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