Monday, December 13, 2004

BC Infest - III

Updated: 15 Dec, Wed

Annual excuse to get BC quizzers together and quiz for fun. Not very formal though. Tentative schedule as below:

18th Dec - Sat - 10:30 am:

1. Quiz by Harish
2. India Quiz by Ramanand
3. Quiz by George
4. Quiz by Salil
5. Words quiz by Manish Mahajan

26th Dec - Sun - 11:00 am:

"Headbutting Lone Wolf" quiz by Ramanand

1st Jan - Sat - 12:30 pm

1. Quiz by Samrat
2. Quiz by Shrirang

All timings & dates are sadly tentative but we hope to stick to them by and large. Will update this post in case of changes.

Friday, December 03, 2004

A history of the BC quiz club - II

The story of the BC quiz club as told by Shrirang Raddi

Installment 2. This one covers my FE and SE, the years before the Saturday Quizzes started.

COEP Days .. Pre- Saturday Club.

The batch that entered COEP in 1991 had a clutch of good quizzers. There was Maya Kamath, the finest lady quizzer I've known. There was Aniruddha Karve, Vishal Dalal (jaundice ensured he passed out a year behind us) and my Loyola quiz partner Nikhil Jakatdar. The last named was more an enthu quizzer than a great one; but to put things in perspective he is more famous today for having sold his startup for something in excess of $100 million.

The college quizzing scene was quite competitive. AFMC were the guys to beat - they had some strong teams and had made winning a habit. The other strong colleges were Fergusson and BJMC. COEP was always strong; but the one thing that distinguished us from the rest was the absence of a home quiz. AFMC had 2 - Shyam Bhat and Silhouettes, Fergusson had the Insynch quizzes (General and book quiz) .. and even BJMC had their annual Triviana quiz. We were the parasites, visiting each of these quizzes and never hosting one. And the reason was not just that the college authorities were not supportive. It had a lot to do with inertia on our part.

When I was in FE the 'senior' team was a pair in BE, Subhash Joshi and Ashok Gidwani. The stalwart from TE was one Niranjan Pednekar, SE had a few enthu people and there was this big bunch of us in FE. The first major event was the BJMC quiz. Nirya paired up with Aniruddha Karve, and I stuck to my Loyola pal Jakatdar. As usual there was a huge group of AFMC guys in their thick blazers; some Fergusson guys etc etc. Somehow the elims seemed pretty easy to the COEP contingent. As the compiling of answer sheets was going on we noticed some commotion happening in the background, and expectedly an AFMC guy was in the thick of it. What had happened was that in the top 6 teams, there were 4 COEP teams. Hence the fight from AFMC to impose a ' 2-team per college' limit. Well they got their wish and so I sat out that quiz. The 2 top COEP teams - Subhash and Ashok, and Niranjan and Aniruddha finished 2nd and 3rd I think. Insych -( the Fergusson cult-fest, died off soon ) - happened soon after, Niranjan and Aniruddha reached the quiz finals.

There also was a quiz conducted by Niranjan in our internal CultFest - this one was the first Boat Club lawns quiz I participated in (and finished an ignominous last)- as well as the MESA quiz conducted internally - but basically there were no major fireworks COEP caused anywhere until the Shyam Bhat quiz of 1992. The team of Nirya and Ana was by then well set as the No 1 team in COEP. I was floating around, wasn't planning to go for the quiz but there was another floater, Arun Pillai who needed a partner. So we went there and the rest is (I fondly believe) history.

An AFMC quiz, where 2 COEP teams qualified 1st and 2nd; tied for 1st place at the end of the quiz, a long way ahead of all others!! We wanted to share the trophy but the organizers insisted on a tie-break. Which was some vague Hindi audio clue I think, and Niranjan cracked it. So we finished 1 and 2, this being the first of many occasions I would finish 2nd in the Shyam Bhat. The spur-of-the-moment pairing clicked big time, and over the next 2 years Arun and I were the top team in COEP.

My SE started off with a bang. The traditional season-opener was the BJMC quiz 'Triviana', conducted as part of their Ganeshotsav fest. As expected Nirya and Ana, and Arun and I qualified for the final. Along with the usual AFMC and Fergusson suspects, there was a BJMC team too, and so the cheering contingent was huge. This was a dream day for us. We took the lead in Round 1, and had crossed 100 points by the time the last round started. (Team No. 2 was at 50.) This quiz was our breakthrough. Sample Question - "Which newspaper publishes 'all the news that's fit to print' ? " (The New York Times). - BJ always had someone famous as the chief guest - the prize distribution that year was done by famous Marathi actor Dilip Prabhawalkar aka 'Chiman Rao'.

Silhouettes happened, so did Shyam Bhat. More runners-up certificates happened. By now every quiz was more or less a COEP vs AFMC show. There was no animosity between us and the AFMC guys though; since every year it was the senior batch that would control the Silhouettes / Shyam Bhat quiz organization, and the juniors would generally curse the seniors (on stage as well as off stage!).

Insynch happened and Arun and I did manage to get a runners-up place in the book quiz. Insynch that year became a battleground between us and the organisers - Amit Verma amongst them, thanks to our loud complaints about rigging. Fergusson had a decent but highly erratic bunch of quizzers - there was Siddharth Madhusudan (nicknamed Mad Sid and fully lived up to the name), Devdan Chaudhari and Orgho something ('Aargh'). Their problem was that they had a lot of internal battles, which spilled over on stage. Everyone else enjoyed the fun. On one unforgettable occasion Fergusson were about 20 points behind us. There was some weird format by which they would get +15 if they got the answer right, and -15 if it was wrong. The question was 'In which Olympics was gymnastics included for the 1st time' (Athens 1896). Devdan knew it, and started to answer, but Mad Sid grabbed the mike, pushed Devdan's face away and confidently said 'Antwerp 1920' or something like that. At which Devdan threw his pen to the floor and stomped off stage, leaving the audience in splits.

Overall my first 2 years in COEP were fun. COEP was by no means the sole dominant force - AFMC won as many as we did - and though we always beat them, Fergie were good too. A lot of our success had to to with having a regular teammate - Niranjan and Aniruddha and Arun and I combined well, so we had the most consistent results. Others like Maya Kamath, Vishal etc. suffered because they did have a regular partner. Maya was the person in-demand whenever there was a 3-member quiz - the regular pairs would do their best to get her to join them.

The last quiz of my SE was something organised in Fergusson. This was the last time the Niranjan and Aniruddha pair competed together, Nirya being all set to leave for his MS. Once again it was basically a battle between 2 COEP teams and 1 AFMC team, and this time Arun and I pulled away in the second half and won quite comfortably. So that year COEP won 2 titles and finished at least runner-up everywhere else.

Internally not much happened. There were some sporadic informal quizzes, and the Boat Club was the hangout anyway. The dream of having a COEP quiz had long been forgotten. There was no recognition from the college authorities of our wins; and we didnt push for it anyway. We were perfectly happy living a parasitic existence, satisfied with the certificate or memento we'd get in every quiz.

Things were ripe for a change.

:: Shrirang

Monday, November 22, 2004

A history of the BC quiz club - I

The story of the BC quiz club as told by Shrirang Raddi

Installment  #1 :

While Amalesh and I were being dumped from the BEQ national 'semi-finals' last Saturday (in 2003), there was a familiar figure in the audience. None other than the rotund figure of Vishal Dalal.  (How rotund? Vishal = George Thomas * 2)He was one of the quiz regulars in our time at COEP, and his immortality in quizzing circles is assured by the fact that he was one of the two fathers of the first Saturday Quiz in 1993, the small thing that has grown into the BCQC. Set me thinking about the days gone by. Dont know how many quizzers would be interested in knowing about the Quiz scene as it was back then, but I'd certainly love to write about it.

Starting with my pre-COEP days - my first brush with quizzing was also my first brush with COEP quizzers. This was back in 1986/87 when I was in the 8th std. There existed then something called the Quiz Foundation. The Quiz Foundation was  basically a COEP outfit run by, amongst others, Salil Joshi and Niloy Mukherjee. For the time they were in COEP (abt 1985 to 89), they used to conduct a very popular Open quiz - The "Exquizit" and an even more popular inter-school quiz - the "Inquizit". The Open Quizzes were organized in the COEP auditorium -- evidently a very supportive and open-minded Principal back then..

This was the time that the Siddhartha Basu 'Quiz Time' show was getting popular. There were two guys from AFMC - Rangaraj Setlur and Kaushik Chatterjee- who finished 3rd nationally the first time, and won it the second time. I remember seeing an Exquizit in the COEP audi where the AFMC guys were given a massive scare by a guy called Rahul Joshi from BJMC - Salil Joshi's younger brother, a really brilliant quizzer. Rahul Joshi liked to play the odd prank, Nirya being the victim on one memorable occasion. More on that incident later.

Salil and Niloy never had problems getting sponsors, all expenses used to be picked up by the Poona Bottling Company - all participants would get free Thums Up etc.. a major attraction. In the 8th standard I teamed up with 2 classmates at Loyola and to our everlasting glory (all other teams were 10th std kids), we reached the stage round of the Gold Spot Inquizit inter-school quiz. (This is another quiz we could never manage to win, losing in the tie-break the next year.)Salil is an industrialist based in Pune now, Niloy went to IIM Ahmedabad and was at Compaq the last I heard.

The first time I  ever competed against COEP was in 11th standard. Fergusson had a very active junior college quiz circle; and there was an enthu guy called Amit Verma who's (dad's) car and driver were commandeered to take a gang of about 8 of us to AFMC to participate in our first ever Shyam Bhat Quiz. This was sometime in 1990. We knew nothing about the quiz - Amit Verma was under the impression it was to be conducted by a guy called Shyam Bhatia - but did a great thing by putting 1 team in the final, the only junior college team to do so. There we finished 4th - predictably, AFMC won  - but finishing 3rd was the COEP team sitting next to us, Sanjeev Patel and Partho Sanyal. This was a legendary pair in their time, unfortunately I do not have the details of their wins. Maybe Niranjan can shed more light on this. Both Sanjeev and Partho went on to the IIMs later, I don't know where they are now. 

