Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Amnesia 2006 - May Open Quiz - Report and Results

Amnesia 2006 - May Open Quiz

Date: 14 May, 2006
Set and Conducted: Niranjan Pedanekar

Quiz Final Results - 55 questions

1st: Shamanth Rao and Kunal Sawardekar (22)
2nd: B.V.Harishkumar & J. Ramanand (19)
3rd: Samrat Sengupta & Sudarshan Purohit (18)
4th: Anand Sivashankar & Vibhendu Tiwari (12)
Jt. 5th: Gaurav Sabnis & Sarika Chuni (7)
Jt. 5th: Rishi Iyengar & Rohan Morarka(7)

Quiz Elim Results

Cutoff: 18/35
1st: B.V.Harishkumar & J. Ramanand (23)
2nd: Samrat & Sudarshan (20.5)
3rd: Gaurav & Sarika(19)
4th: Kunal and Shamanth, Rishi & Rohan, Anand Sivashankar & Vibhendu Tiwari (all 18)


* Amnesia 2006 was Niranjan's 1st quiz in 5 years after the now-defunct series of Mensa quizzes which were part of local folklore. The usual Niranjan constructs of lateral connects, 10 feet deep entertainment and sci-tech questions, the long questions et al were back :-)
* There were a few questions that participants and audience found vague that the quiz creator later agreed with. But there were several compensating questions that were brilliantly set, IMO. A lot of new topics or refreshing takes on old topics were seen. The level of acceptance or dislike on some of the offbeat questions will be a subjective emotion - overall, I was very entranced by the questions (as usual :-))
* Also felt that the participants and even audience members responded well to the questions - some very good attempts, many successful, were heard. Personal favourites among questions were: (being careful about not giving them away for those who will read them later) the grey-blue boxes with red lines and a tree, the 4 geographical locations, mutation-self-selection-veracity, ali-gogh-reagan connect, 4 military guys connect etc.
* There were a few questions that were too easy, some that were good but repeated without the knowledge of the setter or were simply a little to "iffy" (pun intended ;-)). Most common criticism was the length of questions, though, I personally didn't have a problem except for about 10% of the questions.
* Response was a little disappointing, I thought. Though the good old Mensa flavour was revived by the presence of Niranjan's wife who however didn't pick up her traditional duties as a scorer this time.
* The competition was fierce, with the winners being decided only on the 2nd last question, until which team any of the top 3 could have picked up the top spot. Kunal and Shamanth have added another feather in their caps-which-now-looks-like-a-strange-bird. Since these series of quizzes are the only ones that (even) I allow myself to be a little immodest about, on behalf of the likes of George, Harish, Sujay and me, I'd like to welcome you to the club ;-)
* Finals Questions are unlikely to be available soon because the ppt is very large and some alternate form of dissemination will be required.

I think those who don't have a history of being Niranjan-quiz-philes should comment :-) (please point out omissions and errors in this post)


Sudarshan said...

Before AB Baby asks, I'd like to say on behalf of BCQC: These questions will be accessible only to people who personally ask either NP or JR for them. :)

Salil said...

I liked many questions *a lot* - such as the Jharkhand-mica-hobby-Communication, Gorakhnath-Bappa Rawal-boomerang, atmaram bhende.
Such questions make a quizsetter rethink his/her methods of framing questions. (I actually tried making some questions that night :-)).

But then there were some qns that were dead giveaways, some were too specialized and the connects were vague in a few.

However, it was one of the most different quizzes I've been to - extremely enjoyable even if we were in the audience.

Salil said...

Oh btw, I've taken the soft copies of the elims and finals (minus the audios) from Niranjan. So interested parties can buzz me (hoping its fine with NP :P)

Gaurav said...

K & S scored 18 in the elims, as did the last 2 you have mentioned. SS&S scored 20.5 and S and myself scored 19.

I found the cascading connects painful, not just because they were a bit stretched, but because each cascading connect actually had 2-3 decent questions in it which were spoilt by being thrown in it. Asked individually they would be great questions.

But I agree with you. 90% of the questions were amazing. They were of the "ahhhhh shoulda got it" variety. Very entertaining. And definitely the best elims ever.

One minor complaint. Niranjan was a much "nicer" quizmaster this time round, and hence not as entertaining as 5 years back. In those days, if there was a Shamanth on the stage, proceedings would have been positively ROTFL combined with Niranjan's comments.

Anonymous said...

Excellent elims.
Some of the connects were beautifully structured and equally well worked out by some teams. I loved the US Army generals question.
But I have the feeling the QM was so focused on those connects that he skimped on the dry questions, both in the framing and the selection.
Exmple of the former: the Comedy of Errors question, in which the correct answer was actually considered and eliminated because of the misleading framing. The answer turned out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. :)
Example of the latter: TE Lawrence. It was always going to go to the team that got it as a direct.
Cascading connects are a definite no-no, especially when they are based on keyword connects rather than factual connects. Case in point: "roof".
Imo, the subject balance was good, the structuring of the quiz not quite so.
Overall, it's wonderful to be back in open quizzing after a long drought, especially open quizzes of such high quality.


niranjan said...

