Monday, May 14, 2007

May 2007 BC Open Quiz "Indic-Nation" - Report

Date: 13 May, 2007 Venue: Dewang Mehta Auditorium, PSPL
Set and Conducted by: Shamanth Rao and Salil Bijur
Theme: India

Quiz Final Results (team no. with elims score):
1st: Anand Sivashankar + Vibhendu Tiwari + Meghashyam Shirodkar (8 - 32.5)
2nd: B.V. Harish Kumar + Ganesh Hegde + Niranjan Pedanekar (4 - 33 (highest elims score))
3rd: Manish Manke + Siddharth Natarajan + Kunal Sawardekar (1 - 32) or Samrat Sengupta + J. Ramanand + Abhishek Nagaraj (6 - 30) (scores not clear)

Others: Aditya Gadre + Aniket Khasgiwale + Yashovardhan Tamaskar (2 - 25), Ketan Doshi + Ashwin Kulkarni + Sumedh Kulkarni (3 - 22.5), Rahul + Vibha + Rachna Gothi (5 - 22) (cutoff elims score), Jay Athalye + Kedar Toraskar + Akshad V. (7 - 24), Anand Ayyadurai + Krishnan Sekar + Georgie Matthews (9 - 23.5), Kunal Thakar + Arnab Pal + Anupam Akolkar (10 - 28)

Salil has the following notes to offer from yesterday's quiz:

A few "principles" we considered before setting out to make the quiz:

  1. Encourage max no. of people to be able be a part of the finals -- thats why we had teams of 3 and 10 teams in finals.
  2. Increase no. of questions a team gets to attempt, prevent the "we never got any simple ones" crib -- thats why had a large no. of questions in the finals. The no. of sitters and tough ones a team gets evens out in the end. However we didn't dumb it down too much, and a level was pretty much maintained.
  3. Reduce newcomer frustration due to repeated fundaes, tough questions and esoterica and make it more enjoyable and interesting -- thats why we had a comparatively simple elims round with 32.5/35 being the highest. We also had a few not so simple ones in the elims.
  4. Prevent boredom among audience and participants by having more innovative rounds other than seamless IR.
  5. Encourage people to guess more and not restrict their thinking -- thats why we didnt have negatives in any round and encouraged more guesses for the themes
Format of the quiz:
The quiz was styled as a 9-course meal. We had:
  1. Appetizers: 9 IR qns connected to a theme.
  2. Soup: Written round with a few audio-visual identify qns
  3. Main Course 1: 33 qns on IR.
  4. Salad: Written round with qns connected to a theme
  5. Sorbet: Audio questions based on inspired songs
  6. Main Course 2: 33 qns on IR with round reversal
  7. Dessert: Written round with qns connected to a theme
  8. Wine: 3 written qns with a stage 2 connect
  9. Coffee: A 24-picture clue connect
Now the ground realities:
* We had over 75 people attending both the quizzes, including participants and audience - which is a small record of sorts. We had lots of enthu school students attending, some with their parents who were equally enthu to answer which was really great to see.
* Lots of people + Informal atmosphere = chaos, where people randomly enter and leave and we cannot prevent entry or exit at any point of time.
* Shamanth and Abhishek's newbie quizzes which were used in favour of Theme-Attic were really popular and the audience loved them. We should have such questions instead of topical esoterica since we're targeting Theme-Attic for newcomers. Have simpler themes or themes that cover wider ranges to be newbie friendly.
* Blame the local eateries or our own latitude - but a lot of time is spent waiting for participants after lunch to come so we cant start in time often delaying the whole show.
* IMHO, it is fair for a QM to hurry a team answering at his/her discretion. However it is unfair for participants to rush the QM because they have to leave early - we are flexible to allow substitutions.
* It was heartwarming to see all newcomers showing enthu and being involved throughout. Many enquired for more details, took down contact nos., etc. so we had quite a few newcomers with potential to be regular.