This particular quiz is memorable for me because of the certificates. For some reason they distributed the certificates first, then collected them again so that their native calligraphist could inscribe our names. In the confusion my name was written on the winners certificate. So, though I never won the Shyam Bhat for COEP - finishing runner-up every year from 1992 to 1995, I still am the 'certified' winner of the 1990 Shyam Bhat Memorial! Amit Verma stayed on at Fergusson and was involved in many quiz battles with us later, more on those incidents later.

And in the same year there was a solo quiz contest called 'Bahushrut Shree' in Tilak Smarak Mandir.. hugely publicised and well attended. Not much that any Fergussonian could accomplish in that contest; but that contest was my first glimpse of a quizzing giant - none other than Niranjan Pednekar, then doing F.E. at COEP, who won the thing with contemptuous ease.

The next installment will be about my first 2 years in COEP, the pre-Saturday Club days.

:: Shrirang

Sunday, November 21, 2004

IIPM 'Corporate Quiz'

Apologies. This purpose of this blog has been reduced to reporting 'non-quizzes' that are being held in Pune. But then its fate that such things are happening to us.

A-MAZE, an inter-college fest was held at the Indian Institute of Planning and Management. The Corporate Quiz was one of the various events. There was also a smaller 'One Minute Quiz' the day before.

First, the results:-

1st: FC

2nd: SCIT

3rd: SITM


Total teams participating: 11

No. of rounds: 3 (general, identify-the-logo, rapid fire)

Questions per team: 4 (+ about 10 in rapid fire)

Features of the quiz:

"All questions are non-transferable." (VERVE, anybody?)

"Twenty points per correct answer in the identify-the-logo round." (How else do we show impressive scoring with only 3 rounds?)

"Minus 10 for wrongly identifying the logo" (We have to spice up the quiz, don't we?)

"Only the first answer will be accepted"

The no-passing policy did give much scope for rigging, but there was no issue when the home team was asked relatively simpler question. The controversy however arose they were asked questions from the one minute quiz. This cost the home team (whose team members had set the one-minute-quiz) the place on the podium.

When there was a tie breaker between SCIT and ISBM for the second place, the QM didn't know when it ended, and would have asked more questions, had we not pointed out that it had finished.

Sample questions from the 1st round:-

Which software company has been debarred by SEBI for 10 years? Ans: GSQ

Average income of cellular users in India has witnessed a growth. True or false. Ans: False

What is the contribution of the oil sector to India's GDP? Ans: 10%

Is Hutchinson India listed on any Indian Stock Exchange? Ans: No

Where is such and such company located? Ans: Amsterdam QM: Ok, I'll give it to you, it's France.

I dread the day when we'll be asked questions such as "What is the distance beween Earth and Pluto" and "Have you heard of Einstein's Theory of Relativity?"

And if you were just wondering, I'll confirm it here: One of the many, big prizes *was* 'The Great Indian Dream' by Malay and Arindam Chaudhari. And no, passes for Rok Sako To Rok Lo were not given.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Comments on Inquizzition V

If you were a part of Inquizzition V and have any comments, please leave them here for the benefit of the organisers.

My comments:

Organisation: Was quite good this time, so congratulations to the organising team. Well, the odd time lapses & technical goof-ups are expected of most quizzes, are they not?

Presentation: I really think that if answers are to be put on slides, then you have to make doubly/triply sure (with the zeal of a paranoid criminal) that you can prevent the inadvertant lapse. It's happened for the second time running, and I fear that even this time there were no backup questions (or had to use audience ones). Since presentations are becoming such an integral part of the whole quiz experience thingy, I hope the organisers will have a good look at this area. There are a lot of ideas we can implement here. I'm dwelling on this at length because this kind of thing sometimes takes away from the quiz.

Elim Scoring: There was some confusion at the results of the elims, so you've got to find a more cleaner way of doing it, I think. I mention this so that it comes up on the radar.

Finals Questions: many of them were too easy, mainly because they were well-known quizzing facts. This might sound like sour grapes, but frankly, Gaurav & I felt that we didn't get the same share of the easy questions as teams A & B did (may be a false perception - I still have to get the data from Salil to confirm this). Of course, we goofed up a little too :-). But there were too many questions people had already heard of. They were good qns no doubt, but done to death in the past, atleast for half of the participants. Which made it a bit of a lottery as you had to be a little lucky to escape the few tough questions. That's my honest assessment of the qns. I don't know what the remedy for that is except for that more the questions quiz setters hear, the more you'll steer clear of the oft-repeated. Since there was good faith and intent involved, I don't have any grouse. Rest was fine I guess, for like goalies & 'keepers, lack of "remarkable" points usually indicates a smooth event :-) . The quiz had probably the best crowd seen in an open quiz in the last one year, a good elims, cohesive org. Which is pretty good.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

The AOES - IHMES IHM (IoM) Hotel Management College Quiz

The Pune round of the above Quiz was held at the Bal Gandharva Rangamandir today at 11:00 am. It was organised by the Agarwal Overseas Education Service (AOES) and the IHMES Institute of Hotel Management (IHM) of the Isle of Man (IoM).

Teams: BVP College of HM
DYP College of HM
NAG (?) CoHM, Kolhapur

Format: D&P, 10+5

Winners: AISSMS


- Questions were very very easy. The Qm told me that this was deliberatly done because of the contestants total lack of quizzing experience and bad experiences with good questions (ie: Teams were Baffled/bemused/mystified) in previous years.

- There were 3 - member teams.

- I was unable to make an analysis because a) I didnt have any paper and b) I was in the VIP seats (:-)) and it would be unseemly.

- As befits a HM Colleges quiz, Participants and Audience (Faculty and VIP Audience at least) were well taken care of, with complimentary refreshments provided.

Friday, October 22, 2004

On Connects - I

Only connect
- Howards End, E.M.Forster

When asked my first ever "connect" question at my first BC quiz outing, I clearly remember being nonplussed by it, and asking Kunal Vaed what he really wanted us to do with the question. Evidently, connection questions are one of the biggest differences when one crosses over to the "collegiate" brand of quizzing from the less devious world of school quizzing. Connects are also a recurring bone of contention among all quizzers, so here are some thoughts about this genre of questions.

The concept

I don't know who asked the first connect or when connects became part of the mainstream, but most of us current quizzers have seen connects ever since we participated in open or college quizzes. A simple example for those who may not have heard such a question:

Q: Connect the films Mother India, Salaam Bombay and Lagaan.
A: These are the only Indian films nominated for a (Foreign Film) Oscar.
So take a few elements, find something that can thread them together (or with variations) and voila! you have a connect ready.

Now what is the essential philosophy (or atleast, what it ought to be) of connects? To me, three points come to mind (read Niranjan's primer on setting questions which some BC quizzers like to quote from). One, connect questions let you reuse standard (or popular) trivia. Two, they are a great way to alternately present questions instead of the conventional 5W-H way. Three, it encourages a lateral way of thinking, letting you link different fields or people in many ways. A more breadth-wise way of looking at things rather than just depth. There are quite a few examples available at the above link, which were asked at some Mensa quizzes.

Now once you embrace this concept of connects, you will find there are several ways of presenting such questions. Earlier, connects were usually part of the "dry" rounds, asked in plain-text. In the last few years, with audio-visual presentations of quizzes having become the norm, more multimedia connects can be seen. I saw one of my first visual connects at Mensa 2000. I can't reproduce the images, but can give you the crux:

Q: Connect these pics (pic 1: a South African antelope, pic 2: A figurine of a Greek goddess, pic 3: A distinguished German man with moustaches).
A: Footwear brands: Reebok, Niké,Adidas (Adi Daessler).
Soon, in the next Mensa and the first Chakravyuh, we saw mixed audio-visual connects as well and such connects are of course considered part of the course now.

Kinds of connects

Ways of presenting connects are all fine, but the real differentiation (and hence its problems) comes from the content of connects. Now, since at its barest, a connection qustion is a collection of elements and a link, different interpretations of this concept are possible. Worse, these "links" are not always unique, or are sometimes plainly subjective. Compare this to the conventional questions whose basis is always in fact, and hence one can confirm/challenge its veracity to a greater extent and to greater satisfaction than is sometimes possible with connects. But before discussing these, why not take a look at different kinds of connects?

We started "labelling" with Chakravyuh 2001. Connects were becoming quite popular and had usually constituted a significant chunk of the quizpad, plus there were many ways of asking one. At the inaugural edition, we had decided to go in for a style of question setting called seamless quizzing, wherein there would be no subject-wise rounds or special audio-visual phases. Mensa 2001 which just preceded COEP's quiz had come close to it - with only a separate A/V round. We tried to go one step further and mix all questions (something that I think goes perfectly with Infinite Rebounds) without any clustering. Plus keeping with our BC & Mensa influences, we had a large number of connects of different kinds. That's when we came up with the labels Radial, Cascading and Meshed.

Quick examples of these:

Q: Radial Connect: Marlon Brando, Vyjanthimala, Jean-Paul Sartre, Boris Pasternak, George C.Scott
A: Award refusals (Oscar, Filmfare,Nobel, Nobel, Oscar).

Q: Cascading Connect: Upamanyu Chatterjee -> Marcus Aurelius -> Russell Crowe
A: (UC) "English, August" has references to (MA) -> In "Gladiator", RC is a general in Aurelius' army

Radial Connects could be replaced by "What's common to the following" - essentially one thing is common to all the elements. Cascading Connects are a sequence (which is provided to the teams) i.e. a chain link. Meshed Connects, well, they are a slot for "all of the rest". Usually in Meshed connects, you could have several interconnections among a sub-group of elements, so it can get tough for the quizmaster to pass judgement on answers (leading to what one quizzer termed as a "Messed Connect")! A rare speciality called the Kekule Connect has also been tried occasionally - in this, the aim is to form a ring i.e. A connects to B, B to C and so on, and then Z connects back to A. There's also the well-known Pyramid connections where instead of connections emerging in just a question, answers to several questions are to be connected to give a answer higher in the pyramid and so on. The Bangalore Stage Two is a case of this with only one level.

