Monday, February 28, 2005

Mechatrix 2005

26 Feb 2005 at VIT - set & conducted by Anupam Akolkar


1st: B.V.Harishkumar & J. Ramanand
2nd: (jointly) Meghashyam Shirodkar & Anand Ayyadurai, Kunal Sawardekar & Siddharth Dani
4th: (jointly) Salil Bijur & Ganesh Hegde, Sudarshan Purohit & Srihari Suthamally
6th: Harsh Ketkar and Rashmi (could someone please patch her surname in?)


Considering this was probably the first time Anupam has attempted a quiz of this scale, quite a creditable effort. The elims actually outshone the finals in my opinion. In the finals, there were some very good questions, then there were some questions where answers were too pedantic, and there were some that were not so good according to me. Also, there were some inconsistencies in what answers were expected and the QM gave away hints in the middle of passing - but these are defects that can be smoothened by experience.

For the record, we topped the elims, picked Team B again when asked to choose, called ourselves "V shall not sue VIT this time" and won narrowly. There were some great answers from some of the teams, especially the ones who came second. Also, for the record, there was a bit of healthy cribbing, and I was wrong about Nathuram Godse in the identify (I mistook Karkare for him in the absence of Savarkar making the number of people 7 in the photo instead of 8), but I was right about Gopal Godse.

Massive crib: what's with the prize distro? Waited a couple of hours for the ceremony only to get a cryptic chit asking us to pick up prizes from some secret location in VIT's Mech dept and mispelled certis (Shailesh instead of Sudarshan, Harish became Manish from PSPL)... I'm feeling a little like Cuba Gooding Jr. in Jerry Maguire after both my VIT excursions have led to suspended cashflows - "Show me the money!"

Friday, February 25, 2005

Virtual Memory Virtual Memory was the quiz held as a part of Digital Renaissance, an event organized by students of Comp. Dept. in MESCOE.


1st: Vasukeshav Sharma & Chandrakant Nair (AFMC)

2nd: Kunal Thakar (VIT), Kunal Sawardekar (FC)

3rd: Anish Bhat & Hrishikesh Kavade (SCOE)

4th: Harshavardhan & Nitin (MESCOE)

Joint 5th: Ganesh Hegde & Anirudh Kasbekar (VIT); Sameer Valzade & Kurush (MESCOE)

Quiz setters & hosts Aditya Udas, Shriniwas Kulkarni, Aditya Pethe

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Girls in Quizzing

The whole Larry Summers saga coincides with a discussion that Rony, Rajk, Sarika and I had last weekend about why quizzing is such a male-dominated activity. The discussion didn't really throw up any answers.

Quizzing, at least in India, is a very "young" sport. It is different from other sports, in the sense that it requires no physical activity(tennis, football), no training or preparation(chess) and no investment(music lessons). Quizzing is all about one person asking questions, and others attempting to answer them.

Why then does quizzing in India have such a paltry female following?

It really is a mystery.

Any theories?

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Vishwatronix, VIT

Te-Quiz-La was the quiz held in VIT as part of Vishwatronix 2005, an event organised by IEEE and students of Electronics dept. A sci-tech-GK quiz with lot of questions based on scientific fundas.


1st: Nikhil Kundargi & Neel Mehta (PICT)

2nd: Harshavardhan Ketkar & Arnab Pal (VIT)

Joint 3rd: Shriniwas Kulkarni & Abhijit (MESCOE), Aditya Pethe & Kartik (MESCOE)

Joint 4th: Ganesh Hegde & Anirudh Kasbekar (VIT), Anupam Akolkar & Anand Ayyadurai (VIT)

Quiz set by: Siddharth Dani & Sumedh Berde

OT: Quiz in MESCOE on 25th Feb. For more details contact Aditya 9890233360

Open Quiz at Mechatrix, VIT on 26th Feb. For more details contact Anupam 9890613484

Indian Quizzing Fanatics & the World's Best Quiz Questions

UK's Largest Quiz Organistation (or so they claim) picked up the BCQC story

Have seen this site earlier when Shrirang pointed out attempts to have a world quizzing championship a while ago. The site is interesting, given that the UK has a deep-rooted culture of quizzing (mostly of the trivia/pub nature). Saw this link to the search for the World's Best Quiz Question(s). Send in your entries to them.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Order, Order!!

