Saturday, October 07, 2006

Trivius - An online trivia game

Play Trivius, an online trivia game from the School of Management in IIT, Bombay. The content was created by us at the BCQC. Read the rules on that site and get clues at the Avenues blog.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Inquizzition 2006, FC

Date: 30 Sept, 2006
Venue: Fergusson College, Pune
Set by: Quest, FC Quiz Society
Conducted by: Ulka Athale, Veda Aggarwal

Quiz Final Results
(60 questions)
1st: Aadisht Khanna and Rishi Iyengar: 105
Jt. 2nd: Kunal Sawardekar and J.Ramanand: 100
Jt. 2nd: Anand Sivashankar and Vibhendu Tiwari: 100
Jt. 4th: B.V.Harishkumar and Arka Bhattacharya: 60
Jt. 4th: Amit Varma and Leslie: 60
6th: Shivaji Marella and Ganesh Hegde: 50

(11 out of 60 questions went unanswered)

Quiz Elim Results (in descending order - IIRC)
Cutoff: 18/35
Aadisht-Rishi, Shivaji-Ganesh, Ramanand-Kunal, Amit-Leslie, Harish-Arka, Anand-Vibhendu

Individual Quiz winner: Suvajit C.


* It's only fair to say that if you made a list of things that could go wrong at a quiz, a lot of them could be ticked off as having happened at FC on Saturday. This post is going to be a lot about it, I'm afraid. I'm not sure there was really much to salvage from the day.
* Wasting so many people's time, especially if they are from out of town, is unacceptable. The elims started 90 minutes behind what was announced, and everything from then on was too late to make many of us fans of the organisers' sense of chronology. (This goes for some of the BC open quizzes too - everybody has a tendency to waltz in whenever they like.) And its even worse when the quiz itself wasn't much to commend. Late availability of rooms/auditoria and equipment cannot be used as an excuse - if that was going to be the case, you must schedule your quizzes appropriately. Apologies don't help.
* The less said about the conditions on stage, the better. But we must. The projection, the seating arrangements were exceedingly painful, clearly revealing a total lack of preparation w.r.t. production. The event management was not even of basic quality standards.
* IMS was the main sponsor, but unlike in earlier years, we did not have a customary presentation of their wares. Instead, we were "treated" to some questions thrown by a resident random IMS guy, who unfortunately had got along his own questions. It didn't augur well when he started by calling it "a game" and "you must answer with speed, wot say!". We soon had our first genuine contender for a "Most Hon. Rev Bobby John" award-winning questioner on our hands with such gems such as "What is India's share in %age of world's economy?" (a call for students of economics at this question had certain people on stage retreating into small invisible pockets - the answer being 0.67%) and "Who is the highest producer of zinc and uranium?". No question had its answer as IMS, much to my disappointment. Hilarious laughs and catcalls later, it was confirmed that the points earned during these questions would count!
* Finally, coming to the questions. They were not really that great, given that many of them were repeats or way too easy to have any "survivability" in the passing. In fact, 30 out of the 49 correct answers were answered on the direct. There were a couple of nice questions (such as the Beatles qn, the 1920s pulp series and the Dickens book), but really, they were almost as infrequent as one-day final wins for India.
* On the positive side, thanks are in order to the organisers for the on-stage hospitality and the prizes. However, knowing what I do of the participants on-stage and off it, we would have gladly traded it in for a much better quiz.
* Knowing what I do of the organisers, I think their heart is in the right place and they would definitely have aimed to do a good quiz and try to improve next time. However, nobility of spirit isn't enough (especially with carpers like us around :-)) and so here are a few suggestions:
- If you want to get the questions right, then you're going to have to attend a lot more quizzes and figure out which are the questions that have now become standard lore. For instance, questions like the one on the Presidency of Israel or Fabian Society are just too easy to be asked anymore. Undoubtedly, that's a nice piece of info, but if your audience is going to consist of "experienced" quizzers, then this is not going to work out.
- This aspect of "experienced" quizzers is a major factor, actually. Perhaps FC needs to make this a college-only event again. There was nothing much to be learnt by attending this quiz for the veteran quizzer and organising a quiz that satisfies these participants may be a tough call for rookie quiz-setters. I'm not trying to be condescending towards anyone, but do consider whether the level of these quiz-setters would be more suited towards up-and-coming college quizzers than these people who have been around for 4 years and more, and have heard most of it before.
- The organising fiasco is a lot more unpardonable, especially if you want people to return next year. I personally have decided not to participate next year if I remain eligible - I might come to watch, but definitely not take part, for sure. It's too much effort for not much value.
- Also consider the extent to which you want your sponsors to be "involved". You need to take a call as to whether you really want: a large amount of participation (strangely, participation was way below par this time - it used to easily be the biggest college organised quiz), participation by the regular quizzers, to be able to attract participation with big prize money etc. You need to decide whether you are ok with your sponsors making the event look silly or whether you want to retain the respect of your participants who will in most cases settle for very little or no prize money and a good quiz.
- Also, quiz-hosting irritants such as providing hints while the question is "live" need to be avoided; however IMO these only come with experience. But how to gain that experience? You need to set and participate in more quizzes along the way before trusting yourself on the big stage. We rarely see any of the FC quizzers in the rest of the events around the place, and no wonder, it shows.
- I hate to say this again and again on this blog for it seems as if we are snooty holders of the keys to setting a good quiz, but some of us have thought, written and discussed a lot about organising quizzes on these pages, and perhaps a perusal is merited if quality (an intangible goal at best, but v. easy to spot when it stinks) is an ambition.
- I am a firm supporter of college quizzers conducting their own quizzes instead of outsourcing to alumni or others, except if you do not possess the ability to do a half-decent quiz. I don't think the FC quizzers lack that overall ability, but a lot needs to be done, for the standards have slipped badly. It got to a point where Kunal and I seriously contemplated the need for a SPCQQ agent to leap onto stage, and shut down proceedings, Monty Python style, by saying things had become too absurd and "now for something completely different".

