interplanetary knock-out

This is the System-wide competition in which teams from the various worlds and zones all try to out-fascinate their opponents in the view of the judges.

The object of the game, called Hits Interplanetary (HI), is to be as interesting as possible. 

Teams from all over the System parade around Ceres' Grand Stadium trying to look and sound interesting.  They can do this either by following updated versions of Edward de Bono's How to be Interesting, or by flaunting their physical attributes (length and flexibility of tentacle, or whatever), or by direct mental coercion of the judges.

[For discussion of the first seven months' clashes, see the OSS Diary for 27th March 2017.]

Note: a record score in the competition was achieved by the Martian team in the semi-finals of July 2017 - a score of 43 hits during the five days of 16th-20th July.  This has now been equalled on the fourth day's play of the August 2017 semi-finals, by the Venusians.


august 2017

first round, 1-5 august 2017:

no.1 seed:  Venus  22    vs.   no.17 seed:  Neptune  9

no.9 seed:  Iapetus  15    vs.   no.25 seed:  Europa  7

no.5 seed:  The Sun  15    vs.   no.21 seed:  Oberon  4 

no.13 seed:  Pellucidar  14    vs.   no. 29 seed:  Ariel  4 

no.3 seed:  Mercury  15    vs.   no.19 seed:  Callisto  11

no.11 seed:  Earth  10    vs.   no.27 seed:  Cerberus  4

no.7 seed:  Saturn  15    vs.   no.23 seed:  Titania  5

no.15 seed:  Uranus  12    vs.   no.31 seed:  Leda  3

no.2 seed:  Mars  19    vs.   no.18 seed:  Triton  6

no.10 seed:  The Moon  16    vs.   no.26 seed:  Styx  3

no.6 seed:  Titan  15    vs.   no.22 seed:  Pallas  4 

no.14 seed:  The Reefs of Space  8      vs.    no.30 seed:  Io  5

no.4 seed:  Jupiter  17  vs.   no.20 seed:  Comets  6

no.12 seed:  The Asteroids  15  vs.   no.28 seed:  Ceres  4 

no.8 seed:  Vulcan  13    vs.   no.24 seed:  Ganymede  4

no.16 seed:  Pluto  7    vs.   no.32 seed:  Umbriel  5

second round, 6-10 august 2017:

no.1 seed:  Venus  9   vs.   no.9 seed:  Iapetus  8

no.5 seed:  The Sun  9   vs.   no.13 seed:  Pellucidar  8

no.3 seed:  Mercury  5   vs.   no.11 seed:  Earth  8 

no.7 seed:  Saturn  13     vs.   no.15 seed:  Uranus  10   

no.2 seed:  Mars  10    vs.   no.10 seed:  The Moon  10

no.6 seed:  Titan  16   vs.   no.14 seed:  The Reefs of Space  2

no.4 seed:  Jupiter  14   vs.   no.12 seed:  The Asteroids  10 

no.8 seed:  Vulcan  8   vs.   no.16 seed:  Pluto  1

Two big upsets this round: Luna held mighty Mars to a draw, and the Terrans beat the usually much stronger Mercurians.  The narrowness of the champions' win over the Iapetans also aroused comment - as did the fact that this round's highest score was achieved not by a planet but by a moon: Titan.

There will have to be a Mars-Moon replay.

REPLAY, 2ND ROUND MATCH, 11 AUGUST 2017:

no.2 seed:  Mars  5    vs.   no.10 seed:  The Moon  2

quarter-finals, 11-15 august 2017:

no.1 seed:  Venus     vs.   no.5 seed:  The Sun    

no.11 seed:  Earth    vs.    no.7 seed:  Saturn 

no.2 seed:  Mars     vs.    no.6 seed:  Titan    

no.4 seed:  Jupiter     vs.    no.8 seed:  Vulcan 

After the second day's play:

Venus 5   The Sun  5
Earth  3    Saturn  3
Mars  5    Titan  3
Jupiter  4    Vulcan  4

After the third day's play:

Venus  8   The Sun  5
Earth  5    Saturn  4
Mars  7    Titan  6
Jupiter  5    Vulcan  6

After the fourth day's play:

Venus  11   The Sun  7
Earth  7    Saturn  7
Mars  8    Titan  7
Jupiter  7    Vulcan  9


Quarter-final results after the fifth and last day's play:

no.1 seed:  Venus  15   vs.   no.5 seed:  The Sun  8  

no.11 seed:  Earth  8    vs.    no.7 seed:  Saturn  10

no.2 seed:  Mars  9    vs.    no.6 seed:  Titan  12  

no.4 seed:  Jupiter  9    vs.    no.8 seed:  Vulcan  10

A quarter-final which will be long remembered in the bars and bistros of the Old Solar System.  Admittedly, the victories of Venus and Saturn, over the Sun and Earth respectively, were expected.  But the other matches resulted in two big upsets.  The Venusians, however, are still very much the favourites to win the tournament, clinching their hold on the competition.  We seem to be living in a Venusian Era...

semi-finals, 16-20 august; results out 21 august:

no.1 seed:  Venus     vs.   no.7 seed:  Saturn  

no.6 seed:  Titan      vs.    no.8 seed:  Vulcan  

After the first day's play:

Venus  17    Saturn  5
Titan  3    Vulcan  12

Mighty surges by the Venusians and Vulcanians make it seem already very likely that we're in for an Inner Solar System final.  The Titanics, who came within a whisker of being System champions back in June, unexpectedly flopped (comparatively) on this first day of the semi-finals.

After the second day's play:

Venus  33    Saturn  8
Titan  5    Vulcan  20

After the third day's play:

Venus  38    Saturn  10
Titan  8    Vulcan  27

After the fourth day's play:

Venus  43    Saturn  15
Titan  11    Vulcan  34



july 2017

first round, 1-5 july 2017:

no.1 seed:  Callisto  9    vs.   no.17 seed:  Uranus  11 

no.9 seed:  Iapetus  14    vs.   no.25 seed:  Europa  5

no.5 seed:  Jupiter  11   vs.   no.21 seed:  Ganymede  3

no.13 seed:  The Sun  15    vs.   no. 29 seed:  Leda  2 

no.3 seed:  Venus  17    vs.   no.19 seed:  Comets  5

no.11 seed:  Earth  8     vs.   no.27 seed:  Cerberus  5

no.7 seed:  Titan  16     vs.   no.23 seed:  Pallas  6 

no.15 seed:  The Reefs of Space  9    vs.   no.31 seed:  Ariel  3

no.2 seed:  Mars  29     vs.   no.18 seed:  Neptune  10 

no.10 seed:  Pellucidar  12    vs.   no.26 seed:  Io  3 

no.6 seed:  The Asteroids  8     vs.   no.22 seed:  Oberon  4 

no.14 seed:  Vulcan  10     vs.   no.30 seed:  Umbriel  5

no.4 seed:  Saturn  10    vs.   no.20 seed:  Triton  8 

no.12 seed:  The Moon  11    vs.   no.28 seed:  Ceres  3 

no.8 seed:  Mercury  20    vs.   no.24 seed:  Titania  4 

no.16 seed:  Pluto  8    vs.   no.32 seed:  Styx  5 

Mars' score is causing team managers to chew their lips (those that have them) in consternation at the Red Planet's current dominance.  Of course, anything can happen in a knock-out tournament, but if the Martians keep their present form the others might as well go home...

second round, 6-10 july 2017:

no.17 seed:  Uranus  12     vs.     no.9 seed:  Iapetus  17

no.5 seed:  Jupiter  13   vs.   no.13 seed:  The Sun  12   

no.3 seed:  Venus  22    vs.   no.11 seed:  Earth  12   

no.7 seed:  Titan  10     vs.   no.15 seed:  The Reefs of Space  11   

no.2 seed:  Mars  15     vs.   no.10 seed:  Pellucidar  8   

no.6 seed:  The Asteroids  7     vs.   no.14 seed:  Vulcan  12

no.4 seed:  Saturn  14     vs.   no.12 seed:  The Moon  11  

no.8 seed:  Mercury  14     vs.   no.16 seed:  Pluto  9  


quarter-finals, 11-15 july 2017:

no.9 seed:  Iapetus      vs.     no.5 seed:  Jupiter    

no.3 seed:  Venus     vs.      no.15 seed:  The Reefs of Space     

no.2 seed:  Mars       vs.      no.14 seed:  Vulcan  

no.4 seed:  Saturn      vs.      no.8 seed:  Mercury 

This is the first time that The Reefs of Space have reached the quarter-finals.

After the first day's play:

Iapetus  3    Jupiter  2
Venus  3    The Reefs of Space  2
Mars  1    Vulcan  3
Saturn  1    Mercury  2

After the second day's play:

Iapetus  3    Jupiter  6
Venus  4    The Reefs of Space  2
Mars  2    Vulcan  3
Saturn  1    Mercury  5

After the third day's play:

Iapetus  7    Jupiter  9
Venus  7    The Reefs of Space  6
Mars  7    Vulcan  7
Saturn  7    Mercury  8

After the fourth day's play:

Iapetus  12    Jupiter  12
Venus  12    The Reefs of Space  9
Mars  10    Vulcan  9
Saturn  11    Mercury  11

As we go into the final day's play, anything could happen!  The System is particularly agog at the manner in which the tenacious Iapetans have caught up with the Jovians...

Quarter-final results after the fifth day's play, 15th July 2017:

no.9 seed:  Iapetus  16     vs.     no.5 seed:  Jupiter  14  

no.3 seed:  Venus  15   vs.      no.15 seed:  The Reefs of Space  11   

no.2 seed:  Mars  11     vs.      no.14 seed:  Vulcan  10 

no.4 seed:  Saturn  13    vs.      no.8 seed:  Mercury  12

All teams performed creditably; however, the Martians' narrow win makes them seem no longer invincible, and they will need to recover their form dramatically if the Red Planet is to win an unprecedented fourth trophy. 

Meanwhile the Iapetans' triumph over the Jovians has most caught the imagination of the System.  They have reached the semi-finals, as they did once before, in April.  On that occasion they lost to the Martians after an epic struggle which went to two replays; now their opponents will be the Venusians.  Needless to say, all the moons of the System are rooting for the "Arc" to win a first-ever place in the final.

semi-finals, 16-20 july 2017:

no.9 seed:  Iapetus      vs.     no.3 seed:  Venus

no.2 seed:  Mars      vs.      no.4 seed:  Saturn 

After the first day's play:

Iapetus  2    Venus  8
Mars  8    Saturn  9

After the second day's play:

Iapetus  6    Venus  12
Mars  12    Saturn  11

After the third day's play:

Iapetus  7    Venus  15
Mars  20    Saturn  13

The Martians are having one of their surges - as are the Venusians, to a lesser degree.  It already seems like we're shaping up for a Venus-Mars final; if this happens, it will be the first such encounter in the finals so far.