One little-explored facet of an Infinite Rebound format quiz has been the order in which teams are seated. In most quizzes, the order is decided by randomly picking chits. However at Quiz-o-mania, the organisers tried an innovation in which the teams got to pick their position on the stage. This was done in the descending order of elims scores, i.e the team which topped the elims got to pick first, and so on.

Now the innovative idea here was to try and give the top scoring teams a reward by giving them a choice in seating. However, I am not sure if that indeed happened. In fact I am quite sure that the opposite is what happened. I'll explain how by citing my own example.

Sarika and I were 3rd (or 4th) in the elims. When it was our turn to choose, we decided to take the spot to the right of Ramanand and Harish, who topped the elims, and in my books, were favourites to win the quiz. My logic behind this choice was that except for their "directs", we would get a shot at every question, before them. So if there were any questions which both R&H as well as Sarika and I knew answers to, we would benefit. Of course, this benefit would apply only in the first half of the quiz, following which the order would be reversed, and they would get a similar benefit.

This is exactly what happened. Ramanand and Harish were trailing in the first half, not because they didn't know much, but because we gobbled up most of the answerable passes. In the second half, they caught up superbly, but our ability to answer our directs better than they answered theirs in the first half, saw us through.

Thus our being able to position our team relative to theirs helped us in the first half at least.

This happened because in an infinite rebound quiz, the teams might as well be seated in a circle. because after the first question, the "1" in "team 1" ceases to be a number, and becomes a name. In Direct-and-Pass formats, yes, Team 1 has an advantage because it will get the first question in every round. But in infinite rebound the absolute position is not important.

What is important is your position relative to the other teams. If you think you can position yourself before your potential closest competitor, and build a good lead in the pressure-free first half of the quiz, then you can do that. It is somewhat like batting first in an ODI.

So the team that is at an advantage is the team that has most knowledge about the position of their competition, and not the team choosing first. As a result, when R&H picked a spot, they benefitted the least from the system, rather than the most, as the organisers might have intended.

If organisers of future quizzes want to implement a system where the elims topper is rewarded, then they should ask the team with the least score to just write their name on a blank paper. the team higher than them should then write their name on that team's left or right. the next team can place themselves either between the two teams, or on their right or left. And so on, until the last team is the topper which can position itself at the edges, or between any team it wants. This order should then be reproduced on stage.

BCQC in the Indian Express

The In-Quiz-Itives Posted by Hello
(Photo: Indian Express, Pune edition - 21 Feb 2005)

(From left: Ganesh Hegde, Siddharth Dani, Kunal Thakar (at the back), Salil Bijur, Kunal Sawardekar (frontmost), Rajkamal (behind Salil), Nikhil Kundargi, Gaurav Sabnis (right-behind), Ramanand )

Earlier: The BCQC feature by the Pune Times of India

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Quiz-o-Mania 2005 (VIT)


1st: Gaurav Sabnis & Sarika Chuni
2nd: (jointly) Anand Sivashankar & Vibhendu Tiwari, B.V.Harishkumar & J. Ramanand
Other finalists: Shivaji & Vivek, Kunal Sawardekar & Meghashyam Shirodkar, Anupam Akolkar & Anand Ayyadurai

Quiz setters & hosts

Salil Bijur, Ganesh Hegde, Siddharth Dani & Kunal Thakar


Most good quizzes in Pune over the last few years have been extremely close races, and VIT's Quiz-o-mania was no different. Continuing from where they left off last year, the organisers put up an entertaining display. The elims (of 42 questions with the now obligatory DNA question wrapping it up) was well-crafted, especially in contrast to last year. Then many of the questions were unnecessarily longwinded, but this time they were to the point and many of them workable. The "Lagaan/Bhuvan Shome" question was particularly appreciated and we enjoyed unravelling the Pink Floyd one.

There was a most unusual interlude during the break - this must definitely be the first quiz ever to feature a special clip from a Mithun starrer "Gunda" where he proceeded to mow down an army of auto rickshaws (that's right, autos) with a bazooka. Followed by playing catch with a monkey using a baby instead of a ball.