On the actual quiz content:
* We avoided esoteric topics - eg. individual scores & stats of SRT or hardcore JBDY/Sholay facts. (Maybe there were 1-2 out of 100)
* Added humourous facts/trivia to make them interesting and appealing to audience.
* There will always be cribs about not having touched any particular topic or focusing on one more, but an attempt is always made to cover all. Often the reason may be that good questions in a topic weren't found or perhaps didn't suit a particular theme. We dont want to have arbit questions on a topic just to touch it.
* Not everyone likes long quizzes. But we had decided ours to be one. And we had to cater to 30 finalists.
* Plead guilty for not having only-audience questions. We were short of time and frustration levels among participants were rising due to the length. But we did have a loyal audience (that too newcomers) who patienty waited till towards the end and kept attempting qns for chocos.
* Answers in the presentation make it easier to explain to other participants and audience. It is dangerous to an extent and cost us twice :-(. But there are ways to prevent it - though they're time consuming.
* The inspired songs round was considered as 'topical' and 'antakshari-like'. I disagree. It wasn't topical because we didn't ask specifics like music director/film, etc. Most tunes were familiar ones and were based on recollection.
* Received cribs about on-the-fly scoring patterns and no. of attempts for theme that caused confusion in total scoring. I agree here - a better approach is required in dealing with written rounds and themes.

Some sample elims questions (select the whitespace in front of "Ans" to see answers)
1. Fill up:
a. A peepul tree in Varanasi.
b. A banana tree in a Bangalore temple
c. An idol in Ayodhya
Ans. Abhishek Bachchan. Funda is that all these are Aishwarya Rai's 'husbands'

2. Which Indian PM dropped his surname 'Shrivastava' because it indicated his caste? Ans. Lal Bahadur Shastri

3. Which place in Mumbai gets its name from a black stone statue of King Edward VII (as the then Prince of Wales) which is now located in Jijamata Udyan?
Ans. Kala Ghoda

4. The earlier name of the town of Nanded shares its name with a place in West Bengal. Which place?
Ans. Nandigram


Abhishek said...

We were third!

D said...

Can u also post some questions of these quizzes? for a person faraway from Pune and who cannot take part in the quizzes live, samplers would matter a lot. thanks

niranjan said...

Just my opinion:

The Good:
- Good 'finalist turnout' ;))
- Good amount of questions
- Decent involvement of new teams and themes
- Scoring pattern adopted based on number of people getting correct answers for at least for a few rounds
- Some good questions
- A sincere attempt and effort to involve more people
- An enjoyable 'event', though could have been more so

The Bad:
- Only some good questions (maybe 30-40% of the whole lot, IMO, as opposed to 70%+ which we normally clock)
- Some ill-framed questions (e.g. Albania, Dashavatara)
- Shamanth's 'annotated' questions ;))
- Salil's finger of God ;))

The Ugly:
- The chaos, hardly any sense of time and order
- The length
- The scoring and scorers choice (nothing personal, but should have been left to experienced quizzers)
- The 'plagiarized' round
- Informality in quiz content and in conducting the quiz
- QM's discretion taken too far, IMO ("we bloody want to do it like this, take it or FO")

Just my comments. Nothing personal. Could be viewed differently by others (or even by me ;))

niranjan said...

BTW, after a 9-course meal, the comments that ensue could be considered as good as shit ;)))

Anonymous said...


The quiz took 5 hours(~1 45 to ~6 45). Given our normal quizzes take 4 hours(~2 30 to 6 30 types), and given this quiz had close to twice the number of questions of a normal quiz, I thought we managed the time pretty well.


Chaos/informality was primarily due to the fact that there were more teams, and that we hadnt put restrictions on guesses by way of negatives or caps on attempts so as to encourage guessing. Both these factors were a bigger priority for us than formality of the quiz itself. Besides, I dont think the informality disrupted the flow of the quiz or affected any of the teams at any point.


There were no BC regulars/experienced quizzers in the audience to keep scores. Besides, the second half of the quiz was scored by experienced quizzers among the teams.

The alternative would have been to skip the special rounds and had only IR all through so as to facilitate easy scoring, which we didnt think was worth it.


Please elaborate. Good-and-bad-questions classification is sli subjective. However, what we targeted was what in our opinion comprised good questions. These were the criteria we attempted to conform to:

a. The question is original. ie - content/form of the question hasnt appeared in quizzes before. There's something new in the question for at least a part of the participants/audience.
b. The question is workable. There're enough clues, so even those people who do not 'know' as much as regular quizzers about what is standard quizzing repertoire can still attempt it.
c. The question is accessible. Questions are on topics familiar to participants/audience, and are also framed so as to emphasise the clues in the questions that lead to the answer. Also ensure prelims are easy so that newcomers can experience answering easily workable questions, and get a taste of what we do.
d. There is decent variety throughout the quiz - themes, the plagarised round, written rounds and the long connect.

