Sunday, February 20, 2005

Quiz-o-Mania 2005 (VIT)


1st: Gaurav Sabnis & Sarika Chuni
2nd: (jointly) Anand Sivashankar & Vibhendu Tiwari, B.V.Harishkumar & J. Ramanand
Other finalists: Shivaji & Vivek, Kunal Sawardekar & Meghashyam Shirodkar, Anupam Akolkar & Anand Ayyadurai

Quiz setters & hosts

Salil Bijur, Ganesh Hegde, Siddharth Dani & Kunal Thakar


Most good quizzes in Pune over the last few years have been extremely close races, and VIT's Quiz-o-mania was no different. Continuing from where they left off last year, the organisers put up an entertaining display. The elims (of 42 questions with the now obligatory DNA question wrapping it up) was well-crafted, especially in contrast to last year. Then many of the questions were unnecessarily longwinded, but this time they were to the point and many of them workable. The "Lagaan/Bhuvan Shome" question was particularly appreciated and we enjoyed unravelling the Pink Floyd one.

There was a most unusual interlude during the break - this must definitely be the first quiz ever to feature a special clip from a Mithun starrer "Gunda" where he proceeded to mow down an army of auto rickshaws (that's right, autos) with a bazooka. Followed by playing catch with a monkey using a baby instead of a ball.

Finalists were announced, lunch coupons distributed to them and the quiz began soon after lunch. Harish & I called ourselves the "World Karmic Congress" in attempting to lampoon the "V-is-for-Vishwakarma" bit and mock-threatened to sue the college for a pre-dated inspiration. Which in retrospect turned out to be a bad idea, for we would not score until the 22nd question, leading us to question whether to add an extra "I" or rename the name to "Karmic Congress of the World" and thus starting it with a "K" to in a bid to improve our karma. There was also a distinct Seinfeld angle, with "Yada Yada Yada" and "The Moops" being two other names ("The Moops" episode can tell you about the pitfalls of trivia quizzing).

Vibhendu & Anand were off to a flying start gobbling up all the India & Hindi F-M questions, while Sarika and Gaurav made sure they capitalised on their directs. BJMC, Kunal & Meghashyam & the VIT team made quiet starts, but in comparison Harish & I had a mute start and blank faces to accompany our score. A mix of bad luck in getting questions we had no clue about and not answering questions better than others kept us that way till a quarter of the quiz was over. This was a 80 question quiz, so we hoped we had the time to pull a comeback.

Comeback we did, but just pulled up short at the end. Anand-Vibhendu fell off in the 2nd half as the questions veered to the Eng F&M and tech sides. With round reversals, we were doing better as were BJMC. In the end, BJMC tied with Kunal & Meghashyam, and we tied with Anand-Vibhendu. But Gaurav & Sarika had a little extra to finish 10 points ahead, the smallest margin, with the "Round the World in 80 days" answer.

The turnout was considerably lower than last time for which a combination of Sunday timings, some quizzers being out of town and improbably a girls cricket competition outside can be blamed for.


* Too long: Not everyone likes 80 questions, especially audiences. The trend of late has been to have 40 to 50 questions in the final, so people aren't that patient these days. Personally, I didn't mind it only because it kept us in the hunt!

* Distribution of qns: Both halves were skewed in terms of question themes. So we had funny sequences of scoring. Could have been spread out better

* Good framing of questions, clean organisation, no hiccups in the presentations.

* A/V qns: Was there a conscious effort to avoid lots of connects and even audio/visual qns? Could have been a little more of it.

* There was some confusion over awarding half points, and what was expected of the answer in some cases.

Overall, an enjoyable experience and worth the distance.

Last year's results


Ramanand said...

BVHK's comments:
First and foremost - I didn't think any of the 126 (84+42) questions
which were served was 'lifted' from any source - stupendous job. Just
awesome !!!