Finalists were announced, lunch coupons distributed to them and the quiz began soon after lunch. Harish & I called ourselves the "World Karmic Congress" in attempting to lampoon the "V-is-for-Vishwakarma" bit and mock-threatened to sue the college for a pre-dated inspiration. Which in retrospect turned out to be a bad idea, for we would not score until the 22nd question, leading us to question whether to add an extra "I" or rename the name to "Karmic Congress of the World" and thus starting it with a "K" to in a bid to improve our karma. There was also a distinct Seinfeld angle, with "Yada Yada Yada" and "The Moops" being two other names ("The Moops" episode can tell you about the pitfalls of trivia quizzing).

Vibhendu & Anand were off to a flying start gobbling up all the India & Hindi F-M questions, while Sarika and Gaurav made sure they capitalised on their directs. BJMC, Kunal & Meghashyam & the VIT team made quiet starts, but in comparison Harish & I had a mute start and blank faces to accompany our score. A mix of bad luck in getting questions we had no clue about and not answering questions better than others kept us that way till a quarter of the quiz was over. This was a 80 question quiz, so we hoped we had the time to pull a comeback.

Comeback we did, but just pulled up short at the end. Anand-Vibhendu fell off in the 2nd half as the questions veered to the Eng F&M and tech sides. With round reversals, we were doing better as were BJMC. In the end, BJMC tied with Kunal & Meghashyam, and we tied with Anand-Vibhendu. But Gaurav & Sarika had a little extra to finish 10 points ahead, the smallest margin, with the "Round the World in 80 days" answer.

The turnout was considerably lower than last time for which a combination of Sunday timings, some quizzers being out of town and improbably a girls cricket competition outside can be blamed for.


* Too long: Not everyone likes 80 questions, especially audiences. The trend of late has been to have 40 to 50 questions in the final, so people aren't that patient these days. Personally, I didn't mind it only because it kept us in the hunt!

* Distribution of qns: Both halves were skewed in terms of question themes. So we had funny sequences of scoring. Could have been spread out better

* Good framing of questions, clean organisation, no hiccups in the presentations.

* A/V qns: Was there a conscious effort to avoid lots of connects and even audio/visual qns? Could have been a little more of it.

* There was some confusion over awarding half points, and what was expected of the answer in some cases.

Overall, an enjoyable experience and worth the distance.

Last year's results

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

SCOE Elements Quiz

Organised by: Sinhagad College of Engineering Department of Mechanical Engineering

Conducted by: Mihir Shah, Rahul Gokhale and Mohit


Winners: Kunal Sawardekar (FC) and Anupam Akolkar (VIT)

Runners up: Akshay Raut and Akshay Panday (SCOE)

Second Runners up: Ganesh Hegde and Aniruddha Kasbekar (VIT)

Also: Kunal Thakar and Siddharth Dani (VIT), Vasukeshav Sharma and Chandrakant (AFMC), Ekalavya Bhattacharya and Shaheen Ahmed (FC)

Monday, February 07, 2005

Wall Street '05, Fergusson College

India Quiz

1st: Ganesh + Salil (VIT)

2nd: Vasukeshav + Chandrakant (AFMC)

3rd: Symbiosis Law

4th: AFMC

Joint 5th: Ashish + 1 (FC), AFMC

QM: Neel

Good, original questions. The visual round turned out to be a damp squib as most of them were the identify types, and couldn't be seen properly by participants & audience. Something better than IE should have been used.

Business Quiz

1st: Manish + 1 (SIBM)

2nd: SIFT

QMs: Neel, Shakti

The chosen format was based on CNBC's The Challenge, and given the topic, the finalists found it a cakewalk.

Entertainment Quiz

1st: Kunal T. + Siddharth (VIT)

2nd: Symbiosis Law

3rd: Ganesh (VIT) + Shivaji (BJMC)

4th: Nitin + Apu (MESCOE)

5th: Aditya (MESCOE) + Salil (VIT)

6th: Vasukeshav + Chandrakant (AFMC)

QM: Kunal S.

We understand the problems faced by the organisers - the time constraints, technicalities, etc. almost making it Mood I Ent Q-C'vyuh 04-esque. The questions were quite workable but the range of topics should have been expanded. A round reversal would had made things better.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Illuminati, Unify '05

Unify '05 was the fest orginised by SICSR (Symbiosis Institute of Computer Studies and Research) where among other events (the main being a fashion show) was a quiz.


