Monday, September 18, 2006

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Monday, October 24, 2005

Of Quizzes, Showmen, Technology and the Changing face of Quizzing

It's getting increasingly difficult for semi-serious quizmasters like me to set quizzes that satisfy the puzzle thirst of serious quizzers and yet keep audiences entertained. Most of us quizzers flock to the BEQs of the world for money and fuel the already swelling pockets and egos of the showmen of the quizzing world in the process.

While the collective knowledge of a quiz audience is generally decent, these audiences seem to have got hooked on to the quizzing formats peddled by the quiz showmen whom we quizzers so detest.

While these showmen have earned their keep with years of persistent work, it is time their reign ended.

The internet has changed the face of serious quizzing over the last ten years. Back in the late eighties, a few ref books and weekly quiz at KCircle were all we had in Hyderabad. Setting a quiz was easier in some ways and tougher in some.

Find a nice vignette in the papers or on TV, spin it around to make it interesting, and put a question down. Chances were that the question would draw praise and get answered by an above average quizzer.

Setting a quiz in today's "I already knew that, read it in quiz blog MMXXIII last month" world is a nightmare. Every half quizzer and his grand aunt knows exactly what was asked in a quiz half way around the globe. Information is flowing out of orifices hitherto considered un-intellectual.

Visuals were difficult to come by in the old days. Photocopying images or lugging magazines cuttings to quizzes was appreciated by most. But honestly wasn't worth it for many effort optimizers (read lazy asses) like me. Many a brilliant visual connection has gone unfertilized for want of technology. Visuals are a just a click away today. Visual connections are fun and near effortless to create. Presentations are infinitely easier.

Great quizzers: Younger, Smarter and Souther

Just got back from MICA, Ahmedabad. Did a lone wolf quiz for some of the best young quizzers in the country.

Some of these guys can conduct a mean quiz too. All ye who continue to live in the 70s and the 80s, when quizzing meant Satre, British Raj, Washington's Apple Tree, Jack the Ripper's list, Tagore, Bose and Vivekananda, wake up ! Today's quizzer treats Vermeer and Bunty aur Babli with the same ease / disdain.

This young brigade is brilliant and they are primarlily from the south of the Vindhyas. Move over Calcutta. Salaam Chennai, Bangalore and Pune !

I would have loved to add my own Hyderabad to that list, but we are not there yet.

Some of the young quizzers that invaded MICA Oct 21-22:

Samanth Subramaniam
J Ramanand
Shamanth Rao
Ravi Venkatesh
Rohan Morarka
Vikram Joshi ( New to the quizzing circuit, cracked the KQA Mahaquizzer in Mumbai )

I've left Alagarsamy and Mitesh out of this list cause they ain't young anymore !

Samanth conducted a rocking Biz Quiz. Alagarsamy and Mitesh Agarwal apparently walked away with it.

Ramanand did a cerebral yet entertaining Gen Quiz. Samanth and Ravi cracked it.

Alagarsamy won the Lone Wolfer that I conducted. PS: His every victory brings me pride. He is my quizzing inspiration. Hyderabad's shining light !

It was good to see an ISB dude, Praveen, in the finals. Lots of promise. Finally met a very talented subset of the Pune quizzing circuit. I forget their names but not their impressive showing in Ramanand's quiz.

Much fun was had by all. Big thanks to Deepa Swaminathan and Vinay for putting together a great quiz fest. Your dedication and your choice in quizmsaters(!) are exemplary.