Wednesday, January 08, 2020

InFest T20 – Free Solo (Solo quiz) - Report

InFest T20  Free Solo (Solo quiz)

Set & conducted by  Kunal Sawardekar
Date: 4th January 2020
Venue: Academic Complex, COEP
Flavour: General quiz
Elims – 25 questions
Semi-Finals – 2questions on IR plus 2written rounds 
Finals – 22 questions on IR plus 1 written round

Winner – Vibhendu Tiwari 142 pts
Runner-up – Rajiv Rai 139.5 pts
2nd runner-up – Samrat “Sammy Sir” Sengupta 117 pts
Other finalists – Aman Sheikh, Divij Ghosh and Omkar Dhakephalkar
Semi-finalists – Ranajeet SomanAditya Gadre, Arnold D’Souza, Shubhankar Gokhale, Brajendu BhaskarVcat Srinivasan

This year, we saw a new winner of the solo quiz after Dhake and Kunal alternated to win the last few years. Kunal had clearly taken the ‘lesser-seen side of the Dunning-Kruger effect’ feedback to heart and had set an accessible yet interesting set this year. The overall quality of the questions was excellent and although the QM played to his strengths of history-geography and pop-culture, there was enough diversity of topics to give everyone a fair shot.
12 people were drafted into the semis after a 25-question elims which saw a double-digit cut-off, a clear sign of improvement on the QM’s part. The semis were a lot of fun and even with 12 people on IR there were no questions which could be ‘chimped’ on. The staggered pounce system proved a blessing for some and resulted in the downfall of others. Some great fundae were brought to the fore and unanswered questions usually got applause rather than groans. The semis were quite close with a bunch of contestants near 40-50 points. 
Eventually, 3 youngsters from Pune and 3 experienced gentlemen from Bombay made it to the finals. The finals began with a bang for the young guns with Aman and Divijcapitalizing on the pop-culture questions. They got close enough to the lead to worry Rajiv, which is a high complimentespecially in a solo quiz. Sammy sir was in exceptional form throughout the day and kept in contention till almost the end. Vibhendu had not had a strong semi-finals but he made up for it in the finals. While the youth was distracting Rajiv, he slowly but surely crept up the leaderboard till he had taken the lead two questions from the end. As the last question appeared, multiple combinations of outcomes were possible but experience trumped youth in the end, if only just.
The quiz was great fun without losing competitiveness, which is a compliment to the quizmaster. Vibhendu’s performance was so well-received that it earned him extra plaudits at the festivities following the quiz. He is now given the onerous task of setting next year’s quiz (possibly with the runner-up). We are confident he will keep the high standard going at Infest 2021.

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