Some scope for improvement though -
1. The no. of questions - it was really long. The no. of questions
meant that we had an opportunity to make a comeback, but it was long
by usual standards. But I wouldn't recommend you to cut it short just
because everyone else has 40-60 questions. If you guys want to make
this a USP for the quiz - great. You ought to have one quiz which is
like the Australian Open/ French open - which should be a game of
attrition rather than shoot-outs. Only danger is that you will have to
ensure that the quality of questions is maintained throughout and will
take more effort. personally, I would like to have such a quiz which
would be different from the run-of-the-mill formats.
2. The quiz was a 'seamless' one but the questions were bunched up
according to speciality. I guess it was because the questions were
blocked according to the guy who had set them - this meant that the
first half was India heavy ( Salil - most of the questions in the
first half were yours ??). This resulted in the skewed performance of
Anand and Vibhendu where they sped away to an Afridiesque opening and
then almost ground to a halt. Sorting of the questions to nullify such
tilt to a subject would have resulted n better balance.
3. There were too many questions which were workable - had two or
three guesses.So, people could take shots at the question and at
worst, the third team would have got it right. Such questions are
better for elims - not for the main quiz.
4. Half answers (in continuation of the above point ) - There were too
many (many more than usual/ for my comfort) questions which were
answered incompletely and scoring for these half answers was not done
The above two things could have happened/been noticed just because of
the sheer volume of questions. This might have happened in the same
proportion as in other quizzes, but just because you have 84 questions
- they are being noticed. That's the reason why I had pointed out
earlier that setting 84 questions is a pain staking effort - to
maintain quality throughout the quiz.
But then, I am talking about my favourite quiz right now and I want
everything to be perfect :)
It is easier for you to have such a quiz because you have a decent
number of people contributing.
But, please, please, make sure that the tradition continues. It should
not be so that two years down the line, it is again the same set of
people who are doing the quiz.
Anyways, till then bask in the glory - good job done and brace up for
competition - I hear Chakravyuh - atleast Abhimanyu and BCJ are going
back to more reliable sources of quality stuff.

Kunal said...

- Half Answers: I think the guys did a good job of eliminating the forward biasing that usually results from a QM saying, "I'll come back to you if I don't get a better answer" or "I'll give you 5 points for that". Salil especially was very sucessful in keeping a poker face throughout his section of the quiz.

- The length of the quiz was amazing, though I just wish it had been a little bit longer (that might have given us a chance.

- The grouping of the questions by setter is something that really ought to be looked into.

- I was right about the "Cambridge Spy ring" :-).

Overall, a great effort. Quiz-o-mania '05 will definitely be tough act to follow. Good work, guys!

Kunal said...

Do you need to manually add line breaks here as well?

Gaurav said...

My two cents worth -

I liked the fact that the quiz was so long. It was fun! My friends from IIML who came from Bombay were especially happy at its length. Good show. There should be more such long quizzes.
The questions were great, and yes, specifically, the quizmastering was great. No clues given halfway, no forward biasing, as Kunal said, and good enunciation.

A bit of constructive criticism now.

What really bugged me, and I expressed it on stage too, was the goof-ups in scoring. And the fact that they happened at every stage. The teams had to corroborate the score with the scorers. Now you were lucky that all the teams were in synch in score-keeping. But imagine if there had been a disagreement among the leading teams....or if one of the teams was AFMC.... it would have totally soured the taste of such a great quiz. So this is a suggestion to all quiz organisers. Give the scorekeeping to one guy throughout the quiz, and make sure the guy is very methodical. There is always the option of adding the score on screen after every question, or maintaining a board.

Anonymous said...

As the "blues" in the USA will be happy to tell you, democracy matters and thus I must speak.
( on behalf of the momentarily-silenced Vibhendu !)

F & f, thanks for the " quota" .

I must profess that this whole system of having questions put up on the projector is fraught with danger--this is the single biggest change for me since I gave up --I hate to read ( ???) and it does become an exercise in reading comprehension, rather than connecting, dissecting etc etc.Again, QoM can't be blamed .