1st: Vasukeshav & Chandrakant (AFMC)
2nd: Kunal & Puranjay (FC)
Joint 3rd: Salil & Siddharth (VIT), Kunal & Nitesh (VIT)

Now the less said about the questions, the better. It just confirms the rule about Symbi and quizzing.
The theme of the day was the Renaissance, with heavy inspiration from the Da Vinci Code (the abrupt break in the quiz for the Mona Lisa story). However, it was fun to see the hosts 'rehearsing' for an empty audience in the beginning, and Siddharth at his usual best, arguing on questions like 'With which foot did Armstrong step on the moon?' and 'Which is India's fastest land animal'. Also the quizmaster (an SICSR prof)'s request for decency in answering (Kunal S will expain that). There was also a visual round with distorted/morphed photos of celebrities from a variety of fields like Hrithik Roshan, Michael Schumacher and John Steinback. All in all, an entertaining quiz.

Friday, February 04, 2005

The "Chakravyuuh" logo [Designed by Niranjan Pedanekar] Posted by Hello

Thursday, February 03, 2005

The Genesis of Chakravyuh

This is a mail i had sent on the Inquizitive list a couple of years back, describing the birth of COEP's own quiz, Chakravyuh. The mail was written at a time when it looked as if Pune quizzing was dead, and the rejuvenation from VIT and Fergusson had not taken place.

I must be one of the luckiest quizzers in Pune, timewise. Boat Club (BC) quizzing was in a state of rapid evolution from the time I was in first year until the time I was in the final year. Those must definitely be the best 4 years (if not among the best) of quality quizzing in COEP and in Pune. There were great quizzes and quizzers in colleges like AIT, Fergusson, AFMC (grudgingly, I admit, they make the cut), COEP and of course PICT and a really good Verve quiz (very ephimeral, driven by just one exceptional individual - Hirak Parikh). Of late, the zenith has been reached with a Mastermind from our midst. But all other indicators suggest of a stagnation, if not a decline. I must wait to see the questions from BCJ and Chakravyuh 2003 before I can pass a final judgement on what is happening to Pune quizzing.

This is the story behind the birth of Chakravyuh. It was an age where men were men, women were women, children were children, and so on, but basically quizzers were quizzers. Every batch in COEP had at least 2 or 3 "dedicated" quizzers. Most of them were top class quizzers too, but most importantly, they were dedicated. Wherever we went, we always had the biggest contingent of quizzers (In fact, I suggest that BCJ registration be at a subsidised rate for us, since we have always come with at least 6 or 7 teams, even in the leanest year =-)). I still remember quizzing in my first and second year( 1999 and 2000). The teams of George and Kunal, Jitendra and Salil (whatever happened to those two??) and Sujay and Ramanand used to be there in almost every final of a quiz in Pune. We would either win or come second, since the only competition came in form of "Bhatta plus 1" from AFMC or the "big four" of AIT (Kapil, Samrat, Navneet and Shrikanth, for the uninitiated) in different permutations (I did my bit winning the Mood-I Conundrums in my Second Year). With such domination of the quizzing (which was to keep growing), we often wondered why COEP did not have its own quiz. Domkundwar was the Principal and George told a harrowing story of what happened when he had made an attempt to start one. When he had gone to Dommy with the idea for such a quiz, he was met with a barrage of hostile questions like "What is your attendance?" , "Show me your class notes", and "I shall speak to your project guide about how you work". Needless to say that the idea had been vetoed as emphatically as possible.

There was a general sense of resignation amongst us COEP-ians with everyone believing in the "It's a government college, nothing can change" adage. This was of course in my first and second year. What made us shake off this inertia when I reached Third Year (2000-2001) was a noticeable change in the quizzing culture of the BC that no one has quite spoken about at length. During this phase, there was a slow but steady paradigm shift in our quizzing, with the culture moving from a more "quiz oriented" to a "question oriented" direction. This means that while earlier, emphasis was laid on the fact that there was a quiz, with the minimal level of competency, now we laid more emphasis on the quality of questions. Making great questions was considered as much of an achievement as winning a quiz. While earlier getting questions from quiznet or the KCircle sites was acceptable, it now became a sacrilege. So the days of "two people getting 60 questions every saturday" to the Boat Club were gone, simply because the level had improved, and emphasis was placed on originality.