After the fourth day's play:

Iapetus  10    Venus  24
Mars  27    Saturn  17

Yep, I reckon we can safely say it's going to be a Venus-Mars final - barring a fantastic, epochal surge by Iapetans and/or Saturnians.  Leader-writers are preparing portentous essays on the mythological significance of the contrast between the planets of Love and War...

After the last day's play:

Semi-final results, July 2017:

no.9 seed:  Iapetus  11    vs.     no.3 seed:  Venus  37

no.2 seed:  Mars  43    vs.      no.4 seed:  Saturn  19

Well, bad luck to the Saturnians who, with a fine score of 19, might normally have expected to be in sight of a place in the final.  Unfortunately for them they came up against a Martian team who during these past five days achieved the highest ever score in the history of the tournament.

The Venusians likewise are on top of their form and the final looks set to be a humdinger.

the final, 21-25 july 2017:

no.3 seed:  Venus      vs.     no.2 seed:  Mars 

After the first day's play:
Venus  6    Mars  7

After the second day's play:
Venus  10    Mars  14

Hmm... the Venusians are playing excellently well but there's a distinct sense of Martian dominance
in the air...  And yet, of the 3 trophies Mars has won, the last two were won only narrowly (beating the Titanics by one point last month, and the Jovians by one point in April); only the February win over the Asteroids was really convincing - the score then being 30 to 24...
 

After the third day's play:
Venus  16    Mars  16

Suddenly that sense of Martian dominance has dissipated and the rival worlds are neck and neck.  All over the System employees are faking sick-notes so as to be able to skive off to Ceres Stadium... and running into their bosses when they get there.

After the fourth day's play:
Venus  20    Mars  20

A superbly climacteric final, this!  System pundits are already comparing it to the Ali-Frazier fight in 1971, though that was between two hitherto-undefeated champions, which is not the case here; nevertheless the hyperbole is understandable.  Two teams each of whom have won three trophies are battling for who will be the first to gain four, and the battle is neck and neck on the two penultimate days of the tournament.

After the fifth day's play:

no.3 seed:  Venus  27   vs.     no.2 seed:  Mars  27  

So a replay becomes necessary.  What a scorcher of a contest.  The System is going ape.  (Except some of the Barsoomians who are literally apes.)  Results of the replay to be announced the following day.

REPLAY OF THE FINAL, 26 JULY 2017:


no.3 seed:  Venus  8   vs.     no.2 seed:  Mars  7 

So the winner of the July 2017 Interplanetary Knock-Out is

Venus

Well, the tenacious Venusians overhauled the Martians at last, in the highest-scoring and closest-fought final of the tournament's eleven-month history.

The Martians lost by one point for a change, instead of winning by one point as they have done in two previous finals.

The Venusians now have a record four championships to their credit, beating the Martians' three.

However, the result was so close that, rather than pronounce the Venusians to be the dominant Hits-power, the consensus seems to be that the System is currently under a sort of dyarchy, with these two teams far ahead of the rest.  Time will tell how long this judgement will remain credible. Meanwhile the beautiful Duare once again graciously holds aloft the trophy for the Planet of Love which has, for the moment, triumphed over the Planet of War.



june 2017

first round, 1-6 june 2017:

(Note: this round lasted one day longer than scheduled, due to disruptive action by the Realists' Liberation Front: the System suffered etheric disturbance and cognitive malfunctions for which the RLF have claimed responsibility.)

no.1 seed:  Saturn  22   vs.   no.17 seed:  Callisto  9

no.9 seed:  The Asteroids  15   vs.   no.25 seed:  Umbriel  5

no.5 seed:  The Sun  14   vs.   no.21 seed:  Pallas  8

no.13 seed:  Titan  14    vs.   no. 29 seed:  Io  7

no.3 seed:  Iapetus  19    vs.   no.19 seed:  Neptune  10

no.11 seed:  Vulcan  13    vs.   no.27 seed:  Leda   8

no.7 seed:  The Moon  15   vs.   no.23 seed:  Ceres  6

no.15 seed:  Pluto  11   vs.   no.31 seed:  Cerberus  7

no.2 seed:  Venus  25   vs.   no.18 seed:  Comets  8 

no.10 seed:  Jupiter  19   vs.   no.26 seed:  Ganymede  8 

no.6 seed:  Mercury  10    vs.   no.22 seed:  Titania  6 

no.14 seed:  Uranus  9   vs.   no.30 seed:  Styx  6

no.4 seed:  Mars  21   vs.   no.20 seed: Triton  11 

no.12 seed:  Earth  18    vs.   no.28 seed:  Oberon  6 

no.8 seed:  Pellucidar  10    vs.   no.24 seed:  Europa  5 

no.16 seed: The Reefs of Space  13    vs.   no.32 seed:  Ariel  6

second round, 7-10 june 2017:

no.1 seed:  Saturn  12   vs.   no.9 seed:  The Asteroids  18

no.5 seed:  The Sun  11    vs.   no.13 seed:  Titan  13

no.3 seed:  Iapetus  10    vs.   no.11 seed:  Vulcan  7

no.7 seed:  The Moon  7    vs.   no.15 seed:  Pluto  6

no.2 seed:  Venus  10    vs.   no.10 seed:  Jupiter  12

no.6 seed:  Mercury  11    vs.   no.14 seed:  Uranus  6

no.4 seed:  Mars  18    vs.   no.12 seed:  Earth  6

no.8 seed:  Pellucidar  11   vs.   no.16 seed: The Reefs of Space  8

You hardly expect to see both May finalists knocked out in June's second round!

These two dramatic reversals of fortune, the unexpected victories of the Asteroids over Saturn, and of Jupiter over current champions Venus, have made this one of the most interesting and satisfying second-round stages in the history of the tournament.  The Venusians - thrice holders of the trophy, and the most successful team in IKO history - are wondering what hit them.

quarter-finals, 11-15 june 2017:

no.9 seed:  The Asteroids     vs.    no.13 seed:  Titan  

no.3 seed:  Iapetus      vs.    no.7 seed:  The Moon 

no.10 seed:  Jupiter      vs.     no.6 seed:  Mercury 

no.4 seed:  Mars      vs.    no.8 seed:  Pellucidar 

After the first day's play:

The Asteroids  0    Titan  1
Iapetus  2   Moon  0
Jupiter  1    Mercury  0
Mars  1    Pellucidar  0

After the second day's play:

The Asteroids  5    Titan  5
Iapetus  5   Moon  5
Jupiter  3    Mercury  1
Mars  6    Pellucidar  4

After the third day's play:

The Asteroids  6    Titan  7
Iapetus  6   Moon  7
Jupiter  6    Mercury  5
Mars  7    Pellucidar  6

After the fourth day's play:

The Asteroids  10    Titan  8
Iapetus  7   Moon  12
Jupiter  9    Mercury  8
Mars  11    Pellucidar  11

After the fifth day's play:

no.9 seed:  The Asteroids  10   vs.    no.13 seed:  Titan  12 

no.3 seed:  Iapetus  9  vs.    no.7 seed:  The Moon  13

no.10 seed:  Jupiter  12    vs.     no.6 seed:  Mercury  8 

no.4 seed:  Mars  14   vs.    no.8 seed:  Pellucidar  14

Extra time needed for Mars and Pellucidar!
Titan and the Moon reach their first semi-finals.  The money's still on the Martians to achieve their first championship trophy, but the System is astir with the ambitions of the smaller worlds, and many whispers are abroad, that their day may be at hand. 
Meanwhile Jupiter's convincing win over Mercury (once the strongest team) has aroused speculation that the giant planet, which won the first IKO but none since, may be about to stage a come-back in this tenth tournament.  Its selectors have a huge enough population from which to draw promising players, though it's a bit of a problem to comb all that Jovian land-area.

Quarter-Final Replay, 16th June 2017:

no.4 seed:  Mars  1   vs.    no.8 seed:  Pellucidar  1

Still not decided!  Another replay necessary.  The Martians are still the favourites but the Pellucidarians are a tenacious bunch, kept in training by constant tussles with cave-bears and thipdars.

Quarter-Final 2nd Replay, 17th June 2017:

no.4 seed:  Mars  3   vs.    no.8 seed:  Pellucidar  3

Here we go again.  Neither side will cede a sofad, it seems.  Third replay necessary.

Meanwhile the semi-final scores of the other remaining competitors are accumulating.
The Moon is leading Titan by 6 points to 5.  Jupiter, like the Moon, is on 6.  The replay points of Mars and Pellucidar add up to 4 each so far. 

If, unprecedentedly, Mars and Pellucidar continue to be neck and neck in their unfinished quarter-final throughout the five days of what ought to have been the semi-finals, it may be that Jupiter will save the situation by being ahead of both of them by 20th June; in which case, Jupiter will be declared the winner of that semi-final even though we haven't established which team out of the Mars-Pellucidar quarter-final contest counted as the Jovians' opponent - for we will be able to say that both of them were bettered by Jupiter.  If you see what I mean.

On the other hand, if the Mars-Pellucidar contest produces more points than Jupiter by the 20th of June, we will be in the awkward situation of having to delay the schedule of the competition, while we continue with the replays.

It's a headache for the organizers.  A lot of tentacles are getting into a twist.

Quarter-Final 3nd Replay, 18th June 2017:

no.4 seed:  Mars  3   vs.    no.8 seed:  Pellucidar  0

At last, a decision.  After a gallant show, the Pellucidarians are on their way back home to enjoy the sunshine, leaving the Martians to face the Jovians in the semi-final.

semi-finals, 16-20 june 2017:

no.13 seed:  Titan       vs.    no.7 seed:  The Moon 

no.10 seed:  Jupiter      vs.     no.4 seed:  Mars 

After the third day's play:

Titan  6    The Moon  7
Jupiter  6    Mars  7

After the fourth day's play:

Titan  8    The Moon  8
Jupiter  8    Mars  10

After the fifth and last day's play:

no.13 seed:  Titan  13     vs.    no.7 seed:  The Moon  10

no.10 seed:  Jupiter  12      vs.     no.4 seed:  Mars  13   

All four teams performed well and the result was in doubt up to the end of play.
Now we have a final between Titan and Mars, both of which scored 13 in the semis...

The Titanics have done amazingly well to get this far.  Odds against them at the start of the tournament were in the thousands to one.  Might they 'pull it off'?  If so, they'd be the first non-major-planet team to gain the trophy.  Doubtless it will happen some day, but will this month provide the day?