Ok, some of these types can border on the frivolous, but the main idea is to allow teams an idea of what kind of connect to solve, given the profusion of connect types. Without it, it becomes quite difficult to sort out the connect. At any rate, that was the thinking behind that idea.

Concluding part of this piece in a few days time. Comments welcome as usual.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

The Quiz at BMCC

Today the Brihan Maharashtra College of Commerce, a sister institution to our great college (FC College, as I believe they call us) conducted a quiz as a part of a larger inter college fest. I think the quiz was the event in the fest, because as we came in, the Principal was speaking. After that august personage had finished his discourse, the quiz began. Ominously, however all the participants were from colleges like FC, Gokhale Institute. It may even be that these colleges were the only two to come to BMCC. What could we expect from a quiz that couldn't even attract colleges from more that 100 meters away?

Well, it began. For the first time my life, I saw an elim sheet printed landscape style. There were 25 questions, with 10 minutes allotted for the solution thereof. The questions ranged in difficulty from "Who won the 1992 Cricket World Cup?" to "Which was the first bank in India to introduce Visa cards?" (Andhra Bank). Also, perplexingly, the elims had half a mark per question, making for a total of 12.5 for the elims. The spine chillingly boneheaded reason for this did not become apparent till later, after the quiz was over.

The elims finished, and it transpired that Rohit Bahulekar (ESPN Sports Quiz 2004 winner) and I had made it to the finals, the other four finalists being BMCCians (it was a lone ranger quiz). There were four rounds, all with the stupidest format ever. The first round had two questions per participant, which did not pass, and with a mind numbing 45 seconds per question. The questions again ranged in difficulty from "From where did Alexander the Great hail?" (they accepted "Greece" as an answer) to " In what year was Citibank established in India?". There were a lot of questions involving new appointments to post like the Attorney General, National Security Advisor and CEC, which largely went unanswered. Then there was the audio visual round, where we had to draw lots for which picture/clip we answered, which was easy to the point of childishness (eg A picture of John Kerry, who we were asked to identify). Then there was a really screwed up speed round. One of the questions was "What does the Mercedes logo refer at (sic)?" After 10 seconds of trying to figure that one out, I blabbered something, just praying for the fiasco to end. The last round was a speciality round. On a geography speciality, a guy who was asked, "Of what is Silvassa the capital?" answered Dadra and Nagar Haveli. The QM answered, "No, its Dadra and Nagar Haveli". It was horrible.

Finally it finished. And now for the piece de resistance. "The score of the finals will be converted to a score out of 12.5 and then be added to the score of the elims to give an aggregate out of 25 which will determine the winner." What?!

In conclusion, the quiz was as the immortal Swati Joshi (who is regrettably not with us anymore :)) put it, a "highest mountain quiz". In fact, they asked that.

QM: "What is the second highest mountain in the world?" Participant: "Kanchenjunga." QM: "Actually its K2, but I'll give it to you."

I think if Abhishek goes ahead with his plans for a Quizzing Awards ceremony, this should definitely be nominated for the quizzing Razzy.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Notes from 'Centre of India, Heart of India'

Sohel Bohra had been to a quiz in Indore. Here are some of his notes from that event:

Indore Management Association held its annual India Brand Guru quiz for the fourth consecutive year last weekend. The business quiz focuses mainly on brands but since the line between a brand quiz and a business quiz is fine, it can safely be considered a business quiz. This year abt 40 odd corporate teams and 100 odd student teams took part. Harish Bijoor was the quizmaster. He kept calling Indore the 'Centre of India, Heart of India', hence the odd title of this blog. Most teams, to be honest, were there for the prizes rather than the quiz per say. At stake are cars, laptops, fridges, etc. Every quarter-finalist gets a prize. Hence over 36 teams take home decent prizes.

The quiz had a new round this year. A written pre-qualifier was added which 36 teams (corporate and students) each wrote to get into the qualifiers. 18 each qualify from this for the quarter-finals. The quarters had 20 questions on the buzzer. Top 2 from each round of 6 make it to the semi-finals. Top 3 from the six make make it to the finals. The student teams (3) and the coporates (another 3) compete against each other only in the finals.

Among the participants, most usual suspects of business quizzing had come to take part. Your correspondent lost out in the quarters to an error of the quizmaster which cost him a berth in the semis. The quiz is notorious for oversights and rehashing previous questions from last years quizzes.

The first quarters was keenly fought among all teams. Last years winner Arvind Khusape (then from IIML) too lost out here. It appears that unfairly the top 6 teams from the 18 were clubbed in one quarters.

He learns that Sun Microsystems won the quiz. A round of lone wolf takes part for the top 2 teams from which a Brand Mahaguru is chosen. Mitesh of Sun won the title taking home a Maruti 800.

:: Sohel

Sohel also points to an open business quiz at NITIE. Details at

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

SEAP Quiz 2004

The SEAP Quiz 2004 was held on Saturday the 25th September in Persistent Systems' Dewang Mehta Auditorium. 24 Teams turned up, something of a disappointment, but probably attributable to the fact that the quiz was only open to SEAP member companies (Don't blame the QM for this, he had no say in it).


Parimal Puranik and C. Phani (Calsoft)
Srihari Suthamally and Sudarshan Purohit (Persistent)
Manish Manke and Kartik Jayaraman (Geometric)
Vaidyanathan K.A. and Venkata Kiran G.P. (Kanbay)
Niranjan Tulpule and Satwik Hebbar (Calsoft)
Siddharth Madhusudan and Parag Shetye (Synechron)

The prelims were quite close with the first four placers separetd by a point apiece. Two Calsoft teams - Niranjan and Satwik, and Uma Chingunde and Vaibhav Nirargi - tied, and because of the only-two-teams-from-the-same-company cap for the finals had to play off in a tie breaker for the fifth spot. As if that wasn't enough there was a three way tie for the sixth spot. One team, Don Ksare (Spelling?) and Saurav Lenka (Kanbay) was eliminated because of a lower score on the starred questions, which still left Synechron and another Kanbay team Paresh Navalakha and L. Subramanian to face off in the tie break. Three tie-break questions proved insufficient and the tie break went to sudden death. Synechron made it through by virtue of knowing that "Fidelio" was Beethoven's only Opera.

The finals were an 8 round Infinite Rebounds affair, with 7 "Classic" rounds and 1 "Stage Two" (in Bangalore quizzing parlance). Your correspondent, being actively involved in the organizing will leave it to others to comment on the quality of the questions; slightly more than 60% were answered. It was quite close till the end: On the last question (which as it happened nobody got), any one of four teams could have won with 10 points. True to form the two Calsoft teams tied for second place, necessitating another tie break. Three tie break questions and they were still tied, so another dose of sudden death was called for. On the second question Niranjan and Satwik won thanks to a greater familiarity with Richard Stallman's alter ego of St. IGNUcious of the church of Emacs.

Final Scores and Placings:

Srihari Suthamally and Sudarshan Purohit (Persistent) 65 Winners
Niranjan Tulpule and Satwik Hebbar (Calsoft) 60 Runners Up
Parimal Puranik and C. Phani (Calsoft) 60
Siddharth Madhusudan and Parag Shetye (Synechron) 55
Manish Manke and Kartik Jayaraman (Geometric) 30
Vaidyanathan K.A. and Venkata Kiran G.P. (Kanbay) 30

:: One of the organisers

Monday, September 27, 2004

In the past few weeks...

Some of the quizzes that one would wish he/she had not attended, but though deserve some mention were the 3 ones in AISSMS. It seems, a new quizzing pattern (lets call it AISSMS pattern) has emerged. Consider these:-

  1. Direct & Pass (though one of them had a 'new' system called 'Infinite Remote').
  2. A round where one team member selects a topic for his partner. If unanswered, the question passes not to the teams, but to the first partner.
  3. Audio-visuals provided 'live' by the college talents.
  4. Trailing teams get knocked out after every 2 rounds.
  5. The finale is between 2 teams following the pattern of CNBC 'The Challenge'.

Other quizzes that took place were Vedant and the TVS Tyres SmarTest. In all of them, the drawbacks of D&P showed - nastily. Major upsets and major cribs and frustrations. The quality of questions is becoming a secondary issue. Waiting for a good quiz with IR.

TVS Tyres SmarTest

First the results:-

1st: FC - Kunal & Ulka

2nd: VIT - Ganesh & Kunal

3rd: VIT - Siddharth & Salil

Other finalists: -

VIT: Anupam & Anand

SCOE: Mohit & Akshay

MESCOE: Aditya & Srinivas

Big prize money, 2 semifinals, decent questions, irritating QM, D & P, some weird unnecessary rounds. Comments plz.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

The Quiz at BJ Medical College, Vedant

Venue: Mahatma Gandhi Auditorium, BJ Medical College, Pune.

Winners: Siddharth Dani & Salil Bijur (VIT) - Team F

Runners Up: (AFMC) - Team E

3rd Place: Kunal Sawardekar & Ulka Athale (FC) - Team C

4th Place: Sanket Anekar & Aditya Chandorkar (FC) - Team A

5th Place: Vivek Venkatraman + 1 (BJMC) - Team D

6th Place: Kunal Thakar & Ganesh Hegde (VIT) - Team B


- The Quizmaster, perhaps because of his not having been to too many quizzes, completely underestimated the level of the quizzers attending his quiz. Out of a total of 30 Elims questions, the cutoff was 24 with all stars. This same lack of faith in the participants manifested itself in the finals.

- The Khashaba Jadhav question featured in the Elims yet again.

- There were some very weird rounds. One was the RIM round, where all questions were based on their sponsors, Reliance India Mobile (eg, "What is the full form of CDMA?"). Another round involved choosing to answer either an easy or a difficult question. The difficult questions were marked +30-10, while the easy ones were a flat +10. The criteria for classification as either easy or difficult were however skewed, to put it mildly.

- The Quizmaster was one of that dying breed of quizzers who obstinately refuse to adopt Infinite Rebounds. The scoring system in place here was D&P 10+5.

- The last round was a Speed Round with 12 questions per team. Astonishingly for a 10+5 quiz, each Speed Round question carried 10 points. This obviously changed the course of the quiz completely, with some teams making spectacular gains and others falling behind.

