Monday, February 11, 2008

February Open Quiz - "Aleatory" - Open General Quiz

Date: 10 Feb, 2008
Venue: Dewang Mehta Auditorium, PSL, Pune
Set and Conducted by: Salil Bijur, Anupam Akolkar
Theme: General

Quiz Final Results
Format: 18 questions in an Aleatory format; 16 (3qns+connect) + 18 questions IR; total: 52 questions
1st: Rishi Iyengar + Sumant Srivathsan (B) - 155
2nd: Samrat Sengupta + Meghashyam Shirodkar (C) - 110
3rd: Anand Sivashankar + Vibhendu Tiwari (E) - 100
Jt. 4th: Aditya Gadre + Niranjan Pedanekar (A) - 80
Jt. 4th: Venkat Srinivasan + Aniket Khasgiwale (D) - 80
6th: Harshal Modi + Suvajit Chakraborty*(F) - 50
Scorers: Mohit Karve, Salil

Elims standings (out of 30 questions): Aniket+Venkat (23), Aditya+Niranjan (20), Meghashyam+Samrat (17), Rishi+Sumant (17), Vibhendu+Anand (15), Saransh Verma* (had to leave before finals; substituted by Suvajit) + Harshal (12)
Best School team: Rohit Sahasrabudhe + Satyavrat Wagle
Best College team not in finals: Samit Sura + Nandan Gokhale
Best Newbie team: Mrinmayi & Sameer Katdare
No. of participants: ~35 teams

Aniket and Venkat's superb crack of the elims raised visions of another upset victory like in the morning's quiz, but the veteran quizzers prevailed in the end. In part, this was due to the quiz being suffused with a few chestnuts, but also their ability to weather the slightly uneven pitch.

The finals began with a round held using a different format. Each team would receive a direct in turn (chosen at random by the audience) and passing would proceed in forward or backward fashion (again chosen at random). Though not so weird in retrospect, it begged the question of what the objective really was. This caused some amount of confusion right at the beginning, and was perhaps largely avoidable.

The second segment of the quiz was more conventional, with the only twist coming in a round where every 4th question was a answer connecting the preceding 3. The connects were thankfully not contrived and one even went unanswered. Some of the other questions were quite nice and tried to touch upon a few new areas, but largely the quiz seemed underwhelming (to me). Some others liked the low intensity and the welcome fact that it did not stretch for too long as some of our other open quizzes have.

Some sample elims questions:
1. Manavikraman Raja, the Saamoothiri of Kozhikode is famous for something he did on May 18th, 1498. How is he better known as?
2. Connect (a) L.A. (b) Bangkok (c) a film directed by Brad Silberling in 1998 which remade the German film "Wings of Desire".


sumant said...

I'd have to agree with the underwhelming bit, as well as the WTF-ness of the first round, but it was particularly disappointing to see so many chestnuts in the final. I wondered if it's just a matter of not attending enough quizzes, or whether we'd just seen the question elsewhere, but it appears that there wasn't an outstation bias to the repeat-spotting.

Aditya said...

Sorry to say this ,but the first round was really bad. It had about 12 really easy and 6 tough questions which probably made a lot of difference to the way the quiz went. We had scored 0 at the end of the first round :(
I have to agree that the quiz was underwhelming. I thought it was too rushed . It felt more like a session more than a open.A 30 question elims + 60 question main quiz was over in 2 and 1/2 hrs flat. It was over too quickly. I wouldn't complain about the questions. Some of them were very good. Kinda simple ...but good nonetheless. There should have been say about another 20 questions of the same level ,and it would have been a great quiz.

Kunal said...

Insert inevitable outstation quizzer demand here.

Kunal said...

I remember Sudhanshu (he of the Afro) using a last-three-questions-are-connected question at his alleged "world" quiz at Mood-I (2006, I think). It worked quite well there, chiefly because the connects were on the buzzer, and it made for a fun stage-II kind of round.

Abhishek said...

You meant Chitranshu right? At IITB Mood-I MELA? The difference was almost half of his quiz was like that, and the length of the connect thread was variable. Plus there were sub-themes is a larger theme, elements common to two different themes and more such madness. But still quite nice.

Kunal said...

Oh yeah. I just remembered it was an -anshu ending. And it wasn't a MELA, it was a "World" quiz. So named so that Chitranshu could do a general quiz even though Surdy had bagged the rights to the Mood-I General Quiz.

Anonymous said...

There were some very good questions but far too many chestnuts. Framing was also an issue with some questions- there were a couple in which additional clues transformed a decent, morally upright question into a gimme ready to put out for just about anyone. Also, Scream should not happen in an Open final. Period.

I liked the connects more than the rest of the quiz because they were factual, not lexical and they didn't need you to know the mind of the QM.

A small suggestion: somebody should do a Thor Heyerdahl round in the next Pune quiz to kill all possibility of further questions on that damned man. I'm planning to do the same with Peter Norman in Mumbai.


Harish Kumar said...

Comment from Samrat...

I didn't find the quiz underwhelming. Infact the dose was appropriate for a double-header open day. It wasn't a brain wringer as a few earlier ones have been. but again it is a personal choice. There were a fair bit of good questions. some obscure, some very easy.
I dont find any problem with having a few peters if they are packaged differently, or have come inadvertently. The "scream" question was nice. (infact i didnt recall the answer at that time, though after the correct answer i knew i had heard it before)
I didnt like the scoring of the connects, giving 30 or 20 points to a team(s) which may have got just plain lucky is unfair. it could have been more in the range of 5-10 points.

Anonymous said...

>giving 30 or 20 points to a team(s) which may have got just plain lucky is unfair.