The Martians are by no means invincible in the finals - their win against the Jovians in April was as narrow as could be.  Nevertheless it is hard to imagine them being beaten by a mere moon... but it ain't over till it's over.

the final, 21-25 june 2017:

no.13 seed:  Titan       vs.    no.4 seed:  Mars     

After the first day's play:

Titan  2     Mars  2

After the second day's play:

Titan  6     Mars  5

After the third day's play:

Titan  10     Mars  10

After the fourth day's play:

Titan  12     Mars  14

After the final day's play:

no.13 seed:  Titan  17    vs.    no.4 seed:  Mars  18   

So the winner of the June 2017 Interplanetary Knock-Out is

Mars

So after a hard-fought final, in which the Titanics put in a tenacious performance, the Red Planet has now won the trophy three times, equalling the record of Venus.

Tars Tarkas as Team-Captain lifted the trophy for the Martians, and then made a courtly speech, interrupted by a few hecklers protesting at "human rights abuses" by the green men of Barsoom.

After ten competitions the trophy totals are: Venus and Mars three each; Saturn two; Mercury and Jupiter one each.



may 2017

first round, 1-5 may 2017:

no.1 seed:  Saturn  10   vs.   no.17 seed:  Callisto  8

no.9 seed:  The Moon  9   vs.   no.25 seed:  Europa  4

no.5 seed:  Jupiter  6   vs.   no.21 seed:  Ariel  3

no.13 seed:  Pluto  7   vs.   no. 29 seed:  Umbriel  3

no.3 seed:  Mars  8    vs.   no.19 seed:  Titan  6

no.11 seed:  Pellucidar  7    vs.   no.27 seed:  Leda  1

no.7 seed:  Vulcan  11   vs.   no.23 seed:  Triton  4

no.15 seed:  The Reefs of Space    vs.   no.31 seed:  Ceres  4 

no.2 seed:  Mercury  11    vs.   no.18 seed:  Comets  4

no.10 seed:  Iapetus  10    vs.   no.26 seed:  Ganymede  3

no.6 seed:  Neptune  8    vs.   no.22 seed:  Pallas  2 

no.14 seed:  The Sun    vs.   no.30 seed:  Styx  2

no.4 seed:  Venus  13    vs.   no.20 seed: Titania  3 

no.12 seed:  Earth  4     vs.   no.28 seed:  Io  2 

no.8 seed:  The Asteroids  8     vs.   no.24 seed:  Oberon  2 

no.16 seed: Uranus  11    vs.   no.32 seed:  Cerberus 2

A most satisfactory first round from the point of view of the seeding committee, though not so much from the point of view of the sensationalist tabloids such as the Solar Shriek, which thrive on giant-killing upsets.  The Shriek has to content itself with comment on some mildly surprisingly high scores, such as Vulcan's.

second round, 6-10 may 2017:

no.1 seed:  Saturn  14    vs.   no.9 seed:  The Moon  14

no.5 seed:  Jupiter  11    vs.   no.13 seed:  Pluto  14

no.3 seed:  Mars  12    vs.   no.11 seed:  Pellucidar  9  

no.7 seed:  Vulcan  14    vs.   no.15 seed:  The Reefs of Space  11

no.2 seed:  Mercury  18     vs.   no.10 seed:  Iapetus  16

no.6 seed:  Neptune  6  vs.   no.14 seed:  The Sun  13

no.4 seed:  Venus  13    vs.   no.12 seed:  Earth  10

no.8 seed:  The Asteroids  12    vs.   no.16 seed: Uranus  10

A fascinating round, notable for the amazing victory of Pluto over Jupiter (Pluto reached the quarter-finals for the first time last month, and have now repeated the performance), and also remarkable for the high scores generally. 

The Sun unexpectedly has got through to the quarter-finals; it has done so only once before, in December.  (The Vulcanians, likewise, have done it once before - they reached the quarter-finals in October.) 

Perhaps most dramatically of all, the Moon has held mighty Saturn to a draw, necessitating a replay.

The Moon usually wins in the first round, and on three occasions (September, December and February) has won in the second round, but on each of those occasions has then been beaten in the quarter-finals.  The Selenites need to badger the Grand Lunar to figure out a winning strategy.

SECOND ROUND REPLAY, 11TH MAY 2017:

no.1 seed:  Saturn  3    vs.   no.9 seed:  The Moon1

quarter-finals, 11-15 may 2017:

After the first day's play:

Saturn  3    Pluto 
1
Mars
 
2    Vulcan  1
Mercury 
2   The Sun  3
Venus 
0   The Asteroids  4

After the second day's play:

Saturn  8    Pluto  1
Mars
 
6    Vulcan  3
Mercury 
4   The Sun  4
Venus 
5   The Asteroids  7

After the third day's play:

Saturn  10    Pluto  2
Mars
 
7    Vulcan  4
Mercury 
4   The Sun  6
Venus 
6   The Asteroids  8

After the fourth day's play:

Saturn  14    Pluto  3
Mars
 
9    Vulcan  6
Mercury 
8   The Sun  9
Venus 
9   The Asteroids  9

After the last day's play:

no.1 seed:  Saturn  18    vs.   no.13 seed:  Pluto  6 

no.3 seed:  Mars  17    vs.   no.7 seed:  Vulcan  10

no.2 seed:  Mercury  12   vs.   no.14 seed:  The Sun  12

no.4 seed:  Venus  13   vs.   no.8 seed:  The Asteroids  13 

Amazing!  Two replays needed!  Watch this space.

QUARTER-FINAL REPLAYS, 16TH MAY 2017:

no.2 seed:  Mercury  3   vs.   no.14 seed:  The Sun  3

no.4 seed:  Venus  4   vs.   no.8 seed:  The Asteroids  1 

One must admit that the Venusians did well to come up from behind these last few days and finally to beat their opponents, though it would have been good to see the Asteroids reach the final once more.

The Sun is doing amazingly well against its hot rival.  Another replay to follow!

no.2 seed:  Mercury  2   vs.   no.14 seed:  The Sun  1

So the solar orb retires from the quarter-finals with honour, and Mercury goes through.  We now have a semi-final entirely composed of previous competition winners, three of whom have won twice - Mercury is the odd one out with just one previous trophy.

semi-finals, 16-20 may 2017:

no.1 seed:  Saturn      vs.   no.3 seed:  Mars     

no.2 seed:  Mercury     vs.   no.4 seed:  Venus 

After the second day's play:

Saturn  2   Mars  11
Mercury  5    Venus  6

After the third day's play:

Saturn  7   Mars  14
Mercury  9    Venus  8

After the fourth day's play:

Saturn  14   Mars  15
Mercury  10    Venus  12

After the fifth and last day's play:

no.1 seed:  Saturn  17     vs.   no.3 seed:  Mars  16   

no.2 seed:  Mercury   10   vs.   no.4 seed:  Venus  13

Both finalists have won the trophy twice already.  So whatever happens now, we are going to end up with a thrice-winner.

the final, 21-25 may 2017:

no.1 seed:  Saturn       vs.   no.4 seed:  Venus  

(These two teams have met once before in the final, last October, and on that occasion the Saturnians narrowly won, 10-9.)

After the first day's play:
Saturn  1     Venus  0

After the second day's play:
Saturn  2     Venus  1

After the third day's play:
Saturn  3     Venus  3

After the fourth day's play:
Saturn  7     Venus  4

It looked like the Saturnians had sewn up their third trophy win.  But the Venusians did their trick f coming up from behind, as they'd done against Mercury in the semi-final, only more dramatically this time - from 3 points behind to one point ahead.

After the fifth and last day's play:

no.1 seed:  Saturn  7     vs.   no.4 seed:  Venus  8

So the winner of the May 2017 Interplanetary Knock-Out is

Venus

 - which now becomes the first team to be thrice-winners of the championship.  Venus, then, is now the superpower of the tournament.  Segir is being quaffed in vast amounts in all the dives around Venusopolis, celebrating the narrow one-point victory over that very same world that gained a one-point victory over Venus in last October's final.  The quaffers watch on TV as the Venerian dragon, whose unpronounceable name is rendered in Terran speech as "Sir Isaac", rears up to lift the trophy on behalf of all the peoples of the Mystery Planet.



april 2017

first round, 1-5 april 2017:

no.1 seed:  Saturn  28    vs.   no.17 seed:  Titan  8 

no.9 seed:  The Moon  7   vs.   no.25 seed:  Callisto  2 

no.5 seed:  Jupiter  9    vs.   no.21 seed:  Pallas  5 

no.13 seed:  The Sun  5   vs.   no. 29 seed:  Styx  1 

no.3 seed:  Venus  8    vs.   no.19 seed:  Comets  8

no.11 seed:  Earth  9    vs.   no.27 seed:  Ceres  2

no.7 seed:  Pluto  4    vs.   no.23 seed:  Europa  2

no.15 seed:  Uranus  5    vs.   no.31 seed:  Umbriel  6

no.2 seed:  Mercury  9    vs.   no.18 seed:  Titania  3

no.10 seed:  Neptune  7   vs.   no.26 seed:  Ariel  5  

no.6 seed:  Iapetus  7    vs.   no.22 seed:  Oberon  3 

no.14 seed:  Pellucidar  4  vs.   no.30 seed:  Ganymede  2

no.4 seed:  Mars  11   vs.   no.20 seed: Triton  2

no.12 seed:  Vulcan  4   vs.   no.28 seed:  Cerberus  3 

no.8 seed:  The Asteroids  7  vs.   no.24 seed:  Io  1

no.16 seed:  The Reefs of Space  4  vs.   no.32 seed:  Leda  5

Some surprises in this round.  Mighty Venus held to a draw by the Comets.  The Uranians beaten by their own satellite, Umbriel.  And for the second month in a row, the lowest seeded team of all, Leda, wins their match.

Earth meanwhile certainly have avenged their notorious defeat by Ceres last September.

FIRST ROUND REPLAY, 6TH APRIL 2017:

no.3 seed:  Venus  0   vs.   no.19 seed:  Comets  0

Come on, Venusians and Cometeers, let's have some scoring in the next replay!

FIRST ROUND REPLAY, 7TH APRIL 2017:

no.3 seed:  Venus  0   vs.   no.19 seed:  Comets  3

It just goes to show that anything can happen in the IKO.  Venus, twice System champions, now knocked out in Round One by the Comets, who have never before won a match.

second round, 6-10 April 2017:

no.1 seed:  Saturn  20    vs.   no.9 seed:  The Moon  10   

no.5 seed:  Jupiter  13   vs.   no.13 seed:  The Sun  4 

no.19 seed:  Comets  6   vs.    no.11 seed:  Earth  6  

no.7 seed:  Pluto  13     vs.   no.31 seed:  Umbriel   3 

no.2 seed:  Mercury  10   vs.   no.10 seed:  Neptune  22

no.6 seed:  Iapetus  12    vs.   no.14 seed:  Pellucidar  10 

no.4 seed:  Mars  12    vs.   no.12 seed:  Vulcan  9 

no.8 seed:  The Asteroids  7   vs.   no.32 seed:  Leda  5 

The shock of the tournament so far: Neptune's stunning win over the great Mercurian team.  Neptune has so far been the "poor relation" in the OSS family - maybe this is the start of a welcome Neptunian renaissance.