- There were some nice, difficult, workable questions, which somehow all appeared in our Speed Round and totally sunk us.

- The audience was restive, and at times rowdy, perhaps because very few questions escaped the teams to pass on to them. The two audience prizes that were awarded were presented in style, with a member of the faculty being called to give them to the lucky winners up on stage.

- All in all, the quiz was an honest effort that somehow fell short of our expectations for such a big quiz. The Quizmaster was a decent chap, who just messed up in what was probably his first college quiz.


Team A: 3D, 1P, 7NA, (+30+0), 70SR = 135 Total.

Team B: 5D, 1P, 6NA, (-10-10), 90SR = 125 Total

Team C: 5D, 4P, 4NA, (+30+10), 50SR = 160 Total

Team D: 2D, 0P, 10NA, (-10+30), 90SR = 130 Total

Team E: 3D, 2P, 6NA, (-10+30), 120SR = 180 Total

Team F: 6D, 2P, 6NA, (-10+30), 100SR = 190 Total.

(D = Direct Qns Answered, P = Passed Qns Answered, NA = Not Answered, SR = Speed Round score, Parenthesis indicate Difficult/Easy round score)

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

I.Q. at Techstasy (VIT)

I.Q. was the quiz which was a part of Techstasy, an inter-college event organised by Comp & IT dept. of VIT.


1st: Kunal Sawardekar, Anirudh Shiva [FC]

2nd: Ganesh Hegde, Siddharth Dani [VIT]

Other finalists:

Nikhil Kundargi, Neil Mehta [ PICT ]

Anand Ayyadurai, Anupam Akolkar [VIT]

Anand, Pratik [SCIT]

Organized by: Harsh Ketkar, Kunal Thakar, Salil Bijur

Monday, September 20, 2004

Calling for groupies

Face it, if you are a regular reader of this blog and believe in the associated pastime, then you're not very likely to become a groupie of some rock group. Instead, why not become a group member for this blog and contribute to match reports, contemporary state of quizzing and other features?

Note: Not looking for frivolous commentary here (that's restricted only to me).

The Pinnacle Quiz (SIT)

Results 1st: Kunal Sawardekar [FC], Salil Bijur [VIT]
2nd: Nikhil Kundargi [ PICT ], Neil Mehta [ PICT ]
3rd: Hrishikesh Kavade [SIT] (???) [SIT]
Other finalists: Siddharth Dani [VIT] & Kunal Thakar [VIT], Rashmi Vadnagare[VIT] & Harsh Ketkar [VIT], & a SIT team

The Organizers: Akshay Pande & Akshay Raut

Notes: * The quality of the questions was quite respectable although they did tend to be a bit obscure at times . A lot of all-around passes ensured a pretty low scoring quiz.

* organized at SIT[Sinhagad College Of Engineering Pune]

* This is the second year running that a quiz has been organized at SIT. (I think) that last year it had been under the aegis of the computer department . This year's version was managed by the Electronics And Telecommunications department.

:: Report by Nikhil

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Inquizzition winners

Winners at Fergusson College, Pune's annual quiz:

2000 : Gaurav Sabnis & Neeraj Sane (COEP)
2001 : Manish Mahajan & Arka Bhattacharya (COEP)
2002 : Samrat Sengupta & J. Ramanand (PSPL)
2003 : Samrat Sengupta & Sudarshan Purohit (PSPL)
2004 : Amit Garde & Hareeth Sridhar (PSPL)

I've started this to maintain these lists for future reference - will add to incorporate runners-up & finalists et al

Inquizzition - V

Date: 4 Sep 2004


1st: Persistent Systems Pvt Ltd - Amit Garde & Hareeth Sridhar
2nd: Infosys Pune/Accenture - Dibyasree (?) + 1
3ed: BCQC - Gaurav Sabnis & J. Ramanand
Other finalists: Sinhagad COE, Meghashyam & Asavari Shirodkar, Amit Varma & Siddhartha V. (Wisden Cricinfo)

Set by: Quest - FC Quizzing Circle

Conducted by: Kunal Sawardekar


* PSPL won for the third year running, but 5 different people have been involved in these wins!

* Interesting (to me atleast :-) ) observation: on all occasions (actually on 4 out of 5 occasions I have witnessed, not sure about 2001), either Team A or B (which sit on the left side to the audience on stage) has ended up victorious!

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Quizeitgeist - I

Not sure how many have seen Google's Zeitgeist page, something that is rarely less than revelatory.

From the bottom of the very page:

zeit·geist | Pronunciation: 'tsIt-"gIst, 'zIt | Function: noun | Etymology: German, from Zeit (time) + Geist (spirit) | Date: 1884 |
Meaning: the general intellectual, moral, and cultural climate of an era

Quizzes over a period of time establish their own zeitgeist. Most good annual quizzes achieve an invisible spirit and discernible patterns of their own which characterize them and their times. Quite often they are reflective of the people behind them, but many times they are indicative of trends and inclinations of their times. You'll also find a lot of grizzled quizzers shaking their heads at the "new age" of quizzing; this sport of ours is prone to the theory of the generation gap.

This post attempts to capture this slightly undefinable feeling and kicks off a small attempt to continually monitor the quizzing ethos of these times - flawed the results maybe, but they may turn up interesting insights as well. As ever, contributions welcome and maybe I need to have a better place for people to note them down.

A few observations from the past:

"Dis-top-pick-a": the topics of choice

* Tintin and Asterix: quintessential quizzing topics, with Asterix especially being very anecdote-trivia-friendly with the derivative names and the retro-history.

* Sherlock Holmes: classical quizzing is never without reference to the ultimate private detective. Even today, Sigerson or Tibet or the Reichenbach or the Napoleon of Crime are invoked in almost every quiz.

* Pink Floyd: something perhaps to do with quizzing youth discovering quizzing and rock music in college (sometimes just fashionably) simultaneously. Again, PF are a trivia friendly music group, with associations with DNA & Hawking serving them well.

* Douglas Adams: watch out for questions #42 or #21, try guessing Douglas Adams if you have no better guess. DNA is much beloved in the quizzing world, who pay homage whenever they can.

* Google: displaced Apple as the most trivia-friendly corporation on earth. They lay out the carpet for quiz-setters and we respond as if in honeyed seduction. Plus the fact that "Coolge" is *the* weapon of choice for the quiz-setter.

* Olympics & World Cup cricket: So much gets added every 4 years that we don't mind really.

* Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron, Andaaz Apna Apna, Sholay and more: Atleast you'll hear a lot about them at the BC.

* Richard P.Feynman, Oppenheimer and the rest: admittedly no more at their peak, but quite the rage in BC circles about 3-4 years ago.

* Harry Potter and LOTR: These strong contenders in the last few years have meant that ambitious quizzers need to stock up on them. Quizzers prone to snubbing their noses at these upstart topics, well, just don't make finals anymore :-)

* Formula One: All I know about F-1, I learnt from listening to questions. Sad (me of course).

Topics for later: QZG at Annual quizzes.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

The Worst Quiz I Ever Won

A stone's throw away(a paper airplane's throw away?) from the Pune Railway Station, stands Byramjee Jeejeebhoy Medical College (BJMC) one of the most reputed med-schools in Western India. This august institution was the scene for the worst quiz I have ever won.

The notice for the quiz was put up on the COEP Boat Club one rainy day when i was in Third Year. It was the part of BJMC's annual fest(!!). The exact name of the fest presently eludes me, but it was one of Ganesha's names. I am always game for any quiz, so I enthusiastically called up the organisers and registered for it. The first omen was the non-availability of my regular quizzing partner, Neeraj. He had to go out of station. It however gave me the opportunity to team up with Saket, another classmate of mine.

Both of us reached BJMC. The scene of the quiz was a lecture hall that made COEP's M-13 look like the floor of a posh call centre. And anyone who has attended a lecture/PPT in M-13 will grasp the gravity of the comment. General din prevailed. the whole scene could have easily passed as the lower house of the Indian parliament. For some reason, the hall was littered with paper airplanes. Then we saw guys generally aiming those airplanes at girls!!

Anyhoo, getting to the quiz. First there were written elims. The elims sheet was cyclostyled!! Who cyclostyles anything nowadays? The questions were atrocious. A few samples

- Who was the first Indian to win the Oskar(sic) Prize(sic)?
- Which Indian woman recently achieved(sic) the Booker Prize?
- Name all four tennis grandslams

The highlight of the elims was the question - "Who was the first indian to win a bronze medal at Olympic Awards(sic)?"

While giving out the answer to this particular question, the quizmaster raised one hand up and shouted "IT WAS KHASHABA JADHAV FROM KOLHAAAAAAAAPUUUUUUUUUUR!!". A section of the crowd, no doubt from Kolhapur, starting banging the benches in glee, and for about 5 minutes there were several cheers in Marathi for a five-decade-old medal.

Anyway, I'm ashamed to say we topped the elims. Other teams on the stage included a team from BJMC (not their regular team), and two from our beloved AFMC.

The questions in the finals made the elims look great. They were as sidey as can get. Throughout the quiz, paper airplanes continued to be showered. A friend later told me, this is a tradition in BJMC.

Saket and I won quite easily in the end. One of the victories that you dont mention on your CV.

Monday, August 30, 2004

Inquizzition Announcement

- Date: 4th September 2004.

- Venue: Fergusson College Amphitheater.

- Registrations start 11:00am. All registrations will be on the spot.

- Elims begin 12:00pm. Elims will last for 45 minutes.

- Finals start 2:30pm.

- Teams of two. The quiz will be an open quiz.

- Entry Fee: Rs. 50/- for Corporates/Non College teams.
                 Rs. 30/- for College teams.

- Prizes: Rs. 6000/- for the winning team.
            Rs. 4000/- for the first runners up.
            Rs. 2000/- for the third runners up.
            Lots of great audience prizes will also be given.

- For more details, contact: Kunal Sawardekar (# 9850160475)

Notes on recent quizzes

* Kunal Sawardekar's tales of "roaring rampages of revenge" at Malhar 2004: here and there.

BTW, he and his FC teammates brought back a neat haul from "Jhavier" winning "North by Northwest" and coming 2nd in the Book Quiz. Nice!