V & I analysed the finals questions in fading light on the way home and found that if you perform basic statistics on the q's, hit rate, difficulty,grading etc--our opinion is Meghashyam & Kunal should have won.

Most importantly, I have deviously swindled V of his share !!:)

anand sivashankar

Gaurav said...

Another minor crib is that a lot of the questions in the elims were finals-worthy, and vice versa. Especially the Lagaan-Bhuvanshome question deserved to be in the finals. An example of a question in the finals that was elims-worthy is the one with Calvinball. Though I am shocked that 3 teams passed it!!!

Gaurav said...

Agree with Anand - The questions answered by Meghashyam and Kunal were really top class.

However I won't complain about the eventual result. ;)

Kunal said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Salil said...

Thank you, Thank you!
(Also thanks to wikipedia, wordiq, google...)

A brief story of the quiz and some counter-comments:

The length of the quiz first came about after we casually decided to make a 'marathon' quiz. we were quite intrigued by such marathons like the night long Saarang quiz in IITM. The only thing necessary for this I believe is making participants and the audience comfortable by having a relaxed atmosphere. I hope we managed that.

All the questions were collected over a period of about a month, and the actual elims-finals sorting done just few days before. Juggling with the management work/logistics (a reason for this could be that we lost all our management/logistics folks to their own dept. events in the same week), acads/assignments, other quizzes elsewhere , we were left with just a day to compile the presentation over the night. In fact, the elims were already printed before we had finished collecting questions for finals.
Major screw-up: the questions werent shuffled.
for eg. Most of the questions in the start - of elims & finals - were mine. But then again I believe there was a decent mix of questions. I dont believe it majorly affected scoring. The Moops and Mumbai Matinee were leading throughout. World Karmic Congress suddenly shot up probably because of the round reversal. (I tried really hard to keep a poker face while asking them their Bharat Ratna direct qn.)

I'm happy no one commented about the screw-ups during the elims, the delay and the visuals problem.

The only reason for the less no. of AVs was because we had better dry questions. After a quiz held a few days back where they plenty of these (including the pic connect/fill-in-blank 'is it a bird, is it a plane, no it is _______') there was no longer a conscious attempt to make lateral thinking oriented picture connects.

A few errors committed on our part were those regarding the awarding of half points. But then they only cause more disputes as we saw last time. So for some questions we stressed points only for complete connect & funda.

There were 2 people doing scoring for confirmation, a mistake as it created some confusion. Scores were updated instantly after halftime.

Thanks you all, again.

Ramanand said...

BTW, Harish & I spotted a heavy bias of History channel questions - organisers please tell us if this not true :-)

Anand: given that qn lengths are usually large in this style, it is better to have it on a screen rather than to ask the QM to repeat - this was a major crib at the Mensa quizzes earlier. Also, you still owe us Rs 1750/- ;-)

Kunal: This is the 1st time I'm using this new blogger commenting, it seems u need to provide the line brks.

Salil & other VITians: your plethora of quizzes at VIT is diluting your USP. I think you should have a different identity for some of them - such as one colleges-only and no mixed teams to make it a college trophy of the year etc.

Nikhil K said...

Salil,Dani, kunalT & ganesh:Kudos to you,the organizers. A lot of work went on behind the scenes. When Dani decides to forsake his movies ,it is an indicator that something is cooking.
Kunal S: Loved your 'forward biasing' funda. Maybe, your forte is Electronics Engineering . Not economics.

Ramanand said...

Sa-Ku-Ga-Si: another crib - can you do something about the seating on stage? We're having our backs to the audience and also we can't see most of the other teams. Any solutions to this?

Salil said...

The stage is too small...
We have tried many adjustments before. If there is a presentation, thats the only feasible arrangement. Or else the teams could be seated away from the stage.

regarding the history channel, true, many were taken from there. but most were from other sources!

Samrat said...

From all the stuff about the Quiz. Looks like it was really great. Congrats VIT team. Missed being a part of it .