Holy planetesimals - another replay involving Comets!

SECOND ROUND REPLAY, 11 APRIL 2017:

no.19 seed:  Comets  0   vs.    no.11 seed:  Earth  2 


quarter-finals, 11-15 April 2017:

After the first day's play:

SaturnJupiter 3
Earth 
2   Pluto  0
Neptune
1   Iapetus  3
Mars
 
The Asteroids  3

After the second day's play:

SaturnJupiter 7
Earth 
6   Pluto  3
Neptune 
3   Iapetus  6
Mars
 
The Asteroids  8

After the third day's play:

Saturn  6  Jupiter 11
Earth 
7   Pluto  4
Neptune 
3   Iapetus  9
Mars
 
11  The Asteroids  12

After the fourth day's play:

Saturn  11  Jupiter 14
Earth 
11   Pluto  6
Neptune 
7   Iapetus  11
Mars
 
16  The Asteroids  15

"The nail-biting match between Mars and the Asteroids - is it going to end like the February final, with the Red Planet prevailing over the Belters?  The Asteroids were leading for two days but have now been dramatically overtaken.  One day to go and the System is awash with buzzing ether-waves...  

"Meanwhile it looks as though Earth, having reached its first ever quarter-final place, is likely to reach its first-ever semi-final place as well.  The Terrestrials are confident that - in IKO terms - their days as an sporting backwater are now past..." 

Final score in the quarter-finals after the fifth day's play:

no.1 seed:  Saturn 11    vs.   no.5 seed:  Jupiter 17  

no.11 seed:  Earth  11    vs.     no.7 seed:  Pluto  9 

no.10 seed:  Neptune  8    vs.      no.6 seed:  Iapetus  12   

no.4 seed:  Mars 16   vs.   no.8 seed:  The Asteroids  15 

semi-finals, 16-20 april 2017:

After the first day's play:

Jupiter  2  
Earth 
2
Iapetus
 
5   Mars  4

After the second day's play:

Jupiter  7   Earth  3
Iapetus
 
7   Mars  8

After the third day's play:

Jupiter  10   Earth  5
Iapetus
 
9   Mars  10

After the fourth day's play:

Jupiter  15   Earth  6
Iapetus
 
12   Mars  12

Of the two teams for whom this is the first-ever semi-final, Earth is evidently outclassed by its giant opponent, but Iapetus is giving the Martians a run for their money... 

Result after 5th day's play:

no.5 seed:  Jupiter 16    vs.     no.11 seed:  Earth  7    

no.6 seed:  Iapetus  13     vs.     no.4 seed:  Mars  13

So the Iapetus-Mars clash must be replayed.

Semi-final replay, 21st April 2017:

Iapetus  2    Mars  2

Second semi-final replay, 22nd April 2017:

Iapetus  2    Mars  7


the final, 21-25 april 2017:

no.5 seed: Jupiter        vs.     no.4 seed:  Mars 

After the second day's play:

Jupiter  3    Mars  7

After the third day's play (no change in score):

Jupiter  3    Mars  7

After the fourth day's play:

Jupiter  6    Mars  9

After the fifth day's play (25 April 2017):

no.5 seed: Jupiter  13      vs.     no.4 seed:  Mars  13

Jupiter has caught up!  In this tentacle-gnawing final the Giant Planet's last-minute surge means the contest must go into extra time.  This likewise happened in the first final, back in September, between Jupiter and Mercury (Jupiter went on to win).

Martian renown versus Jovian mass - green men versus methane monsters - birdlike Tweels versus psychopathic hexans - it's anyone's guess what the result will be.  The System is agog, with inner and outer worlds pitted against each other and rooting for their representatives...  Whichever team wins will join Saturn and Venus in the select company of twice-winners... 

REPLAY OF FINAL, 26 APRIL 2017:

no.5 seed: Jupiter   1     vs.     no.4 seed:  Mars  1

Still not decided.  Neither team will give an inch.  Second replay scheduled for 27 April.  All System business at a standstill.


SECOND REPLAY OF FINAL, 27 APRIL 2017:

no.5 seed: Jupiter  0     vs.     no.4 seed:  Mars 1


So the winner of the April 2017 Interplanetary Knock-Out is

Mars

Dejah Thoris, surrounded by a strong bodyguard trained trained to watch out for kidnappers, lifted the trophy to an ecstatic throng...

Three teams have now won the IKO Hits Trophy more than once:  Venus, Mars and Saturn.
Each of these has won it twice (though only Venus has won it twice consecutively). 

The number of twice-winners now exceeds the number of once-winners (Jupiter and Mercury).

Of the 8 competitions so far, 5 trophies have gone to the Inner Solar System, and 3 to the Outer.



march 2017

first round, 1-5 march 2017:

no.1 seed: Mars 12   vs.   no.17 seed:  Europa  5

no.9 seed:  Pellucidar  5  vs.   no.25 seed:  Ganymede  2

no.5 seed:  Venus  5   vs.   no.21 seed:  Oberon  2

no.13 seed: Pluto  8   vs.   no. 29 seed:  Io  1

no.3 seed:  Saturn  9  vs.   no.19 seed:  Callisto  2

no.11 seed:  Vulcan  7   vs.   no.27 seed:  Titania  1

no.7 seed:  Triton  5  vs.   no.23 seed:  Titan 2

no.15 seed:  The Sun  5   vs.   no.31 seed: Cerberus  1

no.2 seed:  Mercury  18  vs.   no.18 seed:  Neptune  2

no.10 seed: Iapetus 7  vs.   no.26 seed:  Umbriel  3    

no.6 seed:  Jupiter  8  vs.   no.22 seed: The Reefs of Space  2 

no.14 seed:  The Moon  7   vs.   no.30 seed: Ariel 4

no.4 seed: The Asteroids 3   vs.   no.20 seed: Pallas  3

no.12 seed: Earth  4   vs.   no.28 seed: Styx  5  

no.8 seed: Uranus  9   vs.   no.24 seed: Ceres 2

no.16 seed: Comets 2   vs.   no.32 seed: Leda 3

A replay is needed between The Asteroids and Pallas.

Earth vanquished by Styx!  Imagine how the Stygians are whooping it up on their tiny Plutonian moon.

Leda is another small world that did well.

Top scorer in this round is the second seed, Mercury, and the second highest scorer is the first seed, Mars.

REPLAY, 6TH MARCH:

no.4 seed: The Asteroids  3 vs.   no.20 seed: Pallas  1

second round, 6-10 march 2017:

no.1 seed:  Mars 11    vs.   no.9 seed:  Pellucidar  6  

no.5 seed:  Venus  18    vs.   no.13 seed:  Pluto  6  

no.3 seed:  Saturn  11     vs.   no.11 seed:  Vulcan  9

no.7 seed:  Triton  4    vs.   no.15 seed:  The Sun  3

no.2 seed:  Mercury  14    vs.   no.10 seed:  Iapetus  16

no.6 seed:  Jupiter  17    vs.   no.14 seed:  The Moon  8 

no.4 seed:  The Asteroids  9    vs.   no.28 seed:  Styx  5  

no.8 seed:  Uranus  8    vs.   no.32 seed:  Leda  3

The shock of all shocks has rocked the System: Mercury knocked out in round 2 by the Iapetans.  It is the first time, in all seven competitions so far, that the Inner Planet has been beaten anywhere short of the semi-finals.  Magnesium flares are bursting all over the Arc of Iapetus...  while the Mercurian manager is being denounced by some as a "dumb dluku" who ought to be strapped to a heat-lizard and sent into Hotside, though others point out that a score of 14 is quite creditable.

quarter-finals, 11-15 march 2017:

After the first day's play:
Mars
3  Venus 4
Saturn
Triton 0
Iapetus
4  Jupiter 6
The Asteroids
2  Uranus 1

After the second day's play:
Mars
5  Venus 5
Saturn
Triton 4
Iapetus
7  Jupiter 9
The Asteroids
2  Uranus 2

After the third day's play:
Mars
11  Venus 10
Saturn
11  Triton 4
Iapetus
11  Jupiter 13
The Asteroids
6  Uranus 4

After the fourth day's play:
Mars
13  Venus 11
Saturn
15  Triton 6
Iapetus
12  Jupiter 15
The Asteroids
8  Uranus 4

Final result after the fifth day's play:

no.1 seed:  Mars  15    vs.     no.5 seed:  Venus  12 

no.3 seed:  Saturn  19    vs.   no.7 seed:  Triton  7 

no.10 seed:  Iapetus  17   vs.   no.6 seed:  Jupiter  18

no.4 seed:  The Asteroids  10   vs.   no.8 seed:  Uranus  4

The most excitement was in the match between the 10th and 6th seeds, in which the Iapetans' late surge almost caught up with the Jovians.

The only weak teams turned out to be the Uranians and the Tritonians. 

The Martians have avenged their December defeat when they were knocked out by the Venusians in the second round, 5-7.

Interest now shifts to the forthcoming semi-final clash between current champions Mars and top quarter-final scorers Saturn - the first ever occasion on which those two planets have faced each other.

All four winners in the quarter-finals scored more in that round than they did in the previous one.  The big players are hitting their stride...

semi-finals, 16-20 march 2017:

After the first day's play:
Mars 
1   Saturn  4
Jupiter  0   The Asteroids  1

After the second day's play:
Mars 
3   Saturn  7
Jupiter  2   The Asteroids  3

After the third day's play:
Mars 
8   Saturn  9
Jupiter 
4   The Asteroids  5

After the fourth day's play:

Mars  8   Saturn  11
Jupiter 
6   The Asteroids  5

Result after the fifth day's play:

no.1 seed:  Mars  10    vs.     no.3 seed:  Saturn  12

no.6 seed:  Jupiter   8    vs.     no.4 seed:  The Asteroids   8

So the current champions are out, and we have one finalist - Saturn - while the other semi-final needs a re-play.

Saturn has reached the final for the second time; the first was last October, when it went on to win narrowly against Venus, 10-9.  Since then we haven't had any champion from the outer solar system.  But now, whatever happens, the recent domination by the inner planets has been broken - you can't count the Asteroids as "inner"; they're an in-between zone.

