and we've enjoyed some intense matches over the past year. A great player in biology, social sciences, among other things, another one to watch for the future almost certainly.

Tenth is fellow Welshman Lewys Jenkins, who is another one to watch, and I'm glad to see more of a Welsh input in quiz.

Eleventh is Oxford's Liam Fowler, whose 7/1/1 against Cambridge A at DMA I am still getting over. An utterly monstrous performance and enough to make this list based on that alone.

Twelfth and fourteenth are the Southampton duo Zayyan Mahmood and Zosia Mikolajczuk, who were on the team that won the overall British Novice last year. Both very strong players. Sandwiched between is Warwick's Benjamin Watson, who plugs Warwick's much needed gap of "not a maths student", and has had some great matches over the past year.

Finally in fifteenth is Edinburgh's Rayhana Amjad, who played a pivotal role in the aforementioned Edinburgh team that demolished us in the CREEK+ final. A worthy entry on this list.

Full list:
1. Jaime Salamanca Camacho
2. Brendan Bethlehem
3. Teddy Fogel
4. Ben LaFond
5. Joe Terrey
6. Alessandro d’Attanasio
7. Arvin Boraghi
8. Matthew Spry
9. Eileen Peng
10. Lewys Jenkins
11. Liam Fowler
12. Zayyan Mahmood
13. Benjamin Watson
14. Zosia Mikolajczuk
15. Rayhana Amjad
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Re: 2023-24 UK Player Polls and Discussion

Post by 24601 »

I saw someone do something similar on the Canadian post, so here is my UK player poll as footballers. Please note that, although rationales have been given, there is no logic to any of this, mostly just vibes and simple comparisons.

1. Ben Russell Jones: Pele - Arguably the greatest of all time, both played for teams with strong histories but they were the first to win major titles (Edinburgh and Brazil), capable of of playing multiple positions (all around the front line and Ben being equally capable of buzzing on literature and biology and just about anything else).

2. Michael Kohn: Lionel Messi - Also arguably the greatest of all time, led their teams to historic victories (Michael winning Durham's first trophy at regs and Messi winning two trebles), both the best at one skill while also being able to play in multiple positions (Messi's dribbling and Michael's AFA).

3. Omer Keskin: Erling Haaland - Undoubtedly one of the best and most effective players, statistics are excellent, is generally the top scorer on one of the best teams, interviews are interesting.

4. Enoch Yuen: Ronaldinho - Remarkable players, up there with the best in the world on their day, have something of a reputation for extracurricular activities while still being able to compete with the best (looking at you BSQC 2023).

5. Harrison Whitaker: Eusebio - I don't have as much experience with them personally as I do with some other players, but the statistics and reputations speak for themselves. People who have seen them play are full of nothing but praise and that says a lot.

6. Jacob Robertson: Ferenc Puscas - Similar to Harrison, but with the distinction that I have only ever seen Jacob play via YouTube. Puscas is so associated with goalscoring that they literally named the award after him, as Jacob is with the sciences, but they are both much more versatile than that interpretation suggests.

7. Justin Lee: Ronaldo Nazario - One of the best players in the world at their peak, able to dominate entire competitions although always paired with good teammates. Often seen with a smile on their face while playing, and were both dominant in their respective fields (Ronaldo's speed and strength made him unplayable as a striker while Justin's breath and depth of history knowledge sets him a class apart in that area).

8. Thomas Hart: Karim Benzema - Clearly among the world's best (a recent transfer notwithstanding, Benzema did win the Ballon D'Or after all), was forced to play as a sidekick to another great (Ronaldo and Andrew Rout) but has since emerged as a top player and their team's leader in their own right. They both have underrated versatility.

9. Sam Foo: Jude Bellingham - Among the top players on the national champions this season. They are so established that you forget quite how young they are (imagine my surprise when I saw on the BSQC programme that Sam is only one year above me), can happily play in multiple positions, and are renowned for their personality and work ethic, which is seen as beyond their years.

