Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The BQC - IIT Bombay Quizzes - Recaps, Reviews and Recognition

On 6 March, 2011, the BQC and IIT Bombay hosted the inaugural Bombay Open quizzes, a day-long event with up to four quizzes. We'd like to thank IIT-B and its students for support with:
  • the venue - a new, large and comfortable lecture hall;
  • printing posters and directions;
  • audio-visual equipment, including the buzzers which were used in all quizzes;
  • research for the Open Sports and General quizzes; and
  • a generous number of student participants in all quizzes.
And our sponsors:
  • Anand Sivashankar, Anannya Deb and Atul Mathew, for contributing Rs. 5,000 each towards prizes, particularly for the Sports Quiz;
  • Rajiv Rai, for contributing Rs. 12,000 towards prizes and a dozen other expenses; and
  • Vibhendu Tewari, for not asking for Rs. 7,000 back from the BQC for earlier expenses.

In the absence of formal corporate sponsorship, it's wonderful that these guys can open up their wallets to host an event of this nature. Particularly when they're giving up a significant amount of time to go with their financial contributions. Many thanks, gentlemen, and here's hoping we can set a trend with benefactors growing in strength.

With a view to making the BQC Open a regular event on the annual quizzing calendar, here's a quick recap of the events that took place, and a few considered thoughts (consolidated from various sources who offered great feedback) on what worked, did not, and what needs to happen in the next edition.

The College Quiz
Vikram Joshi and Pradeep Ramarathnam hosted a mostly enjoyable quiz that hit the right spot for college students - lots of pop culture, Internet memes and a lot of stuff that wizened quizzers will find familiar, but was completely new to the college crowd. One hopes this will prepare them better for the Open Quiz, where these questions will be dismissed from sight as "peters".

The first quiz of the day usually tends to last longer than it ought to, and this was no different. But on a day as packed as this one was, it would have been helpful to keep a tighter control of time.

The results:
Winners – Paddy, Surinderjeet, Mayur (IIT-Bombay)
First Runners up – Jaideep, R.Tamizhmarai, Aravind Vijaysarathy (IIM-Ahmedabad)
Second Runners up ( 3 way tied ) – Indrasen, Neel, Pulkit (IIT-Bombay); Rahul Gaur, Siddarth Shanbhag, Mukul Gupta (IIT-Bombay); and Sushil Shanbhag, Rushi Bhavsar, Rama Kulkarni (ICT-Bombay)

The Science and Technology Quiz
Hosted by IIT-B students for the college students, the written quiz of 32 questions was predictably heavy on computers- and Internet-related content, but was quite a bit of fun. A neat question on the "relationships" between planets and another on the discoverers of sub-atomic particles, were the highlights of the quiz. As a last minute addition to the schedule, it was a wild card that turned out quite decently in the end.

The Open Sports Quiz
Anand Sivashankar, Ananya Deb and Atul Mathew sponsored, researched and hosted this quiz. While the prelims covered a good spread of sports, the finals showed a preponderance towards the Olympics. The great thing about the quiz was its willingness to look in directions other than old familiars like cricket, the English Premier League and Formula One racing.

There was some confusion regarding who was in control of the quiz. While there might be some value to asking the questions one has set, it is also important to not lose the flow of the quiz while switching back and forth between three quizmasters. It is even more critical that only one opinion holds on details such as partial scoring. Maybe the one who asks the questions should decide what is acceptable as an answer. Also, the cool part in "The Four Musketeers" is "Musketeers", not "Four".

The Results:
Winners – Alagarsami, Anil & Ramkey
First Runners up – Vijay TSR and Nitish Khadiya
Second Runners up – Sumant Srivathsan, Omkar Nene and Aniket Khasgiwale

The Bombay Open Quiz
I'll defer to a favourable review by Surya of the quiz, with thanks from Rajiv, Vibhendu and I. One of the great sources of entertainment to a quizmaster is to listen to teams discuss their answers, and it is equally delightful to see how teams arrive at the right answer. The winning team of Krishnamurthi (JK), Nitish Khadiya and Bhargava could do virtually no wrong, even when they pulled guesses out from places lacking in sunlight. It was particularly good to see teams come in to attend this quiz from out of town, and more so when they come from places as far as Chennai, Hyderabad and even Delhi. Thanks for the support!

