Birmingham Open & FOCAL Finals 2018

Two tournaments, one showstopping end-of-year Finals Day…


Date: Saturday 24th November 2018
Venue: The Plough & Harrow (Best Western), 135 Hagley Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham B16 8LS
click here for the hotel’s website.
Admission: £10 (preferably by PayPal, please; other means on request).
Doors open: 10am, for 11am start
Presented by: Jeff Clayton and Ben Wilson
Games to be played: 7, plus the FOCAL Grand Final
Finishes by: 5:45pm

For the third year running, FOCAL will host its Finals Day tournament in central Birmingham.

We will be in The Calthorpe Suite at The Plough & Harrow (Best Western) on Hagley Road, just a short distance from the city centre (click here for walking directions from New Street station).

thumbnail_CalthorpePicture supplied by The Plough & Harrow.

Our Top Eight from 2018 will battle it out to see who takes the FOCAL Champion title, and everyone else is welcome to sign up for our Birmingham Open tournament!

Doors open at 10am with free tea & coffee on arrival, for an 11am start, to play seven 9-round games of Countdown.

The Top Eight will play each other once over the course of the day, and after their seven games, the two players with the highest wins and points totals will go forward to the showpiece Grand Final, to play one more game which will decide who is the FOCAL Champion.


For everybody else, fixtures for the first four draws will be random, and after that will use a Swiss pairings system to match you with people on similar results.

This event uses a classroom-style format, with big screen graphics. This means everyone plays along to the same letters rounds, and everyone will get a turn at picking consonants and vowels for the room at some point.

focal rapidness

For the numbers games, you’ll get to pick which combination of large and small numbers you want, in turn in your pairs, from our specially designed five-line display.


For the conundrum, these will be revealed on the screen for everyone in much the same way as on the TV show. We will explain at the start of the day how each part of the contest runs, and give everyone a practice game consisting of a letters game, a numbers game and a conundrum just before the first match.

There will be a break for lunch after the second or third match, another short break during the afternoon and, if you don’t make the Grand Final, a chance to recharge your glass just before our showpiece gets underway.

How to book
The entry fee is just £10. To secure your place, send your entry fee to Jeff Clayton, FOCAL Chair, by PayPal or by cheque (address available on request).

Staying over?
Why not make a weekend of it! Also, since we’re running this event in late November rather than early-mid December this year, it offers up some cheaper room rates than during the Christmas party season. As such, room bookings are available online but FOCAL is not acting as an agent for the venue.

Any questions?
Please feel free to email

We look forward to seeing you in Birmingham in November!

Birmingham 2017 group photo