10. Kai Madgwick: Andres Iniesta - Fantastic players and among the most classy of their generation. Have a tendency to be overshadowed in broader conversations to the presence of teammates who are all timers (Messi and Michael, hence that comparison above) but are undoubtedly among the best, and this is obvious to anyone who really pays attention.

11. Michael Mays: Thiago Silva - One of the calmest, most assured players in the game. Has been around the scene for longer than I can remember and forms an iconic part of past superteams (Silva on AC Milan and PSG, Michael on the incredible Imperial UC team that won in 2022).

12. Mehmet Tatoglu: Kylian Mbappe - A top player who is absolutely world class in specific areas and everyone knows it.

13. Adam Jones: Petr Cech - A key part of some all time great teams whose individual brilliance is often overlooked. Cech holds the record for most Premier League clean sheets and Adam surely has the record for most incredible literature buzzes on University Challenge.

14. Brendan Bethlehem: Eduardo Camavinga - A player who is dominant in their age bracket and has quickly risen to consideration for being among the best and most respected players on the top team (or at least the BSQC champions), despite being harshly given secondary roles (Brendan being on Cam B at BSQC and Camavinga often coming off the bench).

15. Agnijo Banerjee: Son Heung-min - Rarely seen without a smile on their face, either when playing or at other times. Both are excellent players with a wide range of abilities who instantly became fan favourites.

16. Sam Moore: Sergio Busquets - Continuing my analogy from earlier, an excellent player who shares a team with arguably the best player of them all (Messi/Michael) and another excellent player in a similar position to them (Iniesta and Kai), although they perform different roles.

17. Oscar Despard: Thibaut Courtois - Similar to my rationale for Adam, an excellent and often overlooked player on a dominant team who is essential to their success, and everyone knows it.

18. Andrew Fisher: Antoine Griezmann - A player with the appearance of both an experienced veteran with years of success behind them, as well as a current superstar among the best in their league, and the talisman of their respective teams.

19. Oliver Hargrave: Josef Bican - Again, a player who I have never seen play, but the statistics and reputation make it impossible for me to leave them off a list such as this.

20. Jaime Salamanca Camacho: Julian Alvarez - Has a tendency to get overlooked due to the sheer quality of their team (Alvarez is often used as a sub while Jaime played on Imperial B at BSQC) but is an outstanding player in their own right. They were both something of an unknown quantity when they first arrived on the British circuit but quickly proved to be top players.

21. Freddy Potts: Olivier Giroud - A senior figure in the circuit with significant glory in their trophy cabinets (Grioud's World Cup win and Freddy's University Challenge title). People are quick to forget that Giroud is France's all time top scorer, and I suspect that if you made similar calculations for active UK quiz bowlers, the results you see wouldn't be too different.

22. Albert Ying Zhi Nyang: Lamine Yamal - A difficult player to assess due to a relatively small sample size, but the sheer quality of the performances cannot be ignored and they provide a lot of excitement for the future.

23. Parth Jagtap: Ollie Watkins - A very good player on a very good team.

24. Ben LaFond: Kaoru Mitoma - Unless you were really paying attention to Royal Union Saint Gilloise, they came into the circuit as almost complete unknown quantities but immediately made it clear that they are among the highest quality players around.

25. Kevin Flanagan: Martin Odegaard - A really excellent player whose individual quality is perhaps muddled by the fact that you can't really figure out who the best player on their team is.