* A typical BVHK post on his experiences at The Landmark Quiz 2004 at Chennai.

* The Hindu's report of the Landmark Quiz

Crucible (Tata quiz) : Pune Round results

Date: 16 July 2004


1st: Renaissance (Ranjan Banerjee & Ajay Kolhatkar?)
2nd: Daimler-Chrysler(Sohel Bohra + 1)
3rd: Geometric SSL (Manish Manke & Kartik Jayaraman ?) & HSBC
Other finalists: SDRC, Leading Edge

Set and Conducted by: Giri "Pickbrain" Balasubramaniam


* Thanks to Manish & Sohel for first hand accounts

* Renaissance continue to be the best Biz quizzers in Pune, having won Brand Equity twice now in Pune and now the Tata quiz, and given that the Shrirang/Amalesh Infy-joDi is no longer in business.

SCIT Software quiz results

Date: 6 Aug 2004


1st: VIT - Salil & Kunal
2nd: VIT - Anand & Anupam
3ed: VIT - Ganesh & Siddharth
Other finalists: SCIT, IIIT, SCMHRD

Set and Conducted by: Ramanand


* Positions in the finals were decided by the teams themselves, in descending order of scores in the elims

* Instead of starting with Team A as usual, lots were drawn to decide the beginning (turned out to be Team C)

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Tata Crucible — The business quiz - Pune round

The Tata’s are conducting an all India Business Quiz for corporates. Details are at this link.

Pune round is scheduled on July 15 (Thursday); time: 4pm Venue

Symbiosis Institute of Management Studies,
Range Hills Road,
Kirkee Cantonment,
Pune 411020

Thanks to Manish for the alert.

Sunday, June 13, 2004

A history of the Verve Quiz - 1998 to 2004

A collective gnashing of teeth and muttered imprecations and a general rise in profanity levels would accompany any recounting of the madness of the events of the past connected with the conduct of the Verve quizzes. Verve is the name of the inter-college festival organised by the Express Youth Forum (belonging to the Indian Express, Pune) and has a quiz as part of the many competitions that make the whole fest. Principally due to the fact that the quizzes have been (except on three occasions) been organised by those EYF guys who didn't know the word "quiz" started with a "Q", Verve has been the scene for some incredibly astonishing gaffes and infuriating formats. A full recap follows.

If anyone is wondering why then do the Verve quizzes have any mainstream relevance, it is only due to the fact that it is the sole quiz that makes the headlines in the colleges. Hardly anyone in one's college (this was particularly true in COEP during our time) knew anything about the Mensas, or the Shyam Bhats or the B C Joshis. If you thought you were the quizzing studs of the college, well, to prove it to them, you had to win Verve. Also was allied the points that were obtained from a top three finish in the quiz could help decide where the college stood in the end result. There was no explaining to the quizzing Luddites that unlike a street play or a rangoli contest, a quiz had several unknown variables to it - something that was amply demonstrated by the EYF organisers of the quiz (whose faces can still be seen on the posters on quizzing walls that demand their capture for a million dollars to aid a public lynching - strong words indeed, but entirely justified as you will see).

I restrict myself to only the period between 1998 to 2004, as they're the only ones I know anything about.

Verve 1998

Ok, I don't know much about this. Only that an ex-COEPian quizzer Sanjeev "Sancho" Chandran did the questions and so Verve didn't live up to its Bizarro reputation. Those were the days of a single college team with three members, so Sujay & me obviously didn't make the COEP team which won. (Digression: The only ramification of Verve that year was George turning up late for the Mensa quiz (held on the previous day of the Verve final) since he was caught up in transport and orchestra woes. As a result, George & Kunal missed qualifying and Sujay & I could win 2nd place, our 1st ever top-3 finish in a college quiz.) From all reports, the questions were decent and there were no rumblings.


1st: COEP [George Thomas, Kunal Vaed, Vikram Shirgur]
2nd: BVP [Anand Sivashankar and others]
3rd: [not known]

Verve 1999

Bizarro Verve bared its fangs. Personally, it had been a good run that season, so Sujay and I were looking forward to the next Verve, partly in hopes of putting up a good show and gaining the recognition as the next best team in COEP after George & Kunal (there were about 8 good quizzers then, so quite a tussle). Also, the rules of participation had changed; now there could be two teams from a college of two members each. The elims were horrendous. The organization of Ken-U (officially the name of the quiz) had gone indigenous, and the questions were awful. Boring and factual, with no scope for any guesswork. A collective curse rose in the air.

Much to our surprise, both COEP teams had made it (I think the scores were very low because of the poor elims and there were a few close calls and tie-breakers applied). Also in were AFMC & AIT. The fun was to begin soon. After the customary cheering by collegian supporters in the packed classroom and the frowns and threats of eviction by the EYF guys (one female in particular had made it into an art form annually), the rules were announced. Contrary to expections, there were to be no arguments on whether there ought to be infinite rebounds, or if there should be conventional passing. For, surprise, surprise, there was to be no passing at all! Questions would be asked in turn to all the teams, but they didn't pass. I think all the teams, instead of being indignant, just burst out laughing. But that didn't alter the mood of the hosts. So that's the way the quiz was conducted. The other five teams would doze off when a team was answering its direct. I remember George having his arms folded and the middle digit of one exposed hand extended out where the audience could see it but not the EYF guys (perhaps they saw it too, but who dared argue with George Thomas Superstar ;-) ). It so happened that the two COEP teams found themselves tied for third and there would be a buzzer to break the tie. The answer was "Hannibal Lecter" and I buzzed (did GT & Jitu purposely not buzz?) to give us a much appreciated third place (some credibility at home inspite of the pathetic pitch). The Legend of Verve was underway at last.


1st: AFMC [Shubhrojit Bhattacharya, Dipanjan De]
2nd: AIT [Shrikant Chander, Samrat Sengupta]
3rd: COEP [Sujay Prakash, J. Ramanand]
Finalists: COEP [George & Jitendra Gokhale] and two other teams.

Verve 2000

Yet another year. Again the organization stays in-house. The results don't improve by much. The elims weren't great but most of the usual suspects made it through. Sujay & I felt the pressure as the team was regarded so highly that our college almost put their "joker" on us (we managed to dissuade them from it). The finals started seemingly on the right note as there were no format shockers. But the hosting was a little wierd, and we had the curious phenomenon of some host swapping in the middle of the quiz. Bad sound equipment didn't help. The questions were poorly framed and gave no one any joy. PICT were in their element that day and so were the hitherto unknown team from St. Vincents. Personally, a bad day at the office and overall, the label of poor organization stuck even more firmly.


1st: PICT [Hirak Parikh, Shyam]
2nd: AIT [Shrikant Chander, Samrat Sengupta]
3rd: St. Vincents
Finalists: AIT[Kapil Dahiya, Navneet Bal], COEP [Ramanand, Sujay], AFMC [Ravi Bhatia+1].

Verve 2001

Final attempt at Verve for me! We wanted a fair shot at the title unsullied by some strange pitch conditions. Luckily for all of us, Capt. Shankar, SC who was in Pune that year wondered if he could do the quiz. Which all of us strongly supported. To their credit, the EYF guys relented. The elims were done and a few surprises in store. COEP's second team didn't qualify, nor did Swapnil's BVP team (they got in later as the 6th team didn't come). A couple of unknown teams too. For the only time I can remember, the venue was one befitting a quiz . The only major hitch there was the quiz started about 2 hours late! Shankar also didn't want to have Infinite Rebounds, but no one made a real fuss as we knew we were in capable hands (though I still disagree with that decision!). Shankar believes that the audience must be the main focus of the question setting, and he had a couple of interesting rounds that day. PICT, defending their crown, took an early lead, but somehow we caught up (brown sweater magic trick perhaps?) and after a tense buzzer (where we gave our supporters some missed heartbeats), we'd finally won! Thanks again to Shankar for giving us a quiz where we had a decent chance.


1st: COEP [J. Ramanand, Sujay Prakash]
2nd: PICT [Hirak, Shyam]
3rd: FC
Finalists: BVP [Swapnil+1], PUMBA[Javed+1], SIFT(?).

Verve 2002

Funnily enough, EYF retained its sanity long enough to allow an outsider to do the quiz. Hirak eschewing the opportunity to easily sweep the quiz again volunteered to do the quiz (a good move). The hard time he received at the hands of EYF belied the expectations that they had learnt a lesson from the previous year. Instead, they asked him to get a question bank for 100 questions that *they* would choose from. A compromise was arrived at apparently. Then they gave poor Hirak a dingy dungeon to hold the quiz in, in comparison to which COEP's Electrical Labs looked post-modern. (If you're wondering how I witnessed all of this inspite of having graduated by then, I point to my self-renewed ID card, as do Samrat and Harish.) Hirak did a fine quiz, with some novel rounds. COEP took 1-2 this time.


1st: COEP [Gaurav Sabnis, Neeraj Sane]
2nd: COEP [Manish Mahajan, Arka Bhattacharya]
3rd: BJMC [Shivaji, Vivek](?)
Finalists: ??

Verve 2003

I am yet to meet anyone who was there during the final of the 2003 quiz. I didn't attempt to sneak under the tent this year and preferred to get the news from the BC blokes. The only hitch was none of them made it through, in what many have conjectured were the worst elims thus far. On top of it, no one was allowed to even watch the finals on the grounds that EYF didn't want anyone to "disturb the finalists". There is a lot of doubt as to whether that final even took place, for there seem to have been no survivors. No one can recall a team that was in that final. No one knows who won (no word appeared in the newspaper, AFAIK). It will go down in history with the tales of the Bermuda Triangle, and the alien autopsy at Area 54.


<start spooky sound>~~~~~~~~no one knows~~~~~~~~<end spooky sound>
Verve 2004

However this time some did escape and live to tell the tale. Apparently it rocked Bizarro-Verve-style again. I'll let some of those battle-scarred contestants to leave comments on their experiences there (please use the blogger comments for sake of permanence) and why they've taken to alcoholism as a result. (Please also tell me the exact names of the winners and finalists, I seem to have forgotten.)


1st: VIT
2nd: BJMC [Shivaji, Vivek](?)
3rd: BJMC []
Finalists: ??