Since quizmastering became as reverred as quizzing, there was a renewed thrust towards efforts for a COEP quiz. Domkundwar was slated to retire and that helped too. So in my third year, when he finally made way for an interim Princi, Mrs. Jog, we tried again. This of course was the "Year of the Grandslam". It started with me and Neeraj winning the Fergusson Inquizzitions, and later, Sujay and Ramanand sweeping each and every major quiz in sight (Verve, BCJ, Mensa, Shyam Bhatt, and some more). The list of COEP quizzing achievements was nothing to be scoffed at. With this impressive list, I drafted a proposal in February for a quiz to be held in March, during the college gathering and went to meet Jog.

As is usual in COEP, students are given the last priority for meeting the Princi. I waited alone outside the office for hours together on many afternoons before I finally got to meet the grand dame. She took one look at the letter and shot it down saying "I am just a temporary principal, and there is already Fervour going on. I can not spare staff". I tried the arguments "It hardly needs any money, we don't need any staff, we need only the audi and nothing else", but to no avail. She was firm. She could not sanction an event at this stage. My frustration reached its peak and it showed on my face. This probably led to her saying "There is a Gathering Committee meeting next week, give me this proposal then, and we will think about it. But don't get your hopes too high".

As I reported this to the then quizzers, i.e, Sujay, Ramanand, Harish and Neeraj, there was again this general sense of resignation, like "Is college ka kuch nahi ho sakta". No one had any hopes from the Gathering Meeting since the committee was not really very sympathetic to our demands, interested more in spending 20,000 on a crummy music show than 3,000 (yes, that was our measly demand) on a quiz.

But the morning before the meeting as I was about to leave for college, I had a brainwave. I decided to redraft the covering letter for the proposal and rely on emotion to get us through. Earlier it was waxing eloquent on our achievements, like the long list of wins that year (about 10 or so, including smalltime quizzes). Now I decided to go for the lady's jugular. I filled it with a lot of emotion. I don't have the letter right now, it must be on my computer at home, but this is basically the gist of it -

"We have been dedicatedly practising our quizzing every Saturday. We work hard to maintain our standards. And this hard work has been rewarded with great results. We have won each and every quiz in sight, even done well in quizzes in Mumbai despite no financial assistance from the college. There is NO OTHER sport or field, be it debate, rowing, football, drama, in which the domination of COEP is so complete. Because of us, COEP's name is synonymous with success in the quizzing scene. Our list of victories speaks for itself. We do this despite having no annual budget allotted to us. Whatever is sanctioned is usurped by the Debate Club for their travels. Inspite of zero assistance from the college, we are doing so well.

And now we just wish to have our own quiz. We don't ask for any vast amount, just 3000 rupees. Is that too much to ask? When 20,000 are spent on an internal music show, 3000 is less than peanuts. We don't ask for any staff to help us. We will manage on our own with the small number of volunteers. All we want is the auditorium for some hours. And we are utterly dejected that such meagre demands are summarily rejected.

It is as if the college does not care whether we do well or not. There is no appreciation of our wins, and we get a step motherly treatment. We are very disappointed and the whole zest for quizzing may die out......."

blah blah blah, I whined on and on, hoping it would have an effect on the lady.

What happened in the meeting (I was not there) was that after all matters were discussed, Sujay, who was present there being the Football Secretary, said "Ma'am there is the matter of the quiz..." and she interrupted him. Then she spoke, under the effect of the letter, apparently, telling the committee about the "poor quizzers" who do se well despite the lack of any support and how they deserved to have the quiz since they were asking for just 3000 rupees and all. The committee of course agreed. In fact Jog talked of drawing up a resolution so that funds from the money that the college makes for transcripts be allotted to the quiz so that it will not be dependent on the Gathering. Wonder what happened to that.

