Thursday, August 2, 2007

Evidence World Cup Quidditch Game was Fixed

I found this disturbing article today on Phil Birnbaum's Sabermetric Research blog. If a Quidditch game can be fixed, a World Cup Quidditch game no less, what chance does society have?

There's been a lot written about game-fixing in basketball lately, but not much about an obvious game fixing episode in World Cup Quidditch.

Quidditch is played on flying broomsticks by two opposing teams of seven players. There are two ways to score. A goal counts as 10 points, and is achieved by putting a soccer-ball sized "quaffle" through the other team's goal hoop. Meanwhile, a magical golden ball with wings, called the "snitch," flies throughout the area of play, trying to elude the players. Catching it scores 150 points, and ends the game.

In Harry Potter's fourth year at Hogwarts, the Quidditch World Cup pits Ireland against Bulgaria. Ireland takes a commanding 170-10 point lead. Then, Bulgaria's Viktor Krum catches the snitch, ending the match. Ireland wins, 170-160.

Why did Krum throw the game by catching the snitch?