In the end
In summary, if you are an EYF member, please stop having your quizzes if you cannot get someone decent to organize and conduct it. And yes, the name Brain-Sync may be better than Ken-U in the corniness ratings, but only marginally.

Friday, June 11, 2004

UCQ Results

Kunal S. alerts about the results of UCQ (this link)which aren't great if you are a Pune quizzer. No Pune team made it to the list of 24, but AFMC (#26) and VIT(#28) are the two standby teams. There goes my career as a quizzing psephologist too.

Looking at the other results, two guys who took their elims in Pune (K. Anil Kumar - IIM-Cal and Kiritee Mishra from IIT-Kanpur) made it. Interesting to note that old pal Sidharth Chauhan from ILS Bangalore has made it too. Can see a few other ex-MMI participants as well. Incidentally, no teams from ISB (on standby), MDI or last year's winners SPCE seem to have been selected.

Best wishes to the teams.

Sunday, June 06, 2004

UCQ 2004 - Pune elims

I was the (unwilling) local Pune coordinator for the UCQ written elims. The questions were typically Synergy-like, a good mix of all topics, a slant towards current affairs in all areas, 50 decent questions (not all entirely workable). Was quite appalled by the turnout, just 5 full teams from 4 colleges. VIT had two and FC, last year's city representatives AFMC, and SIMS making up the rest. No COEP, no AIT. Siddharth Natarajan informs me of the difficulty of getting 3 others, and I can only feel for him. Sad state of affairs.

Speaking in a personal capacity, I think FC have a great chance of qualifying. They're sure to do par and above in their elims as they have a good team in Kunal, Shakti, Ashish and Sangita. They also have several other "profile" related advantages - they're Arts students (not the usual mgmt|engineers), have a female participant (without detracting from your quizzing aptitude Sangita :-) ) and their college is fairly well-known. AFMC made it last year and their team doesn't seem to be as strong as last year. I'm sure the team of Ganesh-Salil-Siddharth-Kunal will do well in the elims too, but methinks their relative obscurity and common profile will require them to be in the top slice of the national standings to improve their chances. I really hope two teams are picked (actually, considering that MDI gave their test in Pune last time, they might have been the other Pune centre team). I don't know much about the other teams except for Anand, so won't speculate about their chances.

Whoever makes it through can expect a lot of support and aid (if required) from the other guys in Pune's quizzing circle. I may be able to help in spotting some typical Synergy patterns and BVHK would know a great deal more about UCQ and the best preparations for it.


For the extremely long hiatus of posts in this blog. Pliss to expect a flurry of activity on these pages.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Testing new Blogger Features

Testing new Blogger Features

This is a test! Believe me!

Monday, April 12, 2004

ESPN School Sports Quiz

The new series is on air, with (unnecessarily, IMHO) jazzy sets. I have a question: Did they have options for the last round, i.e. in Fortius? in the previous editions? I don't know why they have it - it gives the not-so good teams some parity with the crackerjacks.

World Quizzing Championship?

Shrirang via Harish points to UK's Largest Quizzing Organisation" and the mention of a World Quizzing Championship.

University Challenge 2004-05

The new Synergy website mentions the second series of UCQ and it looks like they are accepting registrations for the same. This link gives the necessary info.

Thursday, March 25, 2004

College Bowl a.k.a Quizzing in the U.S

In continuation to College bowl explained - II


1. Mainly academic in nature with almost around a 80:20 ratio leaning toward facts from standard academic subjects such as the natural sciences, math, history, geography, social sciences etc. Pure trivia and popular culture (i.e. movies, TV, music etc.) makes up the rest. This is the view of several College Bowl veterans here in my univ who have played it since their high school.

2. All questions are set by independent quiz masters and have to be purchased for a fee from the College Bowl organization that conducts regional competitions and national finals.

Sample questions (from a set from the Univ. of Alabama, posted in the files section of the QuizBowl Yahoo group):

1. It radiates three times as much heat into space as it gets from the sun. Some of Earth's best pictures of it were obtained by Pioneer 11, Voyager 1 and Voyager 2. For 10 points--what planet's Cassini division is located between its A and B rings?
answer: Saturn

2. The 20,000 pounds he bet on his trip was less than half of what he was accused of stealing from the Bank of England. For 10 points--who returned to London in December 1872 after going Around the World in 80 Days?
answer: Phileas Fogg

3. The province of Kosovo now uses the German mark as its currency, bypassing--for 10 points- what monetary unit used not only throughout the rest of Yugoslavia, but also in Tunisia, Jordan, and Algeria?
answer: dinar

4. This 1968 invention now has unusual versions that include one for left-handers, one that uses an LED instead of a rubber ball, and one where the index finger is higher than the middle finger. For 10 points--what computer device even has a tailless version called a "hamster"?

answer: mouse

5. Some consider it a "fictional force" because it is directed outward from the axis of rotation only when the frame of reference is accelerating. For 10 points--what force disappears when the reference point is stationary but can be felt inside a car as it goes around a curve?
answer: centrifugal force (not "centripetal")

College Bowl Tournaments

The College Bowl club in my univ has just about 10 regular members in it (attendence varies between 6 and 8 people every week), every week we just form two teams comprising of who ever is present and play among ourselves for as long as the practice questions downloaded from the College Bowl website last (usually around 4 to 5 sets of questions are downloaded every week).

For the campus tournament, we (the univ paid for it and organized it) had to buy question packets from the College Bowl Organizers. The questions for the campus tournaments were/are the same for all campuses holding such tournaments. So these tournaments are usually held on the same day. This year it was on the 25th of January. The tournament attracted 12 entries and hence we just formed three teams of four members each and played round robin games. The top two teams that won the maximum games faced off in the final.

The issues that I can think about right now that anyone wanting to organize such a tournament would be facing are with regards to the number of questions, the quality and the infrastructure. Let's say that there are "n" teams wanting to play in such a tournament. There are three different ways to do the whole tournament - Single Elimination, Double Elimination and Round Robin.

* The Single Elimination system is a pure knock-out system. The teams play each other and teams get knocked off as soon as they are defeated once.

Pros: Accommodates a high number of teams; low resources (i.e questions) needed
Cons: Good teams may be eliminated after one bad match
Number of games: n-1 (where n is the number of teams in the tournament)

* The Double Elimination system knocks out teams once they have been defeated twice.

Pros: Every team plays at least twice; seems to be the most popular format
Cons: Can be time consuming and resource intense; good teams could still suffer from a bad draw.
Number of games: 2n-1 (if number of teams is 10, games = 19)

* Round Robin Tournament is self explanatory. Every team plays every other team atleast once. It is left to the organizers to hold semis and then finals or just declare the team with the best record as the winner.

Pros: Every team plays every other team once; good format for small team numbers
Cons: The most time and resource intensive; no build up to the ultimate final champion if organizers choose not to hold a final game between top two teams
Number of games: [(n)(n-1)/2] (ie: 10 teams=45 games)

Some explanations regarding the tournaments:

The single elimination system is termed a "low resource" system because games can be held simultaneously at different places with the same questions. Let's say that there are 4 teams involved. Then just three games and two question sets would be needed to find out who wins. The first two games to eliminate teams can be held simultaneously with the same question set. And the final game between the winners requires another set of questions. The same system can be used for the Double elimination and Round Robin system too, but that would depend on the number of teams invovled in the tournament and some amount of slogging from the organizers. In any case, tournaments of this kind are unsuitable for large open quizzes like the ones made popular by Landmark etc. These would probably make good TV material though, if questions are chosen properly.

:: Anti

Monday, March 22, 2004

A list of general principles for fairness in conducting quiz finals

Since we are discussing formats old & new, I thought it would be a good idea to first jot down what are the parameters of comparison for fairness. The disclaimers here are that (a) these are my personal opinions, please leave comments behind so that this list can be stabilised to a unanimous set (b) these only apply to the normal quiz final format, no buzzers or special rounds are addressed here.

I think the following three major aspects have a bearing on the fair conduct of the final:

  1. The Passing Format
  2. Distribution of Questions in the Question Set
  3. The Order in which the Teams are Seated

The Passing Format:

This determines who gets the question first, to whom it passes next, and then who gets the next question. The most popular formats are IR and D&P. Here are what I think should be the parameters of interest:

  1. Each team should ideally have had the same (with tolerance) number of attempts at the end of the quiz. Here, "attempts" include "chances on passing" as well as "direct attempts". Since we cannot have all teams attempting all questions, this is the next best thing we can do. I have stats to show that using IR definitely achieves this goal. Since I don't have enough stats on D&P quizzes, I can't claim the same about D&P.
  2. Another important goal is to try and ensure that even at the unit level, similar number of attempts at questions have been provided to all teams. This essentially means that, say if the quiz has a set of rounds, there must not be a great distortion in the number of attempts for teams. Say it is a Sports round and 2 out of the 6 are the best in that area and can potentially get all 6. If the format causes one of those two to get 4 attempts and the other only 2, then it gives them an unfair advantage.

    There is a likelihood of this goal being violated in D&P. We know of certain combinations in D&P in which even though we may get the same number of attempts at the end, at certain points, there can be a massive skew. I have computed this only for the VIT-'04 quiz in the IR scenario, and it didn't seem to have this problem.

    Perhaps, if the questions are so well distributed and have very few specialised rounds (the best example being "Seamless quizzing" of which the only instance I've seen so far has been Chakravyuuh-'01 and a close version in the Mensa quizzes), this goal may not be important since things even out at the end. But especially with specialised rounds and for the psychological parity, I think this is important.

    This is the principle of Local Parity in which things are fair even in a smaller window of attempts - the Centaurian format uses this as the central theme. IR does have this.

    People may remember the minor quibble over the variation I had mentioned here which the VIT guys wanted to use but couldn't - preventing two questions going to the same team twice in a row helps Local Parity. Perhaps we'll talk about it another day in detail.

  3. A sub-goal that has emerged out of the collected stats has been the number of Directs to a team. It is widely felt that this number should be equal for all teams, and the newer format(s) essentially want to tackle the "anomaly" in IR where the number of Directs can be variable.

