Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Mahaquizzer 2008 - Results

The Mahaquizzer national top 100 is finally out. You can peruse the entire list here.

Congratulations are in order to Arul Mani for comprehensively topping (even if he did a Tendulkar-'07). Only 5 people achieve the 80+ mark, the level which many people claim should debar them from taking Mahaquizzer again ;)

Congratulations are also in order to (Pune winner) Ramanand for a decent showing, even though he just misses out on the national top 10.

Update: The list of city-wise winners (by category) is also up.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Faux Pass

So this is not uncommon. Yasho (that Hashmi-like molester of unsuspecting horses) speaks ruefully of being led by years of quizzing which gives you that immensely dangerous tendency to make wild stabs at questions en passant, Don Quixote style.

(He also mentions that story of Salil saying"pass" in an exam.)

I had the same experience once. Fresh from losing COEP's annual Chakravyuuh (the first of our four glorious bridesmaid trophies there), I found myself at one of the few competitive exams I have ever had to take. Having felt that I was overly cautious at that quiz (leading to our loss), I went in, tilting at the windmills, like Shahid Afridi chasing a half-volley to the ends of the earth.

It ended badly. Very badly. The fact that I now quote "quizzing-as-philosophy" amply illustrates that.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Mahaquizzer 2008 - Report

Organised by: KQA
Conducted in Pune by: Vishwajeet Narvekar (many thanks!)

School Winner: nandan Gokhale - Fergusson College (24)
College Winner: saransh Verma - Sinhgadh College of Engineering (27)
Ladies Winner: maitreyi Gupta - Vishwakarma Institute of Technology (29)*
Open Category Winner: J. ramanand (68)

* maitreyi also had the highest score by a college student, but the Ladies and College prizes were awarded separately

Number of participants: 32 (a little disappointing because some of the registered participants did not show up. Unluckily, we also did have about 6-8 people out of town.)
Official Final standings will be out soon.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mahaquizzer 2008

The KQA's annual solo quizzing championship Mahaquizzer will also be held in Pune, along with 8 other cities. The Pune details can be seen here, while click here for the official homepage.

Boiled Beans - Beware of Geeks bearing gifts

If you haven't already heard of Boiled Beans, I recommend it highly. It's a quizzing site (Indian) that features questions on science and technology, and the content is such that even non-geeks should find it interesting.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

May Open Morning Quiz - "Dekho Magar Pyaar Se"

Date: May 4, 2008
Set and Conducted by Niranjan Pedanekar

Results (elims scores in bracket):
1st: Harish + Ramanand (D): 215 [25.5]
2nd: Akhil + Apurva (C) : 210 [20.5]
Jt. 3rd: Salil + Yasho (B) : 160 [24]
Jt. 4rd: Aditya Gadre + Kaustubh (E) :160 [21]
5th: Abhishek + S. Ashwin (F) : 145 [19.5]
6th: Aniket + Manish Manke (A): 105 [20]

Best school team: Pushkar Pandit and Kunal Kalkundri; Best college team not in final: Rohan and Gaurav Singh, Best newbies: Harshal Modi and Mahip Vyas

Scorer: Aadinath Harihar


This report is easy to describe: the quiz was brilliant :-). After having inflicted brain-churning quizzes in the last couple of years, Niranjan chose to rebel against the monsters he had unleashed, as well as the verbose laziness of the rest of us. He presented a quiz whose underlying theme was 'pithiness' which showed that questions can be set with an economy of expression by exploiting the proverbial '1 pic == 1000 words. In doing so, he has again pushed the boundaries of what we can do in setting a quiz. At the same time he was also able to show us what we can do 'at a quiz' - in presentation, in building atmosphere, in panache and chutzpah (Yiddish for ... :-))

The quiz began with a Larry Lessig/Dick Hardt style presentation which so caught everyone's fancy that there was actually an encore demanded and had. The elims set the standard with some excellent questions.

Most felt that the finals were a lot less mentally taxing than previous quizzes, which seemed to naturally flow from the theme of the quiz. There were 4 regular rounds and 4 'special rounds'. Though interesting, I felt some of them had too many questions. Another observation was that since we spent less time in parsing each question, we had a little more time to ponder the possible answers.

As ever, Niranjan's choosing of question elements was almost always excellent. While setting a question, there are several different ways of presenting it. This is especially so in a visuals only quiz, where one would have been faced with questions such as what to show, whether there are enough hints within the images (remember: want to have as few words in the question as possible), whether this is a good enough question, and so on. For me, observing these possible choices was the best part of the quiz. For instance, the question about the index from a particular book - I don't know if other pages would have been as revealing as that particular page.

Lest I wax too eloquent, here are some minor flaws: the quiz was at least 30 minutes too long. There were quite a few Rosa Park-ers (perhaps our new term for 'sitters' ;-)) which, much to the chagrin of Teams F & E, kept coming to us. (Team F were perhaps so distraught that when presented with their own sitter, they chose to slip rather inconveniently :-).)

Further on the plus side, the proceedings on stage were very peaceful and conducive to quiet contemplation of quizzes. We had a large turnout of school quizzers this time. Harish and I finally won (together, that is) a quiz of Niranjan's, having come close twice before. Akhil and Apurva, fine but underrated quizzers, gave us a good fright with their late surge.

It was an enjoyable way to spend a Sunday morning.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Brain Damage - May Open Quiz

Set and Conducted by Abhishek Nagaraj and Aditya Gadre


1st: J Ramanand , BV Harish Kumar , Kaustubh Bhat :100 pts
2nd: Niran Pedanekar , Yasho Tamaskar and Vasu Ramanujan : 75
Jt 3rd: Meghashyam Shirodkar , Samrat Sengupta , Aniket Khasgiwale :70
Jt 3rd: Salil Bijur , Nndan Gokhale and Manish Manke :70
5th: Apoorva , Akhil and Sanyukta : 50
6th: Kapeesh Saraf , Venkat S , Maitreyi Gupta : 35

Some thoughts about the quiz:

-Turnout was rather disappointing. Only 25 teams showed up.
-This quiz was not a junta-friendly quiz. While we agree the elims were very difficult, they were workable and not obscure.The low cut off was expected.
-The newbie quiz was particularly added with the intention that not-so-experienced quizzers also have some fun.
-We tried to cover new topics in the finals and also to rediscover some of the old facts in new ways.
-We paid no attention whatsoever to the balance of the quiz and did not make question with any topic in mind. We just concentrated on framing good questions which screwed up the balance and it turned out to be a very Brit-heavy quiz.
-In retrospect , we should have had some questions on music given the theme of the quiz.Maybe next time.
-Experimented with a new prize structure .Do let us know your thought about it(in the comments section).
-Also experimented with a different version of Infinite rebounds , IR-beta if you may.
-Tried out another new thing ie the draft system for the finals. This was done with the intention of making the elims more meaningful since they were tough and it was a creditable job to crack them.

As to the quiz itself. Team A did brilliantly to win the quiz comfortably. Team F were a tad unlucky to lose out on some questions to team A. There was some great answering from the teams given the difficulty of the finals questions.

So to sum up , we tried a lot of new things in this quiz.
Please post your opinions in the comments section.

Note: We plan to do this quiz elsewhere. So please do not refer to any details of the questions and do not mention any names.