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The Amazing Race 5: Thinking Smart in Episode 10by Jeffrey Clinard -- 09/13/04
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At this point in the race, teams need to carefully consider the endgame. Usually this means considering when to use a fast forward (if it hadn't already been used), but this time the strategic option is the ability to Yield another team. Chip and Kim came close to using it in this leg, and if they had, it would have been the right time to use it. At this point, there are three legs left in the race - and all four teams have the option to use Yield power.
The next leg of the race will almost certainly be an elimination leg, and the one right after it a non-elimination leg (putting three teams in a race at the end for a two-hour season finale). Traditionally, the Fast Forward disappears after this leg, so there may be some reason to think that the Yield option will only come into play in the upcoming leg, and perhaps the one after it. I rather doubt Yield power will be available in the final leg. There are no guarantees, but that's my best guess. Since all four teams have Yield power, this leg of the race is probably the time to use it. Indeed, the first three teams to come across it should use it since this is the final chance to deliver a knockout blow. The strategy should be simple - Yield the best team that is behind them, unless you see another team on your tail, in which case it's time to Yield them.
What I don't know is the rules for Yield power, except that it is only on certain legs of the race, and teams can only use the option once. However, can multiple teams use it on any given leg? Can a team being Yielded use it while they wait out the hourglass? Can a team be ganged up on and be hit with multiple Yields? Hopefully the racing teams will know the answers, and can then plot out how to use it.
Suppose all of the answers are Yes. The first team to the Yield should use it on the best team behind them. This puts the first team under the Yield in a problematic situation. Hitting the next the next team they see with a Yield would only complicate the situation, because that team should hit them back with another Yield. If yet another team came by, they would be best served by hitting the strongest of the two Yielded teams with their own Yield - hopefully the knockout punch for that team. However, if the team declines to Yield the team in the first place, they might get hit with another Yield anyway, without retaliation. Yield power gets sticky when lots of teams have it at the end.
Of course, if some of the answers are no, teams have to decide how to proceed with that strategy. If a team can't be double-Yielded, it makes sense to hit any trailing team. If a team can't Yield until the hourglass runs out, they need to use it on any teams behind them once released.
The Detour option had a good choice - Clean, and a bad choice - Dirty. Obviously, Clean was the faster of the two options. Dirty was somewhat of a double trap. Often something like that offers a faster completion to a task (something dirty / smelly / nasty) than one that lets teams stay clean. In this case, the option was bad on both fronts - both longer and nastier. The Roadblock was pretty easy for either partner, and did nothing to affect the standings.
Colin and Christie. I'm going to sound like a broken record, but there is very little this team is doing wrong. Many weeks ago I wrote this team was screaming "threat". Obviously, there is no denying that they are the favorite to win the whole race. This team consistently makes good decisions, and when they do make a mistake, they recover quickly. Indeed, their skill is their biggest weakness right now - every other team should be eyeballing them as the #1 Yield target.1 2 Next-->
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