Date: 30 Sept, 2006
Venue: Fergusson College, Pune
Set by: Quest, FC Quiz Society
Conducted by: Ulka Athale, Veda Aggarwal
Quiz Final Results
1st: Aadisht Khanna and Rishi Iyengar: 105
Jt. 2nd: Kunal Sawardekar and J.Ramanand: 100
Jt. 2nd: Anand Sivashankar and Vibhendu Tiwari: 100
Jt. 4th: B.V.Harishkumar and Arka Bhattacharya: 60
Jt. 4th: Amit Varma and Leslie: 60
6th: Shivaji Marella and Ganesh Hegde: 50
(11 out of 60 questions went unanswered)
Quiz Elim Results (in descending order - IIRC)
Aadisht-Rishi, Shivaji-Ganesh, Ramanand-Kunal, Amit-Leslie, Harish-Arka, Anand-Vibhendu
Individual Quiz winner: Suvajit C.
* It's only fair to say that if you made a list of things that could go wrong at a quiz,
a lot of them could be ticked off as having happened at FC on Saturday. This post is
going to be a lot about it, I'm afraid. I'm not sure there was really much to salvage
from the day.
* Wasting so many people's time, especially if they are from out of town, is unacceptable. The elims started 90 minutes behind what was announced, and everything from then on was too late to make many of us fans of the organisers' sense of chronology. (This goes for some of the BC open quizzes too - everybody has a tendency to waltz in whenever they like.) And its even worse when the quiz itself wasn't much to commend. Late availability of rooms/auditoria and equipment cannot be used as an excuse - if that was going to be the case, you must schedule your quizzes appropriately. Apologies don't help.
* The less said about the conditions on stage, the better. But we must. The projection, the seating arrangements were exceedingly painful, clearly revealing a total lack of preparation w.r.t. production. The event management was not even of basic quality standards.
* IMS was the main sponsor, but unlike in earlier years, we did not have a customary presentation of their wares. Instead, we were "treated" to some questions thrown by a resident random IMS guy, who unfortunately had got along his own questions. It didn't augur well when he started by calling it "a game" and "you must answer with speed, wot say!". We soon had our first genuine contender for a "Most Hon. Rev Bobby John" award-winning questioner on our hands with such gems such as "What is India's share in %age of world's economy?" (a call for students of economics at this question had certain people on stage retreating into small invisible pockets - the answer being 0.67%) and "Who is the highest producer of zinc and uranium?". No question had its answer as IMS, much to my disappointment. Hilarious laughs and catcalls later, it was confirmed that the points earned during these questions would count!
* Finally, coming to the questions. They were not really that great, given that many of them were repeats or way too easy to have any "survivability" in the passing. In fact, 30 out of the 49 correct answers were answered on the direct. There were a couple of nice questions (such as the Beatles qn, the 1920s pulp series and the Dickens book), but really, they were almost as infrequent as one-day final wins for India.
* On the positive side, thanks are in order to the organisers for the on-stage hospitality and the prizes. However, knowing what I do of the participants on-stage and off it, we would have gladly traded it in for a much better quiz.
* Knowing what I do of the organisers, I think their heart is in the right place and they would definitely have aimed to do a good quiz and try to improve next time. However, nobility of spirit isn't enough (especially with carpers like us around :-)) and so here are a few suggestions:
- If you want to get the questions right, then you're going to have to attend a lot more quizzes and figure out which are the questions that have now become standard lore. For instance, questions like the one on the Presidency of Israel or Fabian Society are just too easy to be asked anymore. Undoubtedly, that's a nice piece of info, but if your audience is going to consist of "experienced" quizzers, then this is not going to work out.
- This aspect of "experienced" quizzers is a major factor, actually. Perhaps FC needs to make this a college-only event again. There was nothing much to be learnt by attending this quiz for the veteran quizzer and organising a quiz that satisfies these participants may be a tough call for rookie quiz-setters. I'm not trying to be condescending towards anyone, but do consider whether the level of these quiz-setters would be more suited towards up-and-coming college quizzers than these people who have been around for 4 years and more, and have heard most of it before.
- The organising fiasco is a lot more unpardonable, especially if you want people to return next year. I personally have decided not to participate next year if I remain eligible - I might come to watch, but definitely not take part, for sure. It's too much effort for not much value.
- Also consider the extent to which you want your sponsors to be "involved". You need to take a call as to whether you really want: a large amount of participation (strangely, participation was way below par this time - it used to easily be the biggest college organised quiz), participation by the regular quizzers, to be able to attract participation with big prize money etc. You need to decide whether you are ok with your sponsors making the event look silly or whether you want to retain the respect of your participants who will in most cases settle for very little or no prize money and a good quiz.
- Also, quiz-hosting irritants such as providing hints while the question is "live" need to be avoided; however IMO these only come with experience. But how to gain that experience? You need to set and participate in more quizzes along the way before trusting yourself on the big stage. We rarely see any of the FC quizzers in the rest of the events around the place, and no wonder, it shows.
- I hate to say this again and again on this blog for it seems as if we are snooty holders of the keys to setting a good quiz, but some of us have thought, written and discussed a lot about organising quizzes on these pages, and perhaps a perusal is merited if quality (an intangible goal at best, but v. easy to spot when it stinks) is an ambition.
- I am a firm supporter of college quizzers conducting their own quizzes instead of outsourcing to alumni or others, except if you do not possess the ability to do a half-decent quiz. I don't think the FC quizzers lack that overall ability, but a lot needs to be done, for the standards have slipped badly. It got to a point where Kunal and I seriously contemplated the need for a SPCQQ agent to leap onto stage, and shut down proceedings, Monty Python style, by saying things had become too absurd and "now for something completely different".
(And I'd definitely like to know why not "thumb rule" and why only "rule of thumb"?)