So anyway, a friend of mine, who was the HAM Club secretary called me up from the college and conveyed the good news that the quiz had been sanctioned. After this we started working on war footing. Questions were never a problem, but we had little experience of how to publicise it properly. We decided that all five of us senior quizzers would make questions, i.e, Ramu, Sujay, Harish, Neeraj and moi so that we could not participate, and COEP winning would be unlikely (like AIT and unlike AFMC, we were wary about even the smallest hint of the R-word). It was decided to have an intra-COEP Mastermind like contest ( indicator of the future glory?) during the time when elims were checked so that COEP-ians did not feel excluded from the participants scene. We did all the running around, like getting an LCD projector allotted (no easy job, though the college had 3), getting the auditorium set up, the sound system working, and all.

It was decided to make it a seamless quiz, with nothing like a separate "audio" or "visual" round. That would be our USP, everything mixed. Each of us five made 30 questions and finally integrated it one midnight in the august company of mosquitoes on the Boat Club, where the Punt Formation practice was taking place. Getting a computer assigned from the college would have been a full day job and we were so sick and tired of all the bureaucractic hassles we had endured till then that we decided to use my comp. Neeraj got his car all the way from Vimannagar early morning and we lugged the PC to the college. The publicity could have been better, but really did not get much help from the FE and SE kids(indicators of the future non-glory?) except for the ever sincere Bimal and Nupur . Credit must however be given to Manish mahajan for coming up with the name - Chakravyuh. Just the five of us handling the questions, red tape and the publicity was too much. Still, about 40 teams turned up. This is where the difference made by the freshers helping out at BCJ shows. Anyway, March 16 dawned, and the quiz happened on time.

The quiz went pretty fine and a detailed report of the finals can be found on the inquizitive archives. The compering was shared by Sujay, Ramanand and Harish, and Neeraj and I handled the computer and other off-stage things. I don't exactly remember the entire line-up for the finals, but here's a shot at it. There was the Infy team of Shrirang and Amalesh, there was an ex-AIT team of Samrat and Navneet, we had Niranjan and Swapnil teaming up, and there was a COEP team of Amrish and..someone. The Infy team won it with a vast margin, and the ex-AITians came second, with Niranjan and Swapnil (named "Suvarnagram", a combo of the names of us 5 organisers, a great gesture) came third. Rahul Srinivas won "Abhimanyu",the intra-college Mastermind contest with the topic "Harry Potter Books".

By this time, though the interim Princi Jog had left, and the new Principal, Ghatol had just taken charge a day ago. We sent someone to invite him, and he actually turned up, stayed for the whole quiz, and was apparently loving it. When we invited him on stage to give away the prizes, he gushed a lot about what a great event the quiz was and how he was thinking hard for every question. He complimented us on having the best event of the gathering (he said this some days later at the closing ceremony of the gathering too).

Chakravyuh 2001 ended with the new Princi in the saddle being an admirer of the quiz (a fact that helped things the following year). Everyone appreciated the questions, the punctuality, and the organisation. Finally, COEP's own quiz had happened, and it was a smashing success.

It was great coming back to Chakravyuh in 2004 as a participant, and win it teamed up with Neeraj. Looking forward to Chakravyuh 2005

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Verve 2005

I'm sure the guys at EYF (Express Youth Forum) who organise Verve must have chanced upon the blog reviews before they woke up and decided to make a better quiz as last time. The result was a school quiz brought out on to the college level. But it was better than last time.

There is a strong hunch that the elims questions were lifted from Mastermind India. The finals had some better questions, with plenty of current affairs. The quizmistress/quizmiss (I don't recall her name) is supposedly in this field for many years, though it was pretty evident that the questions weren't hers. (It was also noted that she would blush whenever a wrong answer was given.)

Sample questions from elims:- Who are the chairman and MD of GAIL? Who is the ex-officio chairman of India? (authorised source, we're told)

Passing for the first 2 rounds was D&P. A request for a round reversal was granted, but to our dismay, the following rounds were non-passing: the topic round (with doubling or negative) and the speed round.

Srujan 2005, Tata Motors (the other Chakravyuh)

We were fearing that the long journey to Pimpri would result in another Verve. Thankfully, the quiz was a good one, being set by Abhinandan, a quizzer from Bangalore. There were old and new trivia alongwith the favourite workable connects (though some were real sitters), infinite rebounds. The event were extremely hospitable with a relaxed atmosphere. However there was no prize money, but a good quiz and dinner for all participants made the long trip worthwile.