SEMI-FINAL REPLAY, 21ST MARCH 2017:

no.6 seed:  Jupiter  0     vs.     no.4 seed:  The Asteroids  8

The phasmidae on Phocea are freaking out in a low-gravity dance of glee at the pulverization of the Giant Planet's team by a terrific and scarcely believable 8-point Asteroidal surge in one day... a surge in which they scored, in that one day, precisely as many hits as they scored in the previous 5 days.

the final, 21-25 march 2017:

no.3 seed:  Saturn       vs.     no.4 seed:  The Asteroids

After the first day's play:
Saturn  1    Asteroids  8

After the second day's play:
Saturn  6    Asteroids  10

After the third day's play:
Saturn  10    Asteroids  13

After the fourth day's play:
Saturn  13    Asteroids  14

The System is agog as the final approaches its climax.  Will the Asteroids stop the Saturnians catching up?  If they can, then the Belters will become the first ever non-major-planet winners of the trophy.  All the small bodies of the System are rooting for them.  On the other hand, the Saturnians - whose beauteous world won once before, back in October - have the support of the Outer Planets who wish to see the trophy returned to their bloc.  Even the surly Jovian Morgors have voiced some support for the Ringed Planet on this occasion...

After the fifth day's play:

no.3 seed:  Saturn  16     vs.     no.4 seed:  The Asteroids  16

So like the first final back in September (Jupiter vs Mercury), and like the January Mercury-Venus final, this one will have to go to a replay.

REPLAY OF THE FINAL - 26TH MARCH 2017:

no.3 seed:  Saturn  2     vs.     no.4 seed:  The Asteroids  0


So the winner of the March 2017 Interplanetary Knock-Out is

Saturn

You have to hand it to the Saturnians - coming up from 1-8 to win.  The Ringed Planet now joins the select company of Venus in the class of those teams who have won the competition twice.  Note also that this month their victory was all the more convincing, in that on their way up they beat the reigning champions Mars.

Spare some sympathy for the Asteroids, beaten finalists two months in a row.  Will a non-major-planet team ever win the trophy?  "If it happens, surely it will be achieved either by the Asteroids or by the Pellucidarians...  or just conceivably by the Iapetans."  So opines the Callistan insect-philosopher Sfegobpfappuref, waving his antennae authoritatively as he dismisses his own world's chances - thus proving how philosophical he is.

Meanwhile Yuru, king of the winged Qualus, holds aloft the trophy amid a triumphant wheeling flock of his fellow Saturnians...



february 2017

first round, 1-5 february 2017:

no.1 seed:  Venus  12   vs.   no.17 seed:  Neptune  8 

no.9 seed:  Pluto  5   vs.   no.25 seed:  Io  3 

no.5 seed:  Jupiter  17   vs.   no.21 seed:  Europa  4

no.13 seed: The Sun  10    vs.   no. 29 seed:  Titania  3

no.3 seed:  Mars  19    vs.   no.19 seed:  Comets  8 

no.11 seed:  Uranus  6    vs.   no.27 seed:  Titan  5 

no.7 seed:  Iapetus  11    vs.   no.23 seed:  Ceres  4  

no.15 seed:  Earth  9    vs.   no.31 seed: Leda  5  

no.2 seed: Saturn  17   vs.   no.18 seed:  The Reefs of Space  9  

no.10 seed: Vulcan  12   vs.   no.26 seed:  Styx  4

no.6 seed:  Mercury  13   vs.   no.22 seed: Oberon  7 

no.14 seed:  Callisto  8    vs.   no.30 seed: Umbriel  7

no.4 seed: The Asteroids  12   vs.   no.20 seed: Pallas  4 

no.12 seed: Pellucidar  11    vs.   no.28 seed: Cerberus  3

no.8 seed: The Moon  7    vs.   no.24 seed: Ganymede  4

no.16 seed: Triton  5  vs.   no.32 seed: Ariel  3 

The top seeds made a clean sweep of their opponents - though, in the case of Uranus vs Titan and Callisto vs Umbriel, only by one point.

second round, 6-10 february 2017:

no.1 seed:  Venus   18   vs.    no.9 seed:  Pluto  4

no.5 seed:  Jupiter   7    vs.    no.13 seed:  The Sun  3

no.3 seed:  Mars  12    vs.     no.11 seed:  Uranus  3

no.7 seed:  Iapetus  6    vs.     no.15 seed:  Earth  3   

no.2 seed: Saturn  12    vs.    no.10 seed:  Vulcan  7    

no.6 seed:  Mercury  8    vs.    no.14 seed:  Callisto  3   

no.4 seed: The Asteroids  12   vs.  no.12 seed: Pellucidar  7 

no.8 seed: The Moon  4     vs.   no.16 seed: Triton  3

Another clean sweep for the higher seeds.

quarter-finals, 11-15 february 2017:

The day-by-day reports:

At the end of the third day's play: it's looking as though the seeds will all triumph again, though the tussle between Saturn and Mercury is close.

If Mars manages to win against Iapetus, it will be - amazingly - the first time that the Red Planet has reached the semi-final, in the 6 competitions that have been held so far.

At the end of the fourth day's play:  Jupiter is sneaking up on champions Venus, while the Martians have kept their three-point lead over the Iapetans.  Much more dramatically, Mercury zoomed ahead of Saturn with a spurt of 5 hits.  The Asteroids increased their lead over the Moon.

no.1 seed:  Venus  9    vs.    no.5 seed:  Jupiter  11

no.3 seed:  Mars  11    vs.    no.7 seed:  Iapetus   9

no.2 seed: Saturn  7  vs.    no.6 seed:  Mercury  11   

no.4 seed: The Asteroids  9    vs.   no.8 seed: The Moon  5

A brilliant finish.  The Mercurians have recovered their form, and the Red Planet (current holder of the Zones Cup) has gained its first-ever semi-final place, while its opponent Iapetus also achieved a very respectable score.  But perhaps the main eye-opener is that Venus, reigning champions and top seed, have been unexpectedly knocked out by former champions Jupiter.

semi-finals, 16-20 february 2017:


After the first day's play: 

The Martians have had an impressive start (4-2) against the Jovians; the Red Planet team seem at last to have found their form, for the first time in the history of the competition.  It's early days yet, of course, to predict a win.

More shocking is the strong performance of the Asteroids against the redoubtable Mercurians (4-1).  This is the first ever semi-final for the Belters, and to have achieved a score four times that of their opponents on the first day is a splendid opening.  Their navigation lights are twinkling like mad, while the Mercurian manager is thinking gloomy thoughts of being exiled to an outpost on Hotside.  On the other hand the Mercurians, the only team never to have missed a semi-final, can never be discounted.

After the second day's play:

Mars has increased its lead to 3 points over Jupiter; the score between them is now 7-4.  The Mercurians meanwhile have woken up, put on a spurt and almost caught up with the Asteroids, who now lead by only one point (7-6).

After the third day's play: 

Jupiter's score zoomed up from 4 to 13; the Martians stalled, and fell behind, having added only 2 hits to their previous day's score of 7, though their performance is quite respectable.  They are now 4 points behind Jupiter, who lead 13-9.

Mercury had a good day's hits - an increase of 5.  However, amazingly, the Asteroids put on an even stronger show, scoring another 8 to give them a 15-11 lead, so that, like the Jovians, the Belters are 4 points ahead.

All four semi-finalists are playing well.

After the fourth day's play:

The Asteroids are storming ahead, with 6 extra hits giving them a score of 21 while Mercury gained a "mere" 3 (pretty good in absolute terms) and now trail by 7 points, 14-21.  It's hard to see how the Inner Planet can stop the Asteroids getting to their first-ever final.  A totally unforeseen outcome; the bookies will have to revise their odds.

Mars picked up slightly but are still 3 points behind the Jovians, who look like they'll be finalists for the first time since September (when they beat Mercury to become the first System champions).

However, it ain't over till it's over.

The finish:

The commentators were confounded when Mars on the final day pulled all the stops out to achieve the highest ever score in the competition, picking up a stupefying 17 hits in one day, to thrash the Jovians 30-18.

Mercury did well on the last day, picking up 7 hits to the Asteroids' four, but this was not enough to overtake the Belters, who have - like the Martians - now reached their first ever final.

no.5 seed:  Jupiter  18    vs.    no.3 seed:  Mars  30

no.6 seed:  Mercury  21   vs.    no.4 seed:  The Asteroids  25


the final, 21-25 february 2017:

no.3 seed:  Mars   vs.    no.4 seed:  The Asteroids 

Interim scores in blue.

After the first day's play:      Mars  6      The Asteroids  6

Both teams took off to a mighty start to be neck and neck at 6 hits each after 24 hours.  With another four days to go, they're going to need a good rest in a luxury Venusian resort by the time this competition is over!  One of the softest floating islands on Perelandra, maybe.

After the second day's play:      Mars  11      The Asteroids  11

Quilpulla, the centipedal pundit from Callisto, freaks out in contortions as it gabbles: "History is being made, no matter how you look at it.  If Mars wins, it wins the double - becoming, at least for a few days, the holder of both the Zones Cup and the Knock-Out Trophy.  On the other hand if the Asteroids win, this will be the first occasion that the competition is won by a team not representing a major planet...  But which will it be?  Both are playing like no one's ever played before...  all eyes are agog at the stupendous spectacle...  As Cthulhu would say, "Eeayfhapefnsdtihrtfgh..."  (Hastily a tentacle snakes out and gently but firmly takes possession of the microphone.) 

After the third day's play:      Mars  20      The Asteroids  18

At last one team is pulling ahead of the other in this amazing final.  "They're playing as if they're on steroids," grumbled one Jovian at the improbably high scores.... 

After the fourth day's play:      Mars  25      The Asteroids  21

Looks like we're headed for a Mars win - unless the Asteroids do to Mars what Mars did to Jupiter on the last day of the semi-final...

After the fifth and last day's play the final score is:

no.3 seed:  Mars  30    vs.    no.4 seed:  The Asteroids  24

So the winner of the February 2017 Interplanetary Knock-Out is

Mars

Yes, the Martians have finally clinched it, in the 6th of these interplanetary knock-out competitions.

The Warlord being currently absent on Jupiter, the trophy was handed to Tars Tarkas.  He made a short though courtly speech, mindful of his people's reputation for taciturnity, but when he held the trophy aloft there were some louder demonstrations from Low Canal tribesmen and the wicked women of Jekkara...

Fortune's wheel turns fast in the Old Solar System.  For the previous two competitions it was Venus who bestrode the scene, and now Mars is the winner not only of the IKO but of the Zones Cup simultaneously - the first ever team to perform that feat.



january 2017

first round, 1-5 january 2017:

no.1 seed: Mercury  12    vs.   no.17 seed:  Earth  4

no.9 seed:  The Moon  5   vs.   no.25 seed:  Ariel  1

no.5 seed: Mars  7   vs.   no.21 seed: Oberon  2

no.13 seed: Callisto  5    vs.   no. 29 seed:  Leda  2  

no.3 seed:  Jupiter  9     vs.   no.19 seed:  Pluto  6

no.11 seed:  The Reefs of Space  3    vs.   no.27 seed:  Umbriel  5

no.7 seed:  Asteroids  13     vs.   no.23 seed:  Ceres  3  

no.15 seed:  The Sun  9     vs.   no.31 seed: Cerberus  4   

no.2 seed: Saturn  6     vs.   no.18 seed:  Europa  1   

no.10 seed: Uranus  8     vs.   no.26 seed:  Comets  3  

no.6 seed:  Iapetus  6    vs.   no.22 seed: Pallas  2

no.14 seed: Neptune  3     vs.   no.30 seed: Styx  1 

no.4 seed: Venus  9    vs.   no.20 seed: Titan  3  

no.12 seed:  Triton  4     vs.   no.28 seed: Io  5

no.8 seed: Pellucidar  6     vs.   no.24 seed: Ganymede  2

no.16 seed: Vulcan     vs.   no.32 seed: Titania  2 

(In case some readers are puzzled as to why Venus, the reigning champions, have been seeded 4th not 1st, please note that seeding is ranked according to page view totals in the preceding month, not according to the previous month's knock-out competition results.) 