The Dashavatara theme was intended to be easy - we didnt see any point making everything far too difficult, especially since the other two themes werent as obvious and also since it was at the start of the quiz. Besides, we deliberately ensured that the connects to the theme were well defined - we felt that that was better than putting arbit or cryptic connects to the theme.


Ramanand said...

My own spaghetti-review (keeping in with the food-mood):
Il Buono:
- first, I am happy that again, there was a clear set of goals driving "design" decisions. An excellent job done in attracting participants, making lots and lots of questions, trying to involve as many people as possible.

- I will disagree with Niranjan: I liked many more qns than just 40%. Yes, some of them were too easy, but overall, the content explored was quite enjoyable. I felt some of the qns could have been worded or presented better, but the qns themselves were fine

- Liked the Dessert theme; thought the elements in the Appetizers could have been better than they were; I've seen the coffee-with-karna theme done many times now, but I can see it's a decent one to ask newcomers

- The fact that unlike other 'India' quizzes, this one actually had questions from (almost) all over the nation

- Ego-centrically: nice to see 'Indic-Nation' find use, use of the differential scoring, happy to be able to make massive crowning-glory fool of myself in front of the joo-junta.

- Thanks to all the school and college participants who chose to stay back despite exams!

- All teams showed great answering abilities.
Il Cattivo:
- the length of the quiz: we have people coming from Bombay and need to go back, we have students (college and school) who'd been there from 9 in the morning, we have (as Sammy said) people who may not be quizzing-nutters like us to spend entire Sundays quizzing. Even though the quiz started at 1:45, remember that many of the participants were there from 12:45 or earlier. It was a long day indeed. I apologise on behalf of others like me who contributed to the delay due to our lunch plans, but it was unavoidable given the small interval between the morning and the afternoon quizzes. IMO, the ideal durations are 9-12 for morning, and 2-6 for evening. A 30 mins spillover is ok. But people, including participants, had to leave towards the end, and that could have been avoidable. You also end up pushing teams to answer - I'd prefer a shorter quiz that allows me to think.

- Despite the good intentions (the gap between idealism and execution is always a force to reckon with), I'm still not convinced with having so many people in the finals. I think there are other ways to achieve greater participation, perhaps some day I can put my money where my mouth is. Still, I did say at the beginning I was curious to see how you would pull it off - it did provide some useful insights. It was v. hard to keep track of what attempts were being made and so on.

- scoring in written rounds could have been handled differently: one of salil/shamanth could have collected answer sheets and corrected them while the quiz continued, and announced the scores to the scorers and teams
Il Brutto:
- multiple attempts per qn made things too chaotic.

- Shamanth (I know you won't mind this observn): I find it hard to concentrate when you paraphrase the (big) question while reading aloud, because I have to listen to you and then also summarise the text. You don't need text then if you insist on leaving things out - perhaps you should have had bulleted slides

- Salil: you have put in a lot of effort in making qns, so why not some more to make the answers "finger of God" proof? (it left us going "fastest middle finger first"). It will be worth it.

- The "inspired" round: while i have no quibbles with the nature of it, I have a problem with the number of qns. This would have worked as an audience-qn-spectacle, so the bulk should have gone there. Even (poor joke alert) Zayed would have left after so much sorbet.
When I see the qns again, I'll comment on which could have been better done. Off the top of my head, the Indian Express blank space and the 5 revolutionaries could have been better. On the flip side, qns like the ABC qns on the Js, the ones on the sportsperson names were quite good.
And finally: great performance by the winners, thanks to Shamanth for rounding off his two year stint with the BC in fine style, and a major pat on the back for Salil for the big-hearted effort.

Anonymous said...

Also, the final scores of the top 3 teams were 324, 291 and 274 respectively.


Anonymous said...

Reg. paraphrasing, mea culpa. Didnt quite realize it could be that big a distraction.

