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Jon Jacob

Jon JacobJon Jacob of Cap and Tun and Westminster died in hospital during the night of 23 March 2020, of complications caused by COVID-19. He was 68.

Jon was one of the most well-liked members of the QLL community. As several of his team-mates have put it, he was both an interesting man and one interested in others. He was softly-spoken but used his intelligence and erudition to ground a wise approach to the world, and when he spoke it was always to make a point worth making. He was kind and would always go out of his way to help others - a number of QLL players have spoken of making his acquaintance early in their QLL careers, often in SFL matches, and of how he helped them feel at ease. Spending most Tuesdays playing QLL means it's important to get on well with team-mates and everyone who knew Jon spoke about what lovely company he was - a thoroughly good egg. In recent years he had regularly attended the annual Greek Geek Week in Rhodes, with a range of quizzers from around the UK, where his affable company was greatly welcomed.

Jon's strengths were very much at the highbrow end of the spectrum - he was universally regarded as one of the very best classical music specialists and was particularly in his element in buzzer quizzes, often answering correctly after barely a line. He was however always modest about his brilliance. He was strong on history, and the arts in general, being an obviously voracious reader, and also had a strong depth of knowledge about his favourite sports.

Jon realised he had a gift for quizzing after doing well in quizzes organised by his children's school and soon joined the Chiltern Quiz League (CQL). He co-founded the Hen and Chickens “B” team based in the village of Botley near his home town of Chesham, and played for that team for 30 years. Despite being only a B team (!) his side won nine CQL league titles in eleven seasons from 2001, largely because of Jon’s brilliance, and Jon won the league’s individual title in 2015. He also served as a committee member helping the CQL become bigger and more organised. He played on the national circuit from its foundation in the early 2000s. For the rest of his quizzing career he continued to combine QLL with CQL duties on Tuesday nights, playing in one or the other most Tuesdays.

After a few appearances for the now-defunct Wharfside team in 2009-10, Jon's QLL career began in earnest in 2010 with Sons Arising, for whom he played on an occasional basis when his CQL commitments allowed. He rapidly developed a reputation as one of the finest players outside the QLL top flight, culminating in a superb 2012-13 season, when he averaged an incredible 6.60 in his five matches played. That sort of form had unsurprisingly led to him being snapped up by Westminster for the President's Cup on that team's foundation in 2011 (with 70 games, only Paul Sinha has played more for Westminster than Jon did). He also represented the CQL in the Don Bissett trophy.

It was perhaps inevitable that Division 1 sides would come calling for Jon and in 2015 he decided to commit to QLL "full-time", and joined Pericardium where he spent three seasons as a valued team member, immediately proving at home at the highest level of QLL where his knowledge combined with his tactical nous fitted right in. A highlight during this period was his run to the final of BoL 2 in 2017, where he finished as runner-up.

In 2018 he moved on from Pericardium to Cap and Tun, newly arrived in Division 2, where he played regularly for the final two seasons of his QLL career. He combined playing on Tuesdays for Cap and Tun with representing Pericardium in buzzer quizzes and playing for Peri offshoot Memory Omega in the QLL buzzer quiz, and had competed in every QLL SFL since 2011. He was a greatly valued team member in all these contexts, and quizzed at the very highest level until the end. After a stunning 16(7) in a very tough President’s Cup seat in October 2019, he illustrated his humility amid enthusiastic praise from both sides, saying embarrassedly that it was just that “the questions suited me”..

A tireless quizzer, Jon combined his CQL and QLL commitments with increasingly regular attendance at QUEST events (often with other QLLers at the venue in Hertford), and also competed regularly in Squizzed events and AQUILA among many other events.

After a peripatetic childhood that involved a spell in Kolkata, and schooling at Clifton College, Jon studied law at the University of Birmingham before going into practice as a solicitor specialising in residential and commercial property, in which capacity he was still working (for Bower Cotton Hamilton in the City) until becoming unwell shortly before his death. He was a devoted father and grandfather, and leaves three daughters and two grandchildren, with another expected shortly.

QLL sends its deepest condolences to Jon's family and friends. He will be very greatly missed.

David Stainer

March 2020

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