The only considerable surprise in the first round was Io's victory over Triton, though it happened once before, last September - the only other occasion on which Io has won a match.

second round, 6-10 january 2017:

no.1 seed: Mercury  10    vs.   no.9 seed: The Moon  4

no.5 seed: Mars  7   vs.   no.13 seed: Callisto  9

no.3 seed: Jupiter  14    vs.   no.27 seed:  Umbriel  2  

no.7 seed:  Asteroids   7    vs.   no.15 seed:  The Sun  7

no.2 seed: Saturn  10    vs.   no.10 seed: Uranus  6

no.6 seed:  Iapetus  20    vs.   no.14 seed: Neptune  4 

no.4 seed: Venus  14    vs.   no.28 seed: Io  4

no.8 seed: Pellucidar     vs.    no.16 seed: Vulcan  7

The System is a-buzz with the news of Mars' defeat by Callisto.  Not for the first time, beings in bars from Mercury to Pluto are voicing the opinion that the Martian manager must be sacked. What to do?  Appoint John Carter?  He usually has his hands full rescuing Dejah Thoris and might not be able to give his full attention to the game...

The second round is not over: two matches were drawn, so replays are necessary.

Second-round replays, 11 January 2017:

no.7 seed:  Asteroids   0    vs.   no.15 seed:  The Sun  0

no.8 seed: Pellucidar     vs.    no.16 seed: Vulcan  1


Still drawing!  They'll have to play again, no matter how exhausted they are.


Second-round further replays, 12 January 2017:

no.7 seed:  Asteroids   1    vs.   no.15 seed:  The Sun  0

no.8 seed: Pellucidar    vs.    no.16 seed: Vulcan  1


quarter-finals, 11-15 january 2017:

no.1 seed: Mercury   6    vs.    no.13 seed: Callisto    4

no.3 seed: Jupiter  3   vs.     no.7 seed: The Asteroids  3

no.2 seed: Saturn   6   vs.     no.6 seed:  Iapetus   5

no.4 seed: Venus   7   vs.     no.8 seed: Pellucidar   4 

For the first time in the competition's history, a quarter-final match has been drawn; Jupiter and the Asteroids will have to re-play.

The other three matches show the big experienced teams ultimately prevailing, though Mercury and Saturn were trailing at first and had to come back from behind.

If the Asteroids lose the replay, the result will give us a semi-final entirely composed of previous champions, which will make it certain that for the first time a team will win the competition twice.

Previous mid-match reports from our breathless correspondent on Ceres:

"At the end of match day three:

"We could be in for the most dramatically upsetting quarter finals in the competition's history.  Down the left hand side of the score-line are four teams who exactly comprise the previous winners of the Knock-Out: Mercury, Jupiter, Saturn and Venus.  Amazingly, off those four, only one, the current champions Venus, is currently ahead against its opponent.  The other three - mighty Mercury, Jupiter and Saturn - are all trailing!  Could this be the month when the smaller bodies of the Solar System begin to show that they can snatch the trophy?

"And be it noted that if Mercury gets knocked out by Callisto, it will be the first time that the Inmost Planet has ever failed to reach the semi-final... and the first time that a moon has reached it (though the asteroid, Pallas, did get that far in November)..."

Report at end of match day four:

"The old guard have fought back!  All four matches now look likely to give a close result...  We have never had any need to reply quarter-finals - no quarter-final match has hitherto been drawn - but this could be the month when it happens..."

Quarter-final replay, 16th January 2017:

no.3 seed: Jupiter  0   vs.     no.7 seed: The Asteroids  0

Still no result!  The Asteroids are making a habit of being involved in replays this month.

Come on, folks, let's have some hits to decide this one!

Quarter-final further replay, 17th January 2017:

no.3 seed: Jupiter  2   vs.     no.7 seed: The Asteroids  2

Grrrr!  Still no decision!  The Committee are waggling their palps in frustration and impatience.

Quarter-final further replay, 18th January 2017:

no.3 seed: Jupiter  4   vs.     no.7 seed: The Asteroids  3

At last we now know the semi-final line-up!  And it's an illustrious one - namely, the four previous winners of the competition, who must now battle to see which may be the first-ever team to win it twice. 

And the seeding has worked out perfectly!

An even more amazing irony of the line-up is that the first semi-final is a repeat of the September final, while the second semi-final is a repeat of the October final!

(In September Jupiter beat Mercury after a replay; in October Saturn narrowly beat Venus.)

semi-finals, 16-20 January 2017:

no.1 seed: Mercury  8    vs.    no.3 seed: Jupiter  5

no.2 seed: Saturn    vs.    no.4 seed: Venus  13

It's going to be a Mercury vs Venus final again!  Jupiter looked like beating the Inmost Planet at first, but the smaller world overtook the larger.  Venus meanwhile was in top form and the Saturnians never looked like mounting an effective challenge.

Now we have the same line-up as in December's final, except that this time Venus is no.4 instead of no.2 seed.

In December the Mercurians - then the reigning champions, and the highest scores in the semi-finals - were favourites to win, yet Venus won.  Now the Venusians - who likewise now are both the reigning champions and the highest scores in the semi-final - are the favourites...

the final, 21-25 january 2017:

Scores-so-far day by day in blue.  At the end of the first day's play the score was Mercury 1, Venus 2.  But at the end of the second day's play, Mercury had scored another three hits, dramatically overtaking Venus who was still stuck on 2.  Then the third day (this is certainly a harder fought final than the previous one) Venus almost pulled back, gaining a couple of points to Mercury's one, reducing Mercury's lead to 5-4.

The fourth day, both sides scored well, Venus one point better, so as the competition reaches its climax the two Hot Worlds are neck and neck on 8 each.

The fifth day, the score remained unchanged:

no.1 seed: Mercury  8    vs.    no.4 seed: Venus  8

- necessitating a continuation into extra time, 26th January, after which the score stood as follows:

no.1 seed: Mercury  9    vs.    no.4 seed: Venus  11


So the winner of the January 2017 Interplanetary Knock-Out is

Venus

The reigning champions thus have kept the trophy - and this is the first time that a team has won it more than once.

In whatever dives Venusians are gathered, a lot of segir-whisky will be quaffed all over the System tonight...



december 2016

first round, 1-5 december 2016:

no.1 seed: Mercury 13     vs.   no.17 seed: Vulcan 7  

no.9 seed: Iapetus    vs.   no.25 seed: Styx 2

no.5 seed: Pallas 12     vs.   no.21 seed: Reefs of Space 6 

no.13 seed: Earth 7     vs.   no. 29 seed: Ganymede 1  

no.3 seed: Triton     vs.   no.19 seed: Ceres 3    

no.11 seed: The Moon 9    vs.   no.27 seed: Cerberus 4 

no.7 seed: Jupiter 11   vs.   no.23 seed: Europa 5 

no.15 seed: Pluto 4     vs.   no.31 seed: Leda 3  

no.2 seed: Venus 7     vs.   no.18 seed: Neptune 6 

no.10 seed: Mars 11     vs.   no.26 seed: Titan 3

no.6 seed: Pellucidar 4     vs.   no.22 seed: Oberon 1  

no.14 seed: Uranus 7     vs.   no.30 seed: Ariel 1

no.4 seed: Saturn 13      vs.   no.20 seed: Comets 2 

no.12 seed: Callisto 6     vs.   no.28 seed: Io 1 

no.8 seed: The Asteroids 9    vs.   no.24 seed: Umbriel 2

no.16 seed: The Sun 8    vs.   no.32 seed: Titania  2

An upset-free round - the first time this has happened.  The seeding committee are smirking happily.  The only (mild) surprise is that Neptune came so close to drawing with Venus.

The poor old Vulcanians must be pretty fed up with being knocked out by the Mercurians at the start of the competition for the second month running - but then, Vulcanian thought-processes tend to suffer from heatstroke... whereas Mercurians are energized by living on the edge of two drastically contrasting planetary zones.

second round, 6-10 December 2016:

no.1 seed: Mercury 12    vs.   no.9 seed: Iapetus 11 

no.5 seed: Pallas 6    vs.    no.13 seed: Earth 4

no.3 seed: Triton   vs.    no.11 seed: The Moon 10

no.7 seed: Jupiter 8    vs.    no.15 seed: Pluto 3

no.2 seed: Venus 7    vs.    no.10 seed: Mars 5

no.6 seed: Pellucidar 8    vs.    no.14 seed: Uranus 4 

no.4 seed: Saturn 9    vs.    no.12 seed: Callisto 6

no.8 seed: The Asteroids 5   vs.   no.16 seed: The Sun 6 

Two upsets in this round, as can be seen from the table above - and one near-upset in which the Iapetans came close to defeating the reigning champions, the mighty Mercurians.

This is the first time that the Sun has got through the second round.

The Martians are pretty well fed up with being the under-calots in encounters with other major planets - as well as their even more catastrophic defeat by little Cerberus in round one last month.  The Martians' best moment was their crushing defeat of Neptune in October's second round.  But they have lost to Jupiter, to Mercury and now to Venus.  So the Red Planet is looking for a new manager.

quarter-finals, 11-15 december 2016:

no.1 seed: Mercury  14   vs.   no.5 seed: Pallas  4

no.11 seed: The Moon  4   vs.    no.7 seed: Jupiter  8

no.2 seed: Venus  13   vs.    no.6 seed: Pellucidar  4

no.4 seed: Saturn  11   vs.    no.16 seed: The Sun  2   

Venus was looking to avenge her narrow defeat in last month's quarter-final clash with Pellucidar, which the Pellucidarians won in an epic cliff-hanger, 16-15.  This time the Venusians began as narrow favourites to win.  A surge on the fourth day's play saw them widen their lead, and they finished with a convincing victory turning the tables on the Pellucidarians.

Meanwhile the Palladians took a early surprise lead over the Mercurians.  Navigation lights were flashed in excitement all over the Asteroid Belt.  However, the third day's play saw a Mercurian surge, doubling the Palladian score, and the lights went on in a different Belt - the Twilight one.  The fourth day's play widened the inner planet's lead, and the fifth and final day saw a second surge, putting the reigning champions a full ten points ahead, to earn them their fourth consecutive semi-final place. Indeed, so far in the competition, the Mercurians have never yet failed to reach the semi-final; they are the only team for which this can be said.