    Ok now, personally speaking I still don't believe in differentiating between a Direct attempt and an attempt on a pass. Apart from a minor psychological effect on the team with first shot, it has no real bearing on the events, IMHO. The only time this makes a difference is when the number of so-called "sitters" (where it is extremely well-known to a majority, has been asked before several times, and usually never gets passed at all) is higher than usual, the Directs can make a difference, especially when interspersed with tough questions. In this case, the more directs I get, the more sitters I have a probability of gaining and hence the advantage. The VIT-04 quiz is often cited as an example of this. I think it was a freak case where it so happened that a team that was both good and experienced was between two teams that were themselves getting a lot of correct answers. I haven't posted the Shyam Bhatt stats yet, but that shows that team A (us) got the highest number of directs - we still didn't win.

    However, if this goal can be achieved to to everyone's satisfaction, it could be useful. Again, this arrives out of improper distribution, so I feel we shouldn't find too many drastic solutions in the format to cover all the flaws there.

  4. It goes without saying that ideally, each question must have the same value attached to it. Since we've seen Connects that are large in scope and sometimes are never solved completely - perhaps we need to ensure that the amount of deduction & effort required from quizzers is also roughly the same. Connects, especially Visual ones, tend to overdo it.

Distribution of Questions in the Question Set

The focus has been on the format, but this is equally important. Would someone like to venture in enlisting goals for these?

The Order in which the Teams are Seated

Niranjan has been working on this too, so I would like to leave it for him to fill in.

Sunday, March 21, 2004

A Proposal For new Centaurian system of Scoring/Passing in quizzes

Life just got more exciting: Abhishek Nagaraj from F.C. sent in this proposal for a new format. I haven't read it, but promptly posting it here for instant dissemination. Abhishek: hope to send you some comments soon. Interestingly, you've pipped me to the post here - I've been thinking about a new format myself (like you, an amalgamation of D&P and IR) that I've been informally discussing with Niranjan and others. I'll post that here too for you to take a list. From what I've seen so far, your system is very close to what I came up myself (I'm not sure which of us is Newton and which one Leibnitz ;-) ) but I think that's because the motivations and the policies used are similar.

Abhishek, A latest copy of Niranjan's code can be made available by The Great One himself - Niranjan, could you please post it on inquizitive?

Will mull over it soon and we'll have lots of comments, I am sure. This blog is becoming highly inadequate for the amount of stuff that gets discussed here. We need something like twiki or Drupal or even an MT based blog.

A Proposal For new Centaurian system of Scoring/Passing in quizzes

There has been plenty of discussion on notes and stones blog and indeed at the various quizzes and meets that i have been a part of about infinite rebounds and D&P. However the major argument in the favour of IR is that
1. The final ranking is flatly based on the number of questions each team gets right.
2. The scoring for a correct answer should be the same
3. The number of questions each team gets to answer should be the same.

It has been seen by the data compiled till now that in IR 'mostly' the number of questions answered per team is same. However for eg in the VIT quiz the number of questions attempted varied very less from 23 to 25. That is really acceptable. However there is a large deviation in the total no of questions each team answered on the direct. This number varies from 7 to 15 which is huge considering the total no of questions answered is in 20s. Therefore there is more than 30% deviation of the total questions answered direct. This is the main argument in the case of D&P. The number of questions each team gets to ans direct is same. Many would say that does not matter whether a team answers it right or wrongly. There are many a questions to which a very obvious answer is wrong. The Frasier question is an example. Another example is the "god of construction and building" question in AFMC(though that was in the elims if in the finals it would have given a very obvious advantage to the passing teams). Many such examples can be given and i would say that there is a certain charm in these questions . They might be a good form of knowledge and entertainment(and indeed clearing basic fundas). We could call them PM(popular misconception) questions. These PMQs are the major bone of contention and this is the only point where D&P is better form than IR. While discussing this point with some ppl from FC there was a suggestion that such questions should not be set by the quizmaster in the finals. I feel this is escapism and too easy a way to solve the problem. There must be some method to cope with the problem of PMQ. Thus the major faults (which i percieve) in IR can be summed up as

1. Inequality in the no of direct questions
2. Give undue advantage in the case of PMQs.

My proposal intends to solve the both the problems.

What can be done is that the total no of direct attempts by each team be noted down. Once a question is answered or attempted by each and every person and there comes a time for the next question then the team with the least no of direct questions should be posed the next question. Following is some sample data


TEAM     A     B     C     D

     .     .
(where the dots represent no of direct attempts)
Consider following case. Direct Q to A - no one gets it. Therefore every team gets an attempt.Now B,C,D all have min no of direct Q answered. Then we go by alphabetical or round order(clockwise/anticlockwise)Then B gets direct Q. C answers correctly. Therefore as C & D both have min no of direct questions the order is decided by no of attempted questions(ie D gets next question). It is worth remarking that in this case the order is exactly like IR.


TEAM      A     B     C     D
     .     .     .     .     
          .     .
(where the dots represent no of direct & indirect attempts)
Now when D gets direct question suppose A answers it. Then according to above rule as C is the team with lowest no of direct attempts it should get the next question instead of B as in the case of IR. We must notice that IR penalizes team C for answering correctly by not giving it a direct question. This can be totally avoided by this method . It ensures that total no of direct questions remains the same. What we do is that we fill up the gaps in the table so that each team gets the same no of direct questions.
Now of both the no of direct attempts and total attempts show the same no, the the next question should go to the team which would have been asked the question if IR was followed(ie next team than the team to which the last question had been asked)
Thus one major drawback in the IR method is avoided and a major plus point of the D&P is added to the IR format. (see table)Therefore this is a kind of marriage between the two methods. I would like to call it the Centaurian method of scoring.

The second problem i feel gets automatically eliminated once the no of direct questions each team gets is the same. By the law of averages the no of such questions going direct or passed to each team will remain generally equal. Thus in a limited sense this problem is solved.

This system needs to be tested both in simulation as well as in real time. I am also working out a few details whether it would be better to see the indirect attempts table or the total attempts table(as i have done here) if the no of direct attempts is the same. I am trying out a comp. simulation for the same(but it is going to be in very very outdated QBASIC) I want comments from people on improving this system, will it really work, is it feasible to use it in real time etc etc. Also comments solicited on what the second table should be and what should be done if all the table are equal. Please do tell me if there are any flaws. There are a few which i would list out here :

1. Method too cumbersome - I don't subscribe to this point as it is not cumbersome for the participants or the audience but only to the scorer(who i feel have too easy a job with IR). The only problem will be the constant need of the scorer to communicate to the QM which team to ask the question next.Also if a comp is at disposal then the question of whom to answer the next question to becomes very easy with a simple program.

2. The problem of PMQs not completely and satisfactorily solved as this method quintessentially relies upon IR.

3. I personally do not have my simulator working and prob. wont have it working by day after. Therefore i yet have to test if the total no of attempts per team remains the same. If there is huge variation that will be a major fallacy in this method and probably will render it as good or as bad as the others. I will post my results again on sunday (provided my sim works). Lets keep our fingers crossed.

( PS : another idea is instead of using the direct questions table as given above we can directly give the next question to the team with the least no of questions attempted)

(PS: Just discussed this with a friend. He feels that for a quiz to be enjoyable the audience, and also the quizzers, scorers etc. need to understand the format. I don't agree)

:: Abhishek Nagaraj (cheerfulguy{at}rediffmail{point}com

Thursday, March 18, 2004

Discussion on the VIT quiz : Small Suggestion

A small addition I wished to make to the Discussion on the VIT quiz: would it be possible to re-christen the quiz to give it a better brand and add longevity to it, especially given that it will be an important addition to the circuit? Quiz-O-Mania doesn't quite fit that bill, especially given the Shyam Bhatts, Chakravyuuhs, B.C.Joshis and Inquizzitions around. Of course, VIT doesn't need to call it the Vaastu quiz (in-joke alert: refer Shyam Bhatt elims), but perhaps something new and interesting?

Shyam Bhatt 2004 results


1st: Amit Garde & Samrat Sengupta (Persistent Systems Pvt. Ltd)
2nd: Gaurav Sabnis & J. Ramanand (BCQC)
3rd: Kunal & Ulka (FC) (what are your surnames, guys, not "From FC", right? :-) )
Also: Shankar & partner from AFMC, Vivek (BJMC) & partner from AFMC, AFMC

Set & Conducted by: Brijesh

Kunal & Ulka,being the highest ranked college team, took the Shyam Bhatt trophy home to FC. (Hope they had better luck transporting it than I had before.)

Announcement: BC InFest - II : Gaurav's quiz

Pasted from the egroups mail

BC InFest is back again this year. If you didn't know what it is, not to worry - it is a gala(?) affair where some of the BC diaspora come back to roost once in a while with their own quizzes. Last year's InFest featured quizzes as diverse as an India quiz, US-Israel-Pakistan, Sports, Comp & Lit and F&M quizzes.

"InFest - II" kicks off with "The Man(fest) from L" a.k.a "El Hombre" a.k.a "(Hel)L raiser" Gaurav Sabnis who will have a general quiz (no doubt put together during some enthralling lecture on "the Vituperative Effects of Corporate Tax in post-liberalised Third World Economies" (not to be confused with the lekh on Backward Tribes of Maharashtra by Prof. Rele)).

12:30 pm, BC, Saturday (20th March), no prizes, only questions.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

College Bowl a.k.a Quizzing in the U.S

A major digression from the intense discussions featured on this blog on quizzing in Pune and on many related things. Anti is our first guest contributer for this blog. His "blogchalk" reads "USA, Ohio, Athens, Ananthanarayanan, Anti, Male, 21-25, Quizzing, Cricket, Music, Books, Cars" which tells you enough about him. Additionally, he turned out to be a year senior to me at school in Madras, the revelation all to be blamed on a post on childhood cricket (but we digress away from the digression). Anti has been two ponds apart for a while and in the process learnt a little about the "quizzing" scene as it exists there. The following is the first of a two-part series on College Bowl Quizzing.