Honourable Mentions:

Firstly, there are several players who miss out largely because I have only played them a few times, or none at all, and so found it hard to judge just based on stats and reputations. Isaiah Silvers, Conrad Friedson, Maxwell Ye, Alexander Baker, Ted Warner, Dillon Patel and Oscar Siddle come to mind here, and some of these players have very much impressed me when I have played against them, either online or in person. There are also players who cannot feature due to eligibility, but deserve a mention. My teammates Liam Gaine (Aurelien Tchouameni), Faiz Ahmed (Lev Yashin) and Ben Biggs (Kevin De Bruyne) are all excellent players (I think Ben would have made my list had he been eligible) and the other player that most comes to mind in this category is Jamie Burchett (who I will compare with Juninho as they are both renowned as arguably the best at one skill (pop culture and free kicks) but are also excellent all around players (similar things could be said for Oliver Church) and as such deserve a mention).


I simply do not know enough about many of the newcomers to make a similar list so I will give an overview. Brendan is obviously first on this list and, although I haven't been in the circuit for any other years, I find it easy to agree with those who say he is the best new player to emerge in some time. Jaime and Ben LaFond are also good for the top three, while other notable names include Matthew Spry and Zayyan Mahmood (both of who I'm surprised to see not so high on other people's lists, as from my experience they were the other top players at British Novice) Eileen Peng, Angus Willis and Leigh-Ann Turnbull, while my teammates Ethan Rhodes and Mikey Brown have both proved to be excellent players.
Edward (Teddy) Fogel
Birmingham, Economics 2023-2026
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon May 27, 2024 1:42 pm
Location: Cambridge, UK

Re: 2023-24 UK Player Polls and Discussion

Post by bwebethlehem »

Thought it might be a good idea to put some thoughts here, but I submitted the poll on Monday evening and I've already managed to forget my exact ranking, but I'll still share some thoughts.

As others have said, it basically goes without saying that Ben Russell Jones deserves the top spot. As Abigail said above, Justin Lee has got to be the strongest history player currently on the circuit, but as this year's UC season has shown, is also a formidable generalist. I'm sure Omer Keskin will place highly, but of the remaining players on the list there's no-one else whom I find more intimidating as an opposition, with his incredible ability to pull answers out of clues I can barely comprehend. Other people I've also placed highly include Sam Foo, whose sheer deep knowledge of the quiz canon is probably unparalleled.

1. Ben Russell Jones
2. Justin Lee
3. Omer Keskin
4. Michael Kohn
5. Harrison Whitaker
6. Sam Foo
7. Kai Madgwick
8. Thomas Hart
9. Jacob Robertson
10. Michael Mays
11. Sam Moore
12. Mehmet Tatoglu
13. Adam Jones
14. Agnijo Banerjee
15. Enoch Yuen
16. Ben LaFond
17. Andrei Hui
18. Jaime Salamanca Camacho
19. Oscar Despard
20. Maxwell Ye
21. Andrew Fisher
22. Linus Luu
23. Parth Jagtap
24. Albert Ying Zhi Nyang
25. Alexander Baker

I didn't end up making a full list of newcomers, mostly because as I haven't done any novice tournaments nor modded any of them (and I didn't want it to just become a List of Cambridge Freshers which it would otherwise basically become). However, I'd like to shout out Ben LaFond, not least because of his 1/8/1 rampage at Varsity, and Imperial's Jaime Salamanca Camacho, both a lovely person to play against and an extremely impressive one.
Brendan Bethlehem
Cambridge 2023-
User avatar
Posts: 29
Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2022 6:24 am

Re: 2023-24 UK Player Polls and Discussion

Post by Oscario »

Alrighty, with 33 ballots of varying completeness submitted, we have our first UK player ranking since I think 2017.

A few notes on methodology first. The ranking is points based, with the first receiving 25 points, second 24, etc, and unranked being deemed equivalent to 26th place. However, to mitigate tomfoolery, the points are weighted according to how many people that a respondent included in their ranking - so if someone only ranks 5 players in the overall poll, their first place is only worth 5 points. If they made use of all 25 spots, their vote would be worth more. Like with the US and Canadian polls, the points from the highest and lowest rank of each person have been deducted, to remove any egregious outliers. Finally, to account for the fact that a player cannot vote for themselves, people in the ranking who also submitted a ballot have had their score adjusted by a few percent. Lowest scores have not been included, because everyone was unranked at some point.
With that out of the way...