These results, along with victories by Jupiter and Saturn, ensure an all-major-planet semi-final, with the same four teams as October's though differently paired.

semi-finals, 16-20 december 2016:

The two top seeds obtained convincing victories - ensuring that 2016 would end with an all-Inner-Planet final.

Day by day:

Venus (having taken an early lead on the first day, hoping to avenge her narrow defeat by Saturn in the October final) surged ahead on the second day.  On the third day the Saturnians rallied, scoring 3 more hits than the Venusians, and almost catching up with them, but on the fourth day the Venusians widened their lead to 4 hits.

Mercury and Jupiter tied on the first day but the second day ended with Mercury doubling the Jovians' score. The third day saw both sides scoring 5, so the Mercurians kept their 3-hit lead.  On the fourth day this dramatically widened to a 10-hit lead.  It looks very much as though Mercury is heading for its second consecutive final.

On the fourth day, the top two seeds once more surged ahead of their opponents.

no.1 seed:  Mercury  20   vs.    no.7 seed:  Jupiter  11

no.2 seed:  Venus  14   vs.     no.4 seed:  Saturn  10 


the final, 21-25 december 2016:

no.1 seed:  Mercury  2   vs.     no.2 seed:  Venus  6

So the winner of the December 2016 Interplanetary Knock-Out is

Venus

The beautiful Duare, princess of Vapaja, lifted the trophy to the acclaim of the crowd. 


A blow-by-blow account from our hits correspondent on Ceres as the match unfolded:

At the opening ceremony, 21st Dec: "Well, folks, this is Mercury's third final, and Venus' second, so it stands to reason we must have two super teams here; yet it's hard to find anyone who will allow that the Venusians have a snowball's chance on Hotside against the Mercurians this month.  However, as whatshisname said, it ain't over till it's over."

After the first day's play:  "To everyone's surprise, the Venusians have taken a 2-1 lead.  The scoring on both sides has, however, been lower than expected.  Restless fans were kept in order all day (a day here is 9 hours, but officially we adhere to Earth time) - fans were kept in order, as I was saying, by Jovian hexans patrolling the lanes between the stands..."

After the second day's play:  "Another desultory performance - in which Mercury did not score at all and Venus increased its lead by one point.  Perhaps both teams are tired, or else the fans whose mind-power infuses them with their vim are too occupied with preparing for Christmas to focus their attention on this match.  Still, it's a puzzle.  Where is the mighty Mercury of the semi-final, scoring an average of 4 hits a day?  Some of the fans are beginning to boo their team, threatening to tie them to the back of a heat-lizard and send them into Hotside when they get back..."

After the third day's play:  "This is turning out to be an extraordinary final, due to the stunning collapse of the Mercurians.  The almost equally flaccid Venusians picked up one more point, to lead 4-1.  Perhaps the greater size and population of Venus is giving them that extra oomph to achieve victory, despite the lethargy which appears to have gripped both sides.  Still, the Yogi Berra-ism is still as relevant as ever: it really ain't over till it's over.  A volcanic last-minute spurt from Mercury can't be ruled out - the Inmost Planet is always dangerous."

After the fourth day's play:  "People are beginning to view the Venusians - who have now increased their lead to 4 hits - as having already donned the mantle of System champions.  There's something appropriate after all, in the Planet of Love scoring highest at Christmas..."

After the final day's play:  "No new hits on Christmas Day.  So, the Venusians have done it.  In 2016, we have had four different winners in four months of the competition - two Outer Solar System winners, followed by two Inner Solar System winners."



november 2016

first round, 1-5 november:

no.1 seed: Mercury 12   vs.   no.17 seed: Vulcan 6

no.9 seed: The Moon 5   vs.   no.25 seed: Europa 2   

no.5 seed: Jupiter 12   vs.   no.21 seed: Titan 3  

no.13 seed: Earth   vs.   no. 29 seed: Oberon 6

no.3 seed: Saturn 8   vs.   no.19 seed: The Reefs of Space 4  

no.11 seed: Uranus 12   vs.   no.27 seed: Titania 4

no.7 seed: Callisto 11   vs.   no.23 seed: Umbriel 5

no.15 seed: Pluto 7   vs.   no.31 seed: Io 4

no.2 seed: Venus 18   vs.   no.18 seed: The Sun 2

no.10 seed: The Asteroids 7   vs.   no.26 seed: Ceres 5

no.6 seed: Pellucidar 17   vs.   no.22 seed: Comets 2 

no.14 seed: Triton 18    vs.   no.30 seed: Ariel 1 

no.4 seed: Pallas 11   vs.   no.20 seed: Styx 5

no.12 seed: Iapetus 10   vs.   no.28 seed: Leda 3

no.8 seed: Mars 5   vs.   no.24 seed: Cerberus 6 

no.16 seed: Neptune 2   vs.   no.32 seed: Ganymede 3

Two upsets in this round, which set the seeding committee to shake their heads - those of them that have heads:

Earth is held to a draw by tiny Oberon - necessitating a replay; and in a shock result unparalleled in the history of the competition, mighty Mars was actually beaten by Cerberus.  Even the second round defeat of Earth by Ceres in September did not cause so much amazement as this. 

The Martians can console themselves that they are likely to do much better in the Zones Cup, where they have attained second place each time so far.

Neptune's defeat by Ganymede was also eye-brow-raising, though not so much as the other two results.

Replay, 6th November:

no.13 seed: Earth   vs.   no. 29 seed: Oberon 1

Well, that's it.  A minor outer-planet moon has out-hit the planet of humanity.  Earth's manager resigns.  A search now begins for another eminent Jasoomian to fill the role... Tarzan announces  he's not interested.

second round, 6-10 november:

no.1 seed: Mercury  29   vs.    no.9 seed: The Moon 12

no.5 seed: Jupiter  15   vs.    no. 29 seed: Oberon 3

no.3 seed: Saturn 18   vs.    no.11 seed: Uranus 9

no.7 seed: Callisto 9    vs.    no.15 seed: Pluto 9

no.2 seed: Venus 27   vs.    no.10 seed: The Asteroids 10

no.6 seed: Pellucidar 18   vs.    no.14 seed: Triton 16

no.4 seed: Pallas 15   vs.    no.12 seed: Iapetus 11

no.24 seed: Cerberus 3   vs.    no.32 seed: Ganymede 4 

Callisto vs Pluto must replay.

The Ganymedeans were elated at having got through to the third round, after being knocked out in the first round the past two months.  However, they now face the redoubtable asteroid, Pallas.  The Ganymedean manager, P'Holkuun, has lodged a complaint with the Hits Committee, on the grounds that it's not fair, the Palladians having the popular tale Peril on Pallas inflating their results.  But it's unlikely that the Committee will uphold the complaint.  After all, the Ganymedeans are welcome to post tales of their own world.

Replay, 11th November:

no.7 seed: Callisto 3    vs.    no.15 seed: Pluto 1

quarter-finals, 11-15 november:

no.1 seed: Mercury  28   vs.    no.5 seed: Jupiter 21 

no.3 seed: Saturn  25    vs.    no.7 seed: Callisto 10

no.2 seed: Venus 15    vs.    no.6 seed: Pellucidar 16 

no.4 seed: Pallas 21    vs.    no.32 seed: Ganymede 3   

Pundits all across the System agreed that the Palladians were almost certain to overwhelm the Ganymedeans - and so they did.  But the other Jovian moon in the quarter-finals, Callisto, was considered to have some chance against the Saturnians.  However, Saturn's victory, as it turned out, was crushing.

For Mercury vs Jupiter and Venus vs Pellucidar the betting was more even, with the Mercurians in high hopes to avenge their defeat in the September final.  They did so in style, though the Jovians put up a good fight.

Venus was narrowly beaten in an epic tussle with Pellucidar and so, for the first time, has failed to reach the semi-finals.

semi-finals, 16-20 November 2016:

no.1 seed: Mercury  31   vs.   no.3 seed: Saturn  21  

no.6 seed: Pellucidar  20   vs.   no.4 seed: Pallas  13

Pelludicar reached the semi-finals once before, in September, where it was beaten by Mercury.  This time it was thought to have a better chance, despite Pallas being a formidably interesting planetoid.  And the pundits here were right: the Pellucidarians won, to reach their first final.

This semi-final round was the first in which only two of the contending teams represented major planets.  And for the first time, it had become certain that there would be a final between a team which represents a major planet and one which does not.

That major planet turned out to be Mercury.  The Saturnians scored highly but were nevertheless pulverised by the Mercurians, whose score of 31 was the highest ever known in the history of the tournament so far.

Now the Mercurians became the hot favourites (get it - "hot"!) to beat the Pellucidarians in the final.  But whoever was to win, it was now certain that the November victor - for the first time in the history of the competition - would be a team from the Inner Solar System.

the final, 21-25 november:

no.1 seed: Mercury  13   vs.   no.6 seed: Pellucidar  7  

So the winner of the November 2016 Interplanetary Knock-Out is

Mercury

Wild scenes of celebration lit up the Twilight Belt when the results came in.  The Mercurian-by-adoption, Eric John Stark, lifted the trophy in company with Mnuvax of Vutu.  Shannach could not attend because he had been blown up, but siliconites from Pezerjink strode in slow motion past the stand...

This was the first occasion on which the trophy had gone to a team from the inner solar system.

And the first occasion on which it had gone to the favourite - that is, to the number one seed.


october 2016

(The teams are the same for September except for 3 changes: [1] there is now a Pallas team, [2] the Rings of Saturn team is merged with the Saturn team; and [3] to counterbalance that addition to the Saturnian team, the Jovian team now includes the Great Red Spot page hits.)

first round, 1-5 october:

no.1 seed: Jupiter  17   vs.   no. 17 seed: Ceres  4  

no.9 seed: The Asteroids  vs.  no.25 seed: Umbriel  7 

no.5 seed: Mars  9   vs.  no. 21 seed: Europa  4 

no.13 seed: Neptune  5   vs.  no.29 seed: Io  4  

no.3 seed: Venus   10   vs.  no.19 seed:  Triton  6  

no.11 seed: The Moon  8   vs.  no.27 seed: Comets  5  

no.7 seed: Pellucidar  7   vs.  no.23 seed: Ganymede  1  

no.15 seed: Vulcan  3   vs.  no.31 seed: Leda  2  

no.2 seed: Mercury  14   vs.  no.18 seed: Pluto  8

no.10 seed: Earth  6   vs.  no.26 seed: Cerberus  5 

no.6 seed: Iapetus  9   vs.  no.22 seed: The Reefs of Space  5  

no.14 seed: Uranus  13  vs.  no.30 seed: Ariel  4 

no.4 seed: Pallas  3   vs.  no.20 seed: Titan  1  

no.12 seed: The Sun  4  vs.  no.28 seed: Oberon  3  

no.8 seed: Saturn  13   vs.  no.24 seed: Styx  7 

no.16 seed: Callisto  vs.  no.32 seed: Titania  7 

Callisto vs Titania had to go to extra time.

