Today, we saw the first-ever Jeopardy! tiebreaker played in a regular game.
When it comes to tiebreakers, Jeopardy! takes a cue from the world of sports and sets up a “sudden death” match: The tied contestants are given a single clue from a new category and the first person to respond correctly wins the game.
The tiebreaker was first introduced in tournaments. The judges felt that a tiebreaker yielding one winner kept the gameplay brisk and competitive. In the years following the lift of the five-game maximum (the rule that contestants could only win up to five regular games), the judges concluded that it was fitting to bring that same level of competition to the regular games.
Although the tiebreaker has been in place for a couple of years now (and you’ve already seen it in tournament play), today’s show was the first time we’ve actually seen it in action in a regular game. Laura and Sarah ended Final Jeopardy! with the same score, and thus were given a single clue to determine who would be the winner. The category was WAY BACK IN 2017. Laura buzzed in first with the right response, making her the winner to move on to tomorrow’s game.