(And I'd definitely like to know why not "thumb rule" and why only "rule of thumb"?)

September 2006 BC Open Quiz

Date: 24 Sept, 2006
Venue: Dewang Mehta Auditorium, PSPL
Set and Conducted by: Kunal Sawardekar and Kunal Thakar

Quiz Final Results
(46 questions)
1st: Ganesh Hegde and Shivaji Marella: 80
Jt. 2nd: Shamanth Rao and Salil Bijur: 60
Jt. 2nd: Samrat Sengupta and J. Ramanand: 60
4th: Akhil and Apurva: 40
5th: Meghashyam Shirodkar and Aditya Udas: 35
6th: Harsh Ketkar and Rashmi Vadnagare: 20

(15 out of 46 questions went unanswered)

Quiz Elim Results
Cutoff: 8/21
Shamanth+Salil topped the elims

Newbie quiz by: Abhishek Nagaraj and Salil Bijur


* Despite suspicions (;-)) of a quiz filled with hard rock quiz and a Bart-Homer jugal-bandii, the questions were quite interesting, and as should be, reflective of the different interests of the quiz-setters. So we did have questions on rock music and Bart Simpson, but we also had questions on politics, dynasties, tech trivia, literature, India and etymology. Though perhaps not a quiz that covered "everything", I personally learnt a lot of new things and found it enjoyable. In some sense, it had the effect of a Major Brijesh quiz.
* Only complaint was the quiz was too short. Just 21 qns in the elims and 46 in the finals. Blame it on setters leaving things too late in their prep? Perhaps it is time to start mandating at least 80 good questions per Open Quiz. Typically, the setter of the next quiz knows at least 5-6 weeks in advance when s/he is expected to do the quiz, and so has enough time (IMO) to make it worth the time of the participants.
* A 5+1 theme connect in addition to the usual IR questions was done. Interestingly, the answers were not given out for any of the questions leading to the theme. Shamanth and Salil went for the theme despite being in the lead and lost points to slip to 2nd spot.
* The Kunals have promised to make soon available the questions on the inquizitive yahoogroups. If any reader wants questions, please leave your email id in comments for this post and we'll arrange to send them to you.
* We had a lot of new people show up for the newbie quiz which was a good sign. Everyone was on stage for that quiz.

* Samrat will conduct the next open quiz in November.

Sample Elims questions:
1. Acc. to Slavic myth, 3 brothers named Lech, ___ and Rus went hunting one day, but got separated while following different prey. Lech went north, __ went west and Rus went east. Lech's descendants founded the modern nation of Poland (also known as Lechia), Rus's descendants founded Russia, while ___'s descendants founded their own nation and took their name after their founder. Fill the blank.
2.Rossum the senior, a man thought by many to be half crazed, develops the technology, which is then made suitable for practical production by his son Rossum the junior, who establishes an island factory of Rossum's Universal ___. The technology however goes tragically wrong, and humanity is doomed as a result. Fill blank.

ACES 2006 School Quiz

Date: 23 Sept, 2006
Venue: Tilak Smarak Mandir
Organised by: Abhinava Vidyalaya, Pune and BCQC Set by: BC quizzers
Conducted by: Ramanand

Quiz Final Results
(56 questions)
1st: D.E.S. Secondary School (Akshay, Deven, Makarand): 130
2nd: Abhinava Vidyalaya (Gautam, Nissim, Neil): 120
3rd: Muktangan (Ruchik, Shantanu, Siddharth): 110
4th: Bishops (Karan, Raghav, Puneeth): 95
5th: S.P.M English (Jaideep, Kaustubh, Abhishek): 85
6th: Symbiosis Secondary (Abhishek, Mihir, Rohit): 60

(9 questions out of 56 were unanswered)

Quiz Elim Results (in descending order)
Cutoff: 20/30
Abhinava, Muktangan, Symbiosis, Bishops, DES, SPM English (the quiz had a rule that only one team per school could make it to the finals which meant second teams from Abhinava and Symbiosis who scored higher than the cutoff could not make it to stage)


* This is the first time we've been involved in a school quiz, and approached it with a view to introducing ideas like Infinite Rebounds, no buzzers/timekeeping, "workable" questions and the whole pack that is considered conventional at college quizzing and beyond, but is certainly novel to school quizzing.
* The finalists were quite good (as were many audience members) at answering the questions and adapting to this "newer" form of quizzing. Connects were cracked with aplomb.
* It was a tight race between the unfancied DES team and Abhinava (who had the triple tags of being defending champs and top seeds playing at home) with the lead oscillating between them. In the end, it did come down to the very last question - the final theme connect which, being open to all, DES got and Abhinava did not. That decided the winner. Muktangan, who came in 3rd, were best at the connects, getting the theme very early and earning a lot of useful points in that segment.
* The organisation by Abhinava was excellent. The turnout was not quite as high as we'd expected, but given the positive feedback from kids and teachers, hopefully this kind of quizzing will have got a big boost.
* The quiz had two broadcast questions and a 5+1 theme connect in addition to the IR rounds.
* A small report in the TOI (which erroneously states that DES won by 5 points).

Sample questions:
1. Since 1930, kids have been using sentences like "My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas" to memorise something. However, from August 2006, such sentences will have to be modified. What would you be trying to memorise using such sentences?
2. This is an area in northwestern England, on both banks of the lower reaches of the River _____ Estuary. This region is named after the river and is famous for its contribution to British popular culture. Entertainers such as the Beatles came from here. A famous derby match between two of England's oldest clubs takes its name after this region. Name the region in question.