Extra time, 6th October:

no.16 seed: Callisto  vs.  no.32 seed: Titania  0 

- so the "Thanatorians" go through to the next round.

Only one upset in this first round: little Umbriel managed to beat the Asteroid Belt.  (Uranian moons do seem generally to punch above their weight, though Titania at last went down before Callisto.)

A couple of almost-upsets: Oberon nearly matched the Sun (those Uranian moons again!); Cerberus almost matched the Zones Cup king planet, Earth.

second round, 6-10 october:

no.1 seed: Jupiter  14   vs.  no.25 seed: Umbriel   3  

no.5 seed:  Mars  13   vs.  no.13 seed: Neptune  2  

no.3 seed: Venus  10   vs.  no.11 seed: The Moon   4   

no.7 seed: Pellucidar  3   vs.  no.15 seed: Vulcan  4

no.2 seed: Mercury  4   vs.  no.10 seed: Earth  2  

no.6 seed: Iapetus  5  vs.  no.14 seed: Uranus  5    

no.4 seed: Pallas  3   vs.  no.12 seed: The Sun  1   

no.8 seed: Saturn  11   vs.  no.16 seed: Callisto  8

Iapetus vs Uranus had to go to extra time.

11th October, extra time played:

no.6 seed: Iapetus  3  vs.  no.14 seed: Uranus  1    

The seeding committee were shocked at Vulcan's victory over last month's semi-finalists Pellucidar.  "We Vulcanians are hot stuff," commented their chief, "and hope to give the Venusians a run for their money."  However, the Venusian chief, Taman, said that Vulcan will have exhausted its supply of luck in beating the Pellucidarians, who are usually much the stronger team, with muscles toned by constant fighting against thipdars, mahars, Korsars, etc.

The Jupiter-Mars "grudge match" in the next round will involve high expenditure on security, as red Barsoomian fans are likely to clash with the Morgors of Sassoom.  The reigning champions have promised to show due courtesy to lesser breeds.  "We Jovians must show we are above arrogance," said their chief in a recent interview.  "After all, if a calot barks at one, does one have to bark back?"

quarter-finals, 11-15 october:

Jupiter, Mars, Venus and Mercury had likewise reached the quarter-finals the previous month.  Vulcan, Iapetus, Pallas and Saturn, in reaching these October quarter-finals, did better than they had done in September.

no.1 seed:  Jupiter  9    vs.  no.5 seed:  Mars  8   

no.3 seed:  Venus  14   vs.  no.15 seed:  Vulcan  6

no.2 seed:  Mercury   13   vs.  no.6 seed:  Iapetus  11

no.4 seed:  Pallas   5    vs.   no.8 seed:  Saturn  12 

The Mars team went into the match very much as the under-calots, and were quite pleased to lose by only one point.

semi-finals, 16-20 october:

no.1 seed:  Jupiter  10  vs.   no.3 seed:  Venus  18  

no.2 seed:  Mercury  19  vs.   no.8 seed:  Saturn   25

All four teams in the semi-final line-up were major planets - unlike last month.

The Jupiter-Venus match was a reprise of last month's line-up.  On that occasion, Venus was expected to win.  This time the odds were being laid the other way - the Jovians (the reigning champions) were the favourites.  But just like last month, the favourites lost.

A bitter upset was Saturn's win.  Saturnians were enjoying a vogue, but pundits still expected the Mercurians to thrash them. 

Now, like last month, we shall have an "inner versus outer planet" final.

the final, 21-25 october 2016:

no.3 seed:  Venus  9   vs.  no.8 seed:  Saturn  10

So the winner of the October 2016 Interplanetary Knock-Out is

Saturn

Another cliff-hanging final, though at least it didn't have to go to extra time as it did last month.

Blue-skinned Khol Kor accepted the trophy on behalf of the Saturnian team, while his more nebular compatriots hovered overhead.  At the start of the competition, no one had expected the Ringed Planet to win, but now the pundits were hastening to explain (in retrospect) the rationale of the victory.  A great pressure of popularity had built up, a demand to fathom the mystery of the huge, beautiful, comparatively neglected world.

september 2016

Thirty-two teams took part in the competition, so that there were 5 knock-out rounds.

The teams, in alphabetical order, were:

Ariel, Asteroids, Callisto, Cerberus, Ceres, Comets, Earth, Europa, Ganymede, Iapetus, Io, Jupiter, Leda, Mars, Mercury, Moon, Neptune, Oberon, Pellucidar, Pluto, Reefs of Space, Rings of Saturn, Saturn, Styx, Sun, Titan, Titania, Triton, Umbriel, Uranus, Venus, Vulcan.

(The Rings of Saturn team was formed from the vagabonds and riff-raff prospecting thereabouts.)

(Ceres won separate representation from the Asteroids, as the Cereans look down their probosces upon those smaller minor planets who have not achieved gravitational rounding.)

(Pellucidar and Earth were granted separate teams by the Fédération Interplanetaire de Jeux de Frappes, as the teams are too separated geographically to be able to train as a unit.)

For the first competition, September 2016, the teams were seeded in accordance with their ability to "hit" the attention of the judges during August 2016. 

Note: the inhabitants of Pallas have lodged a complaint concerning the omission of their team.  The FIJF will be considering their case for the October competition.  The Palladians say they should go in instead of Vulcan, because Vulcan does not exist whereas Pallas does.  The Vulcanians in turn accuse the Palladians of realism, and insist that non-existent worlds and their non-existent populations have just as much right as existent ones to take part in HI.  According to an FIJF spokesbeing: "There is no question of realism - the Vulcanians can rest assured that their place is secure.  However we are looking at the status of the Rings of Saturn team... they may have to combine with their parent planet in future competitions, thus leaving a space for Pallas."  This statement has elicited a warning from the Jovian delegation: "If the Saturnians are allowed to include their Ring players, we must be allowed to include the hits gained by our special Red Spot team."  And so it goes on.  The Committee are working round the clock to achieve a consensus.

First round (1-5 September) results - winners underlined, scores in red:

no.1 seed: Mercury 14  vs.   no. 17 seed: The Reefs of Space 9

no.9 seed: Neptune 3  vs.  no.25 seed: Oberon 4

no.5 seed: Mars 17  vs.  no. 21 seed: Rings of Saturn 1

no.13 seed: The Sun 7  vs.  no.29 seed: Leda 4

no.3 seed: Pellucidar 13  vs.  no.19 seed:  Iapetus 11

no.11 seed: Uranus 10   vs.  no.27 seed: Ganymede 5

no.7 seed: The Asteroids 13  vs.  no.23 seed: Comets 3

no.15 seed: Umbriel 2  vs.  no.31 seed: Europa 5

no.2 seed: Venus 23  vs.  no.18 seed: Pluto 10

no.10 seed: Saturn 7  vs.  no.26 seed: Ariel 4

no.6 seed: The Moon 8  vs.  no.22 seed: Styx 3

no.14 seed: Triton 3  vs.  no.30 seed: Io 4

no.4 seed: Jupiter 14  vs.  no.20 seed: Cerberus 3

no.12 seed: Vulcan 6   vs.  no.28 seed: Titania 2

no.8 seed: Earth 12  vs.  no.24 seed: Callisto 4

no.16 seed: Titan 6  vs.  no.32 seed: Ceres 13

The seeding seems to have worked out appropriately for the most part.  The two main upsets are, Oberon's victory over mighty Neptune, and Ceres' over Titan - we saw a mad waving of tentacles in the Cerean stadium as the home team triumphed over the frigid Titanics.

Second round (6-10 September) results - winners underlined, scores in red:

no.1 seed: Mercury 11  vs.   no.25 seed: Oberon 7

no.5 seed: Mars 8  vs.   no.13 seed: The Sun 6

no.3 seed: Pellucidar 8  vs.   no.11 seed: Uranus 7

no.7 seed: The Asteroids 8  vs.   no.31 seed: Europa 3

no.2 seed: Venus 7  vs.   no.10 seed: Saturn 4

no.6 seed: The Moon 4  vs.   no.30 seed: Io 3 

no.4 seed: Jupiter 12  vs.   no.12 seed: Vulcan 4

no.8 seed: Earth vs.   no.32 seed: Ceres 8

The second round brought one upset - Ceres' victory over mighty Earth.  The manager of the Earth team promptly resigned.  The Cereans' reputation as giant-killers made some oxygen-breathers wonder if they might have a chance against the Jovians in the quarter-finals, though methane-breathers were rooting for Jupiter.

The closest match was expected to be that between Pellucidar and The Asteroids.  Separately their scores were exactly level in the competition so far.

Quarter-final (11-15 September) results - winners underlined, scores in red:

no.1 seed Mercury 17  vs.   no.5 seed Mars 8

no.3 seed Pellucidar 12  vs.   no.7 seed The Asteroids 8

no.2 seed Venus 16  vs.   no.6 seed The Moon 7

no.4 seed Jupiter 9  vs.   no.32 seed Ceres 5

No surprises in the quarter-finals.  Methane-breathers and Outer Solar System supporters now rested all their hopes on Jupiter.  Terrans, naturally, were supporting Pellucidar.  However, the way the two inner planets were playing, it looked like a "hot-world final" between them was in the offing.

However, it was not to be.

Semi-final (16-20 September) results - winners underlined, scores in red:

no.1 seed  Mercury  17  vs.   no.3 seed  Pellucidar  12

no 2 seed  Venus  18  vs.   no. 4 seed  Jupiter  21

So the seeding committee didn't get it completely right after all: Jupiter upset the pundits in a late surge that overtopped the Venusians.

The final (21-25 September) resulted in the following result between two powerful planets at the top of their form:

no.1 seed Mercury   25   vs.    no. 4 seed Jupiter   25

A tie!  Jupiter's enormous size and variety opposed to Mercury's vibrant Twilight Belt mystery and Sunside abundance of solar energy resulted in the scores matching each other! 

Rather than share the trophy, the teams agreed to play on into extra time. 

Results from extra time played 26th September 2016:

no.1 seed Mercury   1   vs.    no. 4 seed Jupiter   4

So the winner of the September 2016 Interplanetary Knock-Out is

Jupiter

Curt Newton alias Captain Future on behalf of FIJF presented the trophy to Vorion, head of the Jovian team, who took it in his skeletal hands and held it aloft.  Security was tight and there was no trouble, though outside the stadium some Methane Power activists were protesting at the alleged over-representation of humanoids on the giant planet's team...