Overall ranking
1. Ben Russell Jones (Edinburgh, 485 pts; highest #1)
2. Michael Kohn (Durham, 459 pts; highest #1)
3. Justin Lee (Imperial. 437 pts; highest #1)
4. Omer Keskin (Oxford, 429 pts; highest #2)
5. Harrison Whitaker (Cambridge, 377 pts; highest #2)
6. Enoch Yuen (Imperial, 359 pts; highest #3)
7. Thomas Hart (Warwick, 327 pts; highest 4)
8. Sam Foo (Cambridge, 321 pts; highest #2)
9. Jacob Robertson (Oxford, 302 pts; highest #3)
10. Michael Mays (Imperial, 260 pts; highest #6)
11. Agnijo Banerjee (Cambridge, 245 pts; highest #5)
12. Mehmet Tatoğlu (Oxford, 231 pts; highest #1)
13. Kai Madgwick (Durham, 230 pts; highest #5)
14. Andrew Fisher (Sheffield, 225 pts; highest #5)
15. Sam Moore (Durham, 198 pts; highest #7)
16. Brendan Bethlehem (Cambridge, 168 pts; highest #11)
17. Oliver Hargrave (Oxford, 158 pts; highest #8)
18. Adam Jones (Imperial, 157 pts; highest #10)
19. Oscar Despard (Cambridge, 151 pts; highest #6)
20. Jaime Salamanca Camacho (Imperial, 129 pts; highest #11)
21. Freddy Potts (Sheffield, 80 pts; highest #11)
22. Maxwell Ye (Cambridge, 41 pts; highest #18)
23. Dillon Patel (Warwick, 34 pts; highest #12)
24. Andrei Hui (Cambridge, 33 pts; highest, #9)
25. Oscar Siddle (Warwick, 33 pts; highest #10)

Near misses, in alphabetical order: Albert Ying Zhi Nyang (LSE), Ben LaFond (Cambridge), Conrad Freidson (Warwick), Eileen Peng (Oxford), Elliot Cosnett (Oxford), Frances Hadley (Edinburgh), Isaiah Silvers (Durham), Parth Jagtap (Edinburgh/Toronto)

Newcomer ranking
1. Brendan Bethlehem (Cambridge, 184 pts; highest #1)
2. Jaime Salamanca Camacho (Imperial, 166 pts; highest #1)
3. Eileen Peng (Oxford, 140 pts; highest #1)
4. Ben LaFond (Cambridge, 135 pts; highest #2)
5. Edward (Teddy) Fogel (Birmingham, 111 pts; highest #3)
6. Lewys Jenkins (Bristol, 80 pts, highest #2)
7. Joe Terrey (Edinburgh, 67 pts, highest #4)
8. Zosia Mikolajczuk (Southampton, 59 pts, highest #1)
9. Alessandro d'Attanasio (Cambridge, 58 pts, highest #3)
10. Leigh-Ann Turnbull (Durham, 55 pts, highest #2)
11. Matthew Spry (Imperial, 54 pts, highest #7)
12. Benjamin Watson (Warwick, 53 pts, highest #4)
13. Zayyan Mahmood (Southampton, 45 pts, highest #2)
14. Rayhana Amjad (Edinburgh, 43 pts, highest #4)
15. Angus Willis (Durham, 36 pts, highest #3)

Near misses, in alphabetical order: Arvin Boraghi (Cambridge), Bekalu Terefe (Cambridge), Bella Thomas (Durham), Charlie Lowman (Imperial), Greg Myles (Edinburgh), Joshua Bobin (Imperial), Liam Fowler (Oxford), Lucas Johns (Warwick)
Oscar O'Flanagan
Imperial College London 2019-23, 2024-
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