The Results:
Winners – J. Krishnamurthy, Bhargava & Nitish Khadiya (Team: Swami & Friends 1)
First Runners up – Alagarsami , Anil & Ramki (Team: Swami & Friends 2)
Second Runners up – Anand Sivashankar, Kunal Sawardekar & Avaneendra (Who refused to be categorized by ideas such as team names)

Comments and Feedback
The following is a compilation of email and verbal feedback from several participants and organizers. Many thanks to all of you for your bouquets, brickbats and recommendations!
  • Four quizzes in a day are too many. We all agree completely. Even three is a stretch, but with a timely start, it's the ideal number.
  • The venue was not quiz-friendly. No argument here either, because not only was it difficult to locate on the IIT-B campus, it was also rife with issues. Seats were too far apart for discussion between teammates. The stage is not suitable for teams to sit facing the audience (even partially).
    • While we're grateful for being provided with a venue for no cost, this is clearly not a venue with a future. Not only is IIT-B hard to reach for most people in Bombay, the venue itself is not ideal for hosting what we would like to be a showpiece event. We need to take this to a more formal auditorium in future editions.
  • The audio system was substandard. There was a lot of trouble with mics when the QM had to move around. This was particularly problematic in rounds where the text was not displayed on the slide, as in the buzzer round. Speaking of which ...
  • The buzzer system was poorly designed. There were issues with the lights and sound working together, and the switches were not connected with sufficient length to distribute the teams along the front of the room.
    • Once again, this is something to account for in future editions. A functional, audience-friendly buzzer system is a critical element to making the rounds work smoothly.
    • It is unacceptable for the A/V system to be buggy in a room that isn't very big, and where only two mics are in place at any point of time. It would have helped to check the room out before the event, but availability was an issue.
  • Quizmasters need to figure out the flow of their quiz. This was specifically for the Sports Quiz, where three QMs all asked their questions during the quiz, as well as offering sometimes divergent opinions on scoring. Best to resolve such issues beforehand, or even better, just let one person be the QM for the round.
    • People like to ask the questions they have put together, but it is probably better from a presentation/performance perspective to make one person the host. Supporting content can be provided from off-stage by the other researchers as required.
  • The event is not scalable without larger sponsors. This year's edition was fully funded through contributions from BQC members mentioned at the top of this post, and the BQC's own corpus. However, the BQC does not raise enough funds through subscriptions to continue to fund this event on its own, and it is essential to move to the next level. This involves registration of the BQC as a charity, and opening a bank account - a long-pending action item.
    • This will also help us move to a venue that can make the event more audience-friendly, along with the attendant improvements in publicity and quality of production.
  •  For a long day, plan for food. People need to eat, especially if they are expected to sit through three quizzes in a day.
Please let us know how we can do better or differently. Like we said, we want to make this work on a long-term basis.


Diwakar said...

'The event is not scalable without large sponsors'- start early and this should not be a problem at all!!!

sumant said...

Div - agreed. :)

cardboardboxlife said...

My post's mention here earned me a hate comment http://cardboardboxlife.wordpress.com/2011/03/09/of-uncle-pai-iit-b-and-bqc-open/#comments

Wow! :D

Exodus said...

Good start guys !! I hope this tradition continues every year.

Any chance of these quizzes being uploaded somewhere for BQC "overseas" members to peruse?

sumant said...

Cardboardboxlife - Well, in their defence, they did admit up front to being a troll. Best to ignore everything that follows.

Exodus - We're working on it. Right now, the quizzes are only distributed to the subscribers list, and I have no immediate way of taking your money. :)

Rajaram S said...

Hi, Do you have a paid subscription (like qfi) to which you can subscribe to, to participate in in-house quizzes and receive the quizzes?

sumant said...

Rajaram - See my comment above. :)

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