I don't think the positive scoring was an issue. But there should have been negative scoring. The question which a lot of teams got after we jumped to conclusions (you know which one)- perhaps not every one would have taken a punt if they could lose points on a wrong guess.

As for Munch. Dude, if you've heard as many screams as I have...


Salil said...

Thanks all for the feedback. Allow me to take each point at a time.

Different format for the 1st round:
As Anupam explained the objective for the first round, the idea was related to the theme of the quiz - dice/chance/luck. Even the fairest of passing systems cannot be free from the iota of the element of luck. There is seating arrangement, reversals, order of questions, etc that are always blamed. The Aleatory round was created for exploring the luck scheme, keeping directs for a team equal (3 each) and attempting to have an rounds other than normal infinite rebounds. Even if there were a few sitters in the first round, having IR wouldn't have changed the scoring drastically.

Chestnuts: Old trivia always gets reused and many a times they are appreciated over unheard of facts. A question on Scream gets more applause than one on Hava Nagila. Again, the idea of a chestnut is relative depending on time and place. When the questions are framed, the entire expected participation in considered and not just the seasoned veterans or just the newbies. Many 'chestnuts' could be termned as new trivia by some, so one man's Thor Heyerdahl is another man's Khashaba Jadhav (from Kolhapur).

Rushing/Early end: The past few quizzes saw cribs about ending too late or being cut mid-way for lack of time. I've also been at the receiving end of brickbats for having conducted a long quiz. The early ending wasn't expected by us either so I wouldn't say that we rushed - enough thinking time was given for all. What I think happened was that there were many questions answered excellently on directs (which weren't necessarily sitters) and also that we didn't waste too much times between elims and finals.

Negative scoring for themes: This was deliberately avoided to encourage teams to not hesitate and attempt more. With negs, often a team wants to play safe and ends up regretting for not having attempted.

Anupam said...

Thank you all for the observations you made. I feel I need to speak a bit about the ideas that went into this thing, too.

Aleatory: We have been using infinite bounds ever since somebody discovered the relative merits of that system over D&P. Now, all said and done about the bounds rule, there is still a disadvantage factor that seating orders bring in at every quiz. So, say an 18 question round played clockwise, there will be some factor by which a team placed after a strong one will benefit and one placed farther down might not, if you get the gist of what I'm saying. Aleatory was even more random. Had there been less chestnuts, for which I'll hold up may hand and say mea culpa, we could have had something interesting. But, as Jeeves keeps quoting, the four saddest words in the language are, "what might have been".

Questions: I strongly feel that frequent quizzers need to define the content they swear by. I have always felt that though a lot of new trivia is always brought along by each BC quiz, or more threads on a subject revealed each time, there is little by way of relevance to it. To explain this thought, consider this: why should I be thinking of Timbucktu on a fine February afternoon in Pune when nothing has happened over there that is of note in the past, say, 5 years? I believe there should be a recent reference to the questions framed. In this fashion, not only will we be able to explore more trivia, we'll be able to justify its presence in a quiz. And there will be greater workability to the questions, too. I guess many chestnuts in Aleatory were in place because of this.

The Geeta Dutt Question: A few people were miffed with this one. I'll agree that logically the question was incomplete. But then, tell me, haven't we all had questions where we had to identify movies based on the theme music? And then going further, if Amitabh Bachchan died after, say, Sarkar Raj, and say some extra didn't do any more films after that one, too, whose last film will we remember Sarkar Raj as?

Anyway, I hope everyone enjoyed the quiz, especially the newcomers. It was a pleasure making this, probably my last one, for a long time. I'll wait for the next BC quiz.

Abhishek said...


The basic problem with the Aleatory passing format (as we shall call it now ;) ) was that it was a variation on D&P and not IR. That was a major reason for the unfairness. To be reasonable, what many people feared would be a logistical hassle was not really true, that way it went pretty smooth. I was recording attempts and found a variance of 2 attempts of one team to 5 of another. Directs were equalised and attempts were not. This is a classic property of D&P and we know that is not good.

as for the Geeta Dutt question, of course you can put it in! Don't apologize at all. For that quiz day you're Robespierre and we have no powers ;)

Niranjan said...

Will not repeat the good/bad comments, since I agree to most of them.

- The luck variation was interesting, but unnecessary, IMO. Too less number of questions for luck evening out - sometimes may look more like Steve Bucknor to India on a bad day.

- Thor H question was a repeat from Amnesia (but I had not seen the question before while setting it). I thought Salil and Anna had attended the quiz :))

- Rishi and Sumant, you are great quizzers and raise the level of BCQC quizzes by being there. But the magnitude and amplitude of talking you do while the quiz is going on is enormous. Also, the matter of discussion is not really enjoyable (as is George T's endless chatter ;)). It is a repetition from a limited selection of phrases such as 'I know this', ' No, no, it is not that', 'The other one', 'It won't come to us', 'I am very sure'. It adds nothing but distraction to the quiz especially for the sides sitting near you. Apologies for my rude (by my standards) comments on stage, but sincerely request you refrain from chatting with such material so loudly. No problems if you can chat in a little lower voice, or alternatively, spurt out loudly a new pun or a joke every time you get a question or an answer ;))

Harish Kumar said...

Since I and Yasho were in horrendous form (or was it the batting ability itself)I have not been privy to all the 'monkey' business on stage but I have long been advocating the use of law 42 of the Laws of Cricket to be called in and used at the Open Quizzes.

I wonder why it is #42? And I wonder who will be the Aaqib Javed of the Open quizzes?

Aniket - the resident Cricket guru - Have I got Aaqib right?

Kunal said...

Uh, what is law #42?

Abhishek said...