College bowl explained

"College Bowl is a question and answer game of general knowledge and quick recall. It spotlights the fastest minds on campus as they excel on the playing field of knowledge. Game questions cover every conceivable topic, from history, literature, science, multiculturalism, religion and geography to current events, the arts, social sciences, sports and popular culture". (quoted from the College Bowl webpage)

College Bowl is purely academic based i.e based on all the information that you possibly would get if you were a stud with school work. It is different from quizzes popular in India by the fact that questions are purely general knowledge and zero trivia. So why are we even discussing about College Bowl?

I personally think that these kind of quizzes can be used to popularize trivia quizzes among school children (and colleges too). In India, in a lot of places like Chennai and Pune, quizzing is driven by colleges and most of the junta have come in from schools that have been strong in the quizzing scene traditionally. So sometimes we find talk of the so called drop in standards because there are not enough people to continue the good work when regulars leave town in search of their ideal careers. These College Bowl type quizzes could be used to revive flagging interest.


College Bowl is a buzzer based quiz. Two teams of a maximum of four players each (at least 3 players each is mandatory) take part. Each session (called a game) of intra-institutional College Bowl is played over two 7 minute halves. A whistle starts and ends each half. The team that is ahead when the final whistle sounds at the end of the second half is the winner. And in case of inter-institutional games, each session is of eight minutes each.

Every team has one buzzer each for every team member. Name tags for each of the team members are placed so that the QM can identify each member by name. The teams also nominate captains before the start of the game. The role of the captain shall be apparent as I tell you more about the rules of the game.

The QM reads out the question. If any of the individual member think they know the answer, they should hit their individual buzzers. In doing so, they are competing not only with the members of the other team, but also the members of his/her own team. No collaboration of any kind is allowed for direct questions and only the person on the buzzer is allowed to speak.

The participant to hit the buzzer first after the QM reads the full (or part of a) direct question gets the chance to answer the question for his/her team. The member has to be identified by the QM by name before the answer is given. The QM calls out the name of the participant who has hit the buzzer and waits three seconds for the answer. If the answer is deemed correct and verified by the QM from his question card, his/her team gets the exclusive chance to answer the bonus question that follows. The correct answer to each direct question increases the team's score by 10 points. If the answer is incorrect, the team might be penalized (Read the section on Negative Points) the other team in the game gets the chance to answer the question and any bonus questions that may follow.

The bonus question may be composed of a number of part questions as well with each answer earning the team the points indicated in the question. Usually the correct answer(s) to the bonus question(s) earn teams between 20 and 30 points. Bonus questions are non-passable and do not contain any negatives. For the bonus questions, the buzzer is not involved and the team members can discuss among themselves. However a five second time limit is applied. Once the members have decided upon a likely answer, the captain is expected to give the answer out to the QM. In case the team gives more than one answer, the QM prompts the team's captain for his choice of answer and accepts that answer as the official response form the team.

Negative points

A team is penalized a 5 point penalty if they give a wrong answer to a direct question that they INTERUPPTED i.e. hit the buzzer before the QM finishes the question. The question then passes to the other team and the QM completes the question for them. There is no penalty however for the second team if they give the wrong answer for the question. However, if a team gives a wrong answer to a direct question that was completely read out by the QM, there is no penalty whatsoever. In essence, there is only ONE 5 point penalty involved per question and that is applied only if there is an interruption by one of the teams.

Acceptable answers

Since all questions and answers are prepared not by the QM, but by someone else, all acceptable answers and part points are indicated clearly in the question cards. If the answer given by a team matches the answer indicated in the card (or acceptable alternates that are indicated in the same card), the points (or part points as indicated) are awarded to the team. In case the question setter expects certain answers that will not be acceptable, these answers are indicated too.

For example: Vern Mikkelsen and John Kundla were a player coach duo named to the Basketball Hall of fame in the same year as Kareem Abdul Jabbar. For ten points name the team that Mikkelson and Kundla played for and coached respectively and the year they were inducted into the Hall of fame?

The answer is the Minnesota Lakers (which moved to LA later to become the LA Lakers) and the year was 1995. For full ten points, both 1995 and Minnesota Lakers has to be mentioned. Now while the Minnesota Lakers is the correct answer, just the Lakers could be deemed acceptable, but not Los Angeles Lakers.

Note: I hope I am conveying the general idea here. This would probably be the toughest question of the game. I framed the question myself after a random google search for "Minnesota Lakers" and found a result that talked about Hall of Fame entrants in 1995.

Tie breakers If the score is tied at the end of the game (end of the second half that is), the tie is broken by a sudden-death play-off of direct questions. The first correct answer scores 10 points and wins the game. An incorrect interruption loses 5 points and the game. Directs continue until a score change breaks the tie.

:: Anti

Part II in a separate post

Monday, March 08, 2004

Coming soon

The sudden profusion of posts will bear out my claim that there is more content to blog about on these pages than there is time. Some of the forthcoming posts will hopefully be on:

  • An examination of Connects
  • A proposal for a new format
  • The chequered history of the last 7 Verve quizzes
  • FAQ for this blog

Some guest posts expected too.
On the University Challenge Quiz

By committing the worst case of quizzing hara-kiri I have ever seen, the team from the Indian School of Business has probably ensured immortality (albeit for the wrong reasons) for itself rather than if they had merely won the quiz , as was widely expected before the finals. ISB had swept all before them in the preliminary rounds, had a stiff challenge to overcome versus MDI, Gurgaon (our own Harish was in that) where they came back from behind to win. Their opponents in the final, a group of undergrads from Sardar Patel College of Engg. Mumbai had had a more severe route to the finals, with a very engrossing and nervous semi-final round. 90% of the time, ISB were coolly swatting away the questions as usual, while SPCE struggled to make the important breakthroughs inspite of some desperate buzzing. Then all of a sudden, ISB lost 20 points by needlessly buzzing incorrectly to make a 50 point lead vanish into thin air as if they had Houdini amongst them. SPCE held on by the proverbial hair to win the 1st UCQ by the smallest margin. Capt. Shankar blames it on arrogance, while Samrat says they did a South Africa. It was a performance that would have made Greg Norman cry - a clear and present SNAFU. Sorry JK & Amalesh, commiserations from all, but you blew it though you were the better team. Many congratulations to Shrijit, Bharat, Ninad & Nishad from SPCE.

Report from The Telegraph (Thanks Anti)

Discussion on the VIT quiz

Seeing that the VIT quiz was the only one among the three collegiate quizzes so far to have passed off without major incident and thus can be considered for debate without too much heat, this post is for opening a thread on various aspects of it. Please email me (quatrainman{at}yahoo{pointcom}) for adding to this, or leave your comments behind for inclusion.

My opening observations:

  • Duration of the quiz was well handled.
  • The questions erred on the side of being too easy.
  • It was one of the tightest quizzes I have ever participated!
  • Questions were too long - need to be pruned for the sake of both the person asking & the teams.
  • Not sure why there were only very few subject rounds (Business, Entertainment) - either there should be more subject rounds or there should be none, IMHO. The quiz fell in between in that respect. Having a different round for non-text questions was fine though (such as the Visual connect rounds).


VIT was a nice quiz, IMHO. The organizers definitely deserve an applause for commanding such attention (50+ teams, right?).

  • I liked the elims. They had a decent mix of questions, though some the questions were pretty long.
  • The much-discussed point about non-uniformity in difficulty level of questions was noticable. But it remains to be a universal problem, anyway.
  • More than one person participated in the making of the quiz and it was evident. Definitely not a bad thing, but a common ground in terms of quizzing standards is very much desired.
  • Perhaps one needs to be more organized to conduct such big quizzes.

Salil (one of the organisers):

Thanks Ramanand and Niranjan for the in-depth statistics and analysis (and also for making QUIZ-O-MANIA a great success).
First of all, the timing of the quiz (Saturday afternoon) was responsible for the large no. of teams (120+ ...we almost ran out of space and elims sheets!).
The quiz was set by 5 of us - Siddharth, Kunal, Ganesh, Anand and myself. As Niranjan points out, the difficulty level varied, which was because everyone's field of interest is different; so many questions were subjected to alterations as each one of us thought a particular question is way too tough when it wasn't.
Secondly, we didn't expect such a huge turnout at all, and as a result, we did have THE BEST TEAMS IN PUNE (though it was my wish that this should occur, we weren't prepared for this!). The level of the questions being toned down, they were literally demolished by all the teams (the stats show that only 3 out of 60 questions were unanswered). But I believe we satisfied the criteria of a good question - workable and interesting.

So what I've learnt is this:-

  1. When more then 2 persons are involved in the setting of the questions, do not consider any q too tough, or reframe to make it simpler.
  2. Estimate the level of finalists you are expecting.
  3. Decide the marking/splitups for each q, especially for connects.
  4. As far as long questions in elims are concerned, unnecessary crap irrelevant to the question should not be included just to make the q's interesting.

So guys, whats your opinion? And by the way if anyone needs a copy of questions, (elims and finals) just drop me a mail.

The Renaissance

1998 to 2001 was one of the best times in Pune quizzing. People like Harish, Gaurav, Sujay & me were quite fortunate to be in COEP that time. It was a generation that enjoyed the recurring talents of Niranjan, the heydays of George, Kunal, Anand and the big boys of AFMC. The Four Musketeers from AIT, Navneet, Shrikant, Kapil & Samrat were plying their wares then. Swapnil ,Shankar and many more from nearby colleges and corporates made all contests extremely competitive - qualifying for finals was a tough and proud feat. The quizzes at Mensa, BCJ, the odd Verve & Shyam Bhat, Chakravyuh and Owl-in-the-Bowl were quite superb to watch and participate. Then came the dip in the cyclical fortunes - people left Pune for academic pursuits and employment relocations. The supply of good and more importantly, enthusiastic quizzers dried up. Quizzes became dodgy and BC quizzes were no longer taken for granted.

The last two weekends have done much to dispel the intermediate gloom. We have a new generation with us - principally from VIT and Fergusson College. We also have fresh faces from outside academics. Again, there is a sense of keen competition and no places on the starting grid can be taken for granted. A couple of interesting BC sessions have happened, and a great deal of chat on creation of questions, rounds, conduct is happening on the sidelines. Old faces & old combinations are back and firing away. Unknown names are emerging forcefully into the centre.

Thanks to everyone, things are looking up.