We did attempt to make questions bullet-pointed - you'll recall there werent many complete sentences on slides(credit for idea due to Sud and JR, during the last college quiz).

But yes, there were questions where some more weeding-out could have been done, which we should have taken care of. Will blame paucity of time during last minute editing, but that was something we should have taken care of.

Hmm, abt written rounds, IMO, swap papers is the best way of going about things, esp since it is still a fairly informal quiz(most BC opens are, not just this one).
Maybe, if we had volunteers, collect-sheets-and-evaluate could be done, but it's a little tough for QMs to do it.

Then again, there'd be the problem of different perception of half-point-worthiness among volunteers -so a swap-paper setup where evaluators can shout out doubts is perhaps better.


Samrat said...

Some of my views

---Baaje (Bad)

>> Did not like 10 teams in finals. It is like a wait for a PMT bus on a sunday afternoon. Questions never seem to arrive.
The intensity is not maintained. It sometimes feels like you (team) are the audience, discuss ques among yourselves and relax coz you know they wont come to you.

---Kuch'shit' (Ugly)

>> There was some chaos with scoring and conduct of quiz. Lot of time was wasted. Agreed there were many more questions, but the duration was more not just because of that.

>> The inspired round stretched on interminably, plus so many questions in them were unwarranted

---Bhalo (Good)

>> Was surprised to see so many areas covered. The breadth was amazing

>> The questions would appeal to non-regular quizzers also. Some of them were quite simple, but I do not mind that

>> Innovative rounds and scoring methods

>> Very good turnout

Abhishek said...

My own two cents so that our entire team gets its word in. ;-)

I did not have too much of a problem with 10 teams or the paraphrasing. I personally would love a loong quiz, but not when I have an exam next day. I can also understand why other people would crib - and I for one think its a cardinal mistake to lose "formality" in our self-professed "formal quizzes". These events are meant to reach out to a broader, less-enthu audience, and all efforts must be maintained to keep their interest alive. The BCQC comes out to be a bunch of self-infested, mutual back-scratching bunch otherwise (which is fine at the Boat Club), but which has no place IMHO at the PSPL events. This has nothing to do with this quiz per se, but future QMs must remember to maintain a certain sense of decorum and order as against "informality" and chaos.

I totally disagree with NP's views (NP-Very-Hard?) that only 40% of the Qs were good. Also all your principles are brilliant, and IMHO Shamanth's questions are the best implementations of all the principles we profess. Unfortunately this means that some questions get simple, and more care has to be taken in this regard.

This was not meant to be long, so I wind up here saying (pun alert), really enjoyed the quiz, Some a.nt!

Ashu said...

I hadn't put in my $0.02 worth till now bcoz I was too lazy to get down to it. But the prickings of conscience in the form of deus ex machina 'a non-particular big rodent' aka the '1917-bcoz-Balfour-Declaration' guy finally got me off my posterior today.
1. Agree with JR re the 'multiple shots at the question' bit - definitely avoidable & no value addition bcoz of including it; after the first thought-out shot, it usually boils down to chimping it.
2. Scoring should've been entrusted to the usual suspects from the starter's gun itself, even allowing for the fact that the regular Chitragupta was semi-QM. It was quite a tangle getting the kinks ironed out after the first big padaav.
3. Having said that, hats off to Shamanth & Salil for a humongous effort. I loved the breadth & span of the questions, right from the delightful 'State Handicraft Emporia' connect down to the previously-asked-but-still-travelled-all-the-teams' Bisleri poser.
4. I, for one, do not mind the length of such a quiz once in a while. I myself travel from Mumbai now, and I don't think someone who's come specifically for the quiz would mind reaching Mumbai a lil late if the aftertaste of a nine-courser is gonna linger on our palates that much longer. It's Mumbai we're coming back to, for Chrissakes; the dump is wide awake till the wee hours & local transport runs upto 0100 hrs; and we're all well past the in-bed-by-8-o'clock age anyways.
5. Re the Finger of God bit, unless it's a pic explaining an answer in detail, I rather subscribe to the 'oral' variety myself - of explaining the answers, that is! Why not do away with the answer slides completely? Any precautions will still leave it vulnerable to keyboard malfunctions in one way or the other.

The amicus curiae rests......

Ramanand said...

the last comment was doubtless by 'mega'shyam.