Monday, September 27, 2021

BCQC September Open | Report on the Science-Fiction Quiz

 Quiz: Sci-Qi (a Science- and Speculative Fiction Quiz)

Date & Time: 26 September 2021 at 10 am Pune time / 25 September 2021 at 11:30 pm Austin time
Venue: A series of tubes (a.k.a the QM's and participants various homes, connected via Zoom)
QM: Mohit Karve

Winner: Sumant Alone (Sumant Srivathsan) - 110 pts
Runners Up: Swadeshi House Mafia (Abhimanyu Badhauria, Rishiraj S) - 82 pts
3rd: Rohirrim (Srijon Sen) - 80 pts
Jt 4th: KatsuCurry (Arpita Shetty, Siddarth Raman) - 65 pts
Jt 4th: TLJ Was Good, Actually (Avaneendra Bhargav, Kunal Sawardekar) - 65 pts
6th: The H Squad (MV Harshavardhan, Harish V) - 58 pts
7th: ILAM (Akshit Mehra, Akshat Kukreja) - 45 pts
8th: The Pramans (Abhinav Dasgupta, Vivek Tejuja) - 40 pts

Mohit Karve is a old BCQC hand, being part of the COEP Quizzing Renaissance of 2006-2012, and is well remembered by people who were quizzing in Pune during that period (both for the excellent quizzes he set as well as for being the victim of the most egregious Hand of God incident since Peter Shilton). While we have missed his quizzes these past 10 years, the present circumstances and the online nature of all quizzing these days allowed us to participate in one of his quizzes (with him very kindly agreeing to conduct at an un-earthly hour for him).
We started out with a 25-question elims that had 20 1-part question and 5 2-parters. The questions had a nice spread of topics, including some based on Hindi science fiction shows that aired in the 1990s.
8 teams made it to the finals, which had two sets of 17 questions on IR, each preceded by a 4-question written round on linked topics. The quiz had no pounce - a rarity these days but a necessity to ensure the quick completion of a quiz that was already stretching into the wee hours of the morning for the QM. However, the drawbacks of a pounce-less quiz did show in that the almost inevitable disparity in difficulty between the questions made itself felt very keenly. The finals had a great spread of questions as well, ranging from the very first appearance of a key sci-fi mechanic to actual inspiration behind a beloved Indian entry in the sci-fi genre. 
Sumant kept up a lead throughout the entire quiz, maxing both written rounds and scoring 40 and 30 in each of the IR sets. KatsuCurry (Arpita and Siddarth) and Rohirrim (Srijon) put up a strong showing in the second half of the quiz, equaling (in KatsuCurry's case) or nearly equaling Sumant's score in that half, but they could not overcome the large lead he had built up in the first half. KatsuCurry's burst of form in the second half did catapult them from the last position they occupied at the halfway mark to joint 4th place, with the rest of the standings staying pretty consistent through the whole run of the quiz.
My one quibble with the topics covered would be that for an event billed as a Science- and Speculative-Fiction quiz, the topics tended to stick very closely to the Sci-Fi end of the scale and there was very little of fantasy, alternate history and other spec-fi genres. Within Sci-Fi though, the coverage was quite good with questions on sci-fi concepts and classics going back over a century, and including all your favourite science fiction franchises along with lesser-known entries in the genre as well.
All in all, the quiz made for a very enjoyable Sunday morning, even for those of us who do not normally rise so early in this part of the week. We hope to see more of Mohit (and other BCQC alums) setting quizzes like this in the future.

Sunday, September 19, 2021

BCQC September Open - The Ajai Ragde Memorial History-Geography Quiz - Report

 Quiz: The Ajai Ragde Memorial History-Geography Quiz

Date & Time: 12 September 2021

Venue: Held over Zoom

Format: Elims + Finals

QMs: Kunal Sawardekar and Omkar Dhakephalkar


1st: WIMWI Manaram: Rajiv Rai, Srinath B, Vinoo S at 274
2nd: Vetes Vulpes: Tathagata Chatterjee, Archana Gupta, Ninad Sapute at 21
3rd: ROTF: Navin, Swami, Manu at 204

4th: Trevlling Kilroy: Anurakshat Gupta, Anirudh Anilkumar, Arnabh Sengupta at 201

5th: Aila Jumbo: Ravi Mundoli, Ashwin Kumar, Samanth

6th: Hammer and Tongs: Shouvik Guha, Anannya Deb, Jayashree Jayakar Mohanka at 182

7th: QuizElite: Abhinav Dixit, Sushmita Sharma, Adarsh Dixit at 97

8th: Three’s Company: Keshav, Ajay, Debashree at 58

A History Geography Quiz is an apt way to pay tribute to an esteemed member of the community and Mr Ajai Ragde was definitely one. I remember quizzing with him in BCQC Opens and by virtue of the draft system used in the finals, has couple of times even teamed up with him. History geography politics were his thing and he would stoically sit through the usual pop culture shit that youth quizzers of today revel in. In his mind, he must have been lamenting, purvicha Pune quizzes rahile nahin.

The responsibility of setting and conducting the quiz was entrusted in the able shoulders of messieurs Kunal ‘Psaw’ Sawardekar and Omkar ‘Dhake’ Dhakephalkar. Both have a strong record in setting good enjoyable quizzes and this latest specimen was no less.

To start with, we had a 30-question prelims with answers to be filled up in a Google Form, as has become a common practice in the era of Zoom quizzes. The questions were compact and pithy and led to very precise answers. Of course, some participants still debated with the QMs on the validity of their guesses, throwing Wikipedia entries as citation. The QMs very efficiently handled the situation and carried on. The cut off for the finalists was 24 and I was one of the top 8, having in typical Pune style, done a deal by teaming up with MahaQuizzers Shouvik Guha and Jayshree Mohanka.

Moving to the finals, we had 32 questions on the pass with 3 sets of 4 written questions, each set on a certain theme. The first one was on colonial flags where the flash usually had some elements of the European power and an element referencing the colony. The second one was on panhandles The third set was on paleogeography.

The main set of 32 questions was on infinite bounds using the Arnold Variation. The QM, Psaw, correctly admonished an impertinent query on whether it should be called the Bangalore IR format. In addition there was pounce, of course, naturally, since it’s a Pune invention

The questions were super. My favourite was the reasons why there was a precise record of the date and time of a cataclysmic event in one part of the world (because of records kept about a very specific orphan tsunami in another part of the world).

The quiz was won by WIMWI Manram, the super group team of Vinoo Sanjay, Rajiv Rai and Srinath Bashyam. The finals started with 8 teams and ended with 6, a bit like in a long-distance race. That's one of the banes of the online quiz era. A normal which would have taken 2-3 hours offline now take 5-6 hours. Teams take ages to discuss on their team group chats and if they want to pounce they ask for time saying network issues.

Overall, an excellent quiz covering all continents and all eras from paleolithic era to modern day. We shall, hopefully, come back next year when this becomes an annual event in the BCQC calendar.

Report by: Anannya “Dada” Deb