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.