Wednesday, February 19, 2014

2013 Shyam Bhatt Memorial Quiz at AFMC, Pune - Report

2013 Shyam Bhatt Memorial Quiz, AFMC, Pune
14th Feb, 2014
Set and Conducted by Chandrakant Nair
Flavour: General

Format: Written elims of 37 questions. Finals (3 written rounds, 2*20 questions on Bounce+Pounce)

1st - Vikram Joshi and Meghashyam Shirodkar - 340 points
2nd - Aditya Gadre and Shubhankar Gokhale - 335 points
3rd - Hrishi Varma and Justin Thomas - 325 points

The other finalists (in no particular order)

Gopal Kidao and Sachin Deshpande
Navin Rajaram and Venkatesh Srinivasan
Ramanand JN and Shrirang Raddi
Balakrishnan Satyam and Rahul Kottalgi
Debanjan Bose and Suraj Prabhu
Aniketh Rallabhandi and Vibhav Bhave
Aryapriya Ganguly and Avinash Mudaliar
Wg Cdr Anurakshat Gupta and Maj Safal Muhammad


The Shyam Bhatt Memorial Quiz is, by our estimation, the oldest running quiz in Pune. This edition of the quiz, interestingly, had a mix of several newcomers to the quiz (from many parts of the country) and several old-returners (who took part in editions as far back as two decades ago.) And then there were some of the usual suspects.

Chandrakant Nair, an alumnus of AFMC, is the Amit Trivedi of Indian quizmasters: one has always been astonished by the depth, the breadth, and prolificity of his quizzes that does not sacrifice quality. This edition was yet another instance of his excellent work.

There were eleven fine teams on stage, whose collective achievements were both answering these excellent questions and surviving without grievous injury, a tiger-trap of a stage at the Dhanwantari Auditorium! (the quiz returned to that august setting after a few years of being sidelined to a classroom).

I particularly enjoyed the prelims (perhaps because my team did well at it) - the 'pitch' was true and one could trust the 'bounce' in terms of the clues offered. The finals had some terrific questions, but since we had begun late, I found myself feeling impatient towards the end (it didn't help that I had to be somewhere else pretty soon.) Overall, I though this year's final was much more interesting and generally accessible compared to 2013.

Great answering by the winners, who kept their calm, and to the runners-up, who mounted a rousing challenge in the last round to give the winners a little bit of a scare, not to mention the scorer.

Special mention of the scorer, who needs to be given a quizzing medal of some sort, just to keep up - singlehandedly - with the scores of 11 teams, a couple of whom were getting increasingly restive, and lots of pounces and negatives flying around. Also a nod to the college team of Aniketh and Vibhav who had a great preliminary round and some good final answers.

Some suggestions/cribs:

1. No 10-11 teams please. I find 8 teams a stretch as well, but 11 was the height (the breadth?). Too much of a pounce-fest for my liking, and found it hard to listen to teams making interesting guesses.
2. The Friday scheduling was harsh on many local quizzers who could not make it, and missed out on a good quiz (and the quiz missed out on them). Also resulted in a negligible audience.
3. ~7 hours of quizzing (inclusive of just sitting around) is avoidable - shorter prelims/finals with more breathing space between questions would have been appreciated by me. Also, I don't get a chance to 'savour' the questions, because there is this mad rush to speed-read the question, to try and get the pounce in.
4. The middle round's secret theme was a little too obscure, IMO, and definitely not very 'crack-able' with just the visual hint and not having a chance to look at the 'puzzle' more carefully when it is in progress.
5. The last round had too much at stake - almost as much as the 2 passing rounds.

Finally, my partner Shrirang returned to AFMC and Shyam Bhatt after a couple of decades - this is a quiz where he has never won despite several close finishes (an unfulfilled ambition this time as well!). But the QM's nod to COEP in the prelims was much appreciated, especially as Shrirang mentioned to me, the seeds of the COEP Saturday Quiz Club, the precursor to what is the BCQC were sown in AFMC. Read more here.

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