Thanks for the kind words and feedback that people have parted with so far.

Am presenting my view about the questions in the finals this quiz that I thought were problematic. I tried taking a look at the questions myself a day before the quiz and had identified certain questions as being somewhat sub-optimal. Unfortunately, did not have time to brush them up. Have marked these with an asterisk. The rest are in retrospection.

*Q5. 'Father of Indian Ornithlogy': Subject matter too dated in quizzes.

*Q16. The visual cascading connect involving the street mapping software, a product by a company Ahead, making music without breaking one's neck and a Liz Taylor-Paul Newman movie: Should have been a radial connect with the last item dropped out.

*Q17. People who experimented with alcohol-mercury, in winters etc: Should not have been a connect. Maybe should have given only one of the guys with relevant matter for workability.

Q18. A cascading connect with King Tubby, a Hindi audio clue, a four line Hindi poem, an audio clue with a poem by Saahir Ludhianvi and a description: Could have been two separate radial connects instead of one cascade.

Q22. Mc'Naghten incident, a photo and a movie poster: Looked like there was too much of information revealed. But I think Shamanth and Kunal knew enough all about the clues and they got it as a direct question. I don't think it was a very straightforward/standard question to answer. Including it because some thought that it was an easy question. Perhaps could have been a better framed question with only the texual part and no connect.

*Q25. Two lines of photos, some texual clues ("I don't mean to be rude, but..") with them and identification of X and Y: Perhaps the photos in the upper line were to obviously identified. Should have only given the text in the upper line.

Q29. An encyclopaedia article about Guerrilla warfare: Perhaps limited number of options, especially if one knew the background. Should have been framed in a different manner.

*Q33. Two people under a pole and some text: Perhaps was to obvious or oft-repeated question. Subject matter too dated in quizzes.

Q39. A description of a person interested in cotton and his photo: It seems this was covered in some other quiz. Understandably identifiable, because the photo of the person is probably one of the only ones available.

*Q49. A runner, a movie and a patent fact: It was ok, but subject matter too dated in quizzes. Also, one of the facts was not very authentic, only had an anecdotal value.

*Q50. Three pictures; a computer with a lego cover, two kids (to the delight of Shamanth ;)), a cycle and some stones. I thought it had decent underlying facts, but somehow failed to elicit a coherent answer from people. That makes me wonder whether the question was framed sub-optimally, or whether people appreciate such connects.

More comments are welcome.

Ganesh Hegde said...

Personally, my best non-qualifying performance, and definitely, one of the best elims i have seen in a long time.
Actually, there is only so far that one can get by guessing.
at the end we were guessing so much that we double-guessed a couple of correct answers and changed them.
Finals were a little tedious to sit through, according to me.Too much crammed in a single question.
To sum it up, I enjoyed the Elims much more than the finals.

Salil said...

Ok, the finals ppt is about 18MB, so I will *not* mail it to the interested parties. Elims i'll put up on inquizitive.

Gaurav said...

Salil, put it up on rapidshare or something, and mail the link.

niranjan said...

Actually, I have PDFed the presentation and it comes to around 2 MB. Have sent it to Harish. Should I send it to anyone else?

Ganesh Hegde said...

Me, Me!!!
elims + presentation if possible.

Harish Kumar said...

I thought Q50 was a cracker of a question.The cascading connects - I thought were designed to ensure nobody cracks them. Especially the Chori Chori song- with a different song being given as a clue.
The awarding of some half/full marks was highly questionable - esp. with the If question. Also, with so many questions having "Connect.Identify X,Y,Z", there were always going to be lot of half answers.In spite of the Axe-lift-Anpadh questions IMO Niranjan's half marks have consistently been inconsistent.
The reason why some questions went unanswered or unappreciated is that it has been five years since we played on a proper Perth wicket. This time it was an uncovered one but the bad patches were very few.
And yeah - in the next quiz Niranjan does, my team name will be "We still think Niranjan is God".

Anonymous said...

Friend of mine was asking for it. Please do send the presentation over and the elims, if possible.



Anonymous said...

aargh. that should read:

Re: quiz and your responses. Perhaps this is just a "quizzing culture" difference, but I think a connect based on keywords is, with rare exceptions, quite pointless. Case in point: the runner and invention question.
We're not search engines, we're quizzers and quizzing is a knowledge-based sport. Connects, imo, should be fact based, not keyword based. But I do realise this is purely a subjective call, and setting workable connects using facts is more difficult by an order of magnitude.
I don't think there was anything wrong with q. 50-it was great- but junta were, perhaps, tired by then. I know I was. Nothing to do with the quiz, just the length of the day. Thus, I guessed the connect, but the mind wasn't functioning enough to make what was, in the end, a very gettable connect. Something similar probably happened with the in-form teams as well.

Anonymous said...

And excellent quiz at the end of it all. :) We Mumbaikars did enjoy it. Well worth driving down for. A very animated post mortem happened post-quiz.

niranjan said...

I appreciate all the feedback that people have given till now. So, please be assured that the following are not defensive counterpoints, but have been arrived at after sincere retrospection.

* The last 'keyword-based' or 'lexical' cascade was a slip of the mind. Just like the audience and the participants, the quizsetter also has a right to be tired, I guess ;)) We all know about the problems with lexical connects, given and the one that Rishi refers to was 1/4th of the one of the questions I choose to ignore the same ;))

* The quiz was kept at 11:30 PM, so that the out-of-station guys could participate. I think that made people more hungry and tired, rather than the length of the questions. I personally think that people need to listen to whatever is going on, if they want to answer questions. They better feel good about listening to all the crap that comes with the question. I don't think at least I can ever give instant gratification on that front. Workable facts need not be served on a platter. One has to mine the relevant stuff. If you have patience (which most of the people did have ;)), it helps.

* About the Dromio+Antipholus question. I think the question did have enough similarity with what we know about its Indian counterpart. It needs to differ from the original, so as to establish it as a valid question and provide a point of logical dilemma for the quizzer. Otherwise the question will be answered in the first go and people will call it a sitter ;))

* About elims being better than the finals. I think finals are always at a disadvantage, when it comes to judging them. Elims can feature questions which have limited number of possible answers. They can feature bad questions, lollipops, and people won't crib about them (even forgive and forget them), as long as they are fairly balanced in terms of subjects. Whereas in the finals, one has to judge each and every question critically, since points are at stake - under rather unfair conditions (which we talk about so often). I myself have been worrying about the 'quality' of finals in my and other people's quizzes, but have come to the conclusion that: we either 1. worry about getting the whole finals right consistently, or 2. find a fairer way of scoring and asking questions, or 3. not worry about the glitches in finals. One good thing about non-competitive quizzing (e.g. boat-club quizzes) is that each question is treated separately and we tend to ignore unfair/bad/repeated/obscure questions, (barring the likes of KAKU ;)). But with respect to competitive quizzing, maybe we just need to accept that given 6 teams and only 50-60 odd questions passing among them, the quality issue is ALWAYS going to crop up.

Ramanand said...

I think we should not completely blackball cascading and lexical connects - it may be harder to set these compared to radials (anyway, good connects are usually hard to set, and an overdose is usually accompanied by poor quality) because of issues such as how many links a cascaded connect should have and on the quality of lexicals, but just occasionally, it may be possible to do so. Cases in point for lexicals: Niranjan's old Reebok-Adidas-Nike connect, my Batman connect; the odd cascading connect from the 1st chakravyuuh come to mind. Of course, the kekule connect is a variation on the cascade, and I think Niranjan's kekule was quite good, probably the best of all the 3 made so far.

And niranjan, the elims were Mensa-standard, by which I mean that they were more representative of the finals than most other quizzes manage to pull - also the workability and length of qns was just about right, while the content was very enthralling. I would go as far as to say that personally, this has been as good as the best elims I remember having ever taken at a quiz - the 2001 mensa elims.

Ramanand said...

" and I think Niranjan's kekule was quite good, probably the best of all the 3 made so far." - apologies for including the word "probably" :-)

Anonymous said...

>the following are not defensive counterpoints

Nor were my remarks intended to be offensive points. ;)

>rather than the length of the questions.

I said "length of the day" not "length of the questions". Note:

>junta were, perhaps, tired by then. I know I was. Nothing to do with the quiz, just the length of the day.

My point was, I thought q. 50 was excellent and does not deserve to be on your list of "problematic questions". People probably missed it for reasons that had nothing to do with the quality of the question itself. I was being nice here. ;)

>given and the one that Rishi refers to was 1/4th of the one of the questions I choose to ignore the same ;))

Well, the issue was also with the invention and runner question- not just the apocrypha, but the need for a connect at all.

Finally, there's always the danger that, in evaluating a quiz, one is perceived as a fount of a relentless stream of negativity- in other words, a Mahacribber, as opposed to a Mahaquizzer. But this is an unfortunate feature of most evaluations- one tends to dwell on the issues more than the cool stuff, especially since junta have already commented on all of that.
In fact, the overall impression was extremely positive, and helped jog long-disused quizzing-related byways of the mind.

ramanand: agreed: the kekule connect was excellent.

brijesh said...

hey nira this is brijesh. mail ur questions at meshugah12@rediffmail.com. thanx.. am in jullunder now.

Anonymous said...

Hey Niranjan and the bcqc folks.
Long time .
Could you plz email me a copy of the elims and finals at