Elegance and an endless curiosity
February 26, 2015 10:46 PM   Subscribe

The Question is the Question: Dilip D'Souza on the competitive sport of 'Quizzing' in India. "Quizzers branch out like fractals, into the minutiae, looking for questions in the interstices of knowledge.”

D'Souza, elsewhere in the essay, says: "Quizzing in India has a history that goes back decades. It got widespread attention across the country with the Bournvita Quiz Contest (BQC), a face-off among schools that kicked off in 1972. We of that vintage spent years listening to it on static-ridden medium-wave." You can relive that nostalgia here, right down to the static and ads for Intel's cutting-edge Pentium II.

The Landmark Quiz:
A profile of quizmaster Navin Jayakumar, who sets the critically acclaimed Landmark Quiz [Video links to the 2012 edition of the quiz].

The 'Crucible' Business Quiz

Weekly quizzes in The Hindu

The Indian edition of University Challenge!

Questions, questions, questions! [No #kolstylz]
posted by beijingbrown (8 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
This post makes me grin from ear to ear. I was involved in the quiz scene in Bangalore during my undergrad years (2005-2010) and it was through that scene that I first discovered Metafilter!
posted by all the versus at 1:02 AM on February 27, 2015

And I, an active member of the KQA, from 1985 to 1989.

We were the only college aged team to reach a ranked spot in the Open quiz competing with ISRO scientists and whatnot.

BMSCE team on quiztime.
posted by infini at 5:03 AM on February 27, 2015

Thanks for the post. I used to do Academic Bowl in High School, so this is right up my alley. I love the discussion of a question's "workoutability". Our team was pretty good at sussing that out, which is why we were able to make it to Nationals one year.
posted by Rock Steady at 5:31 AM on February 27, 2015

I can't believe I'm seeing Navin Jayakumar's name here after all this time. I was a participant in the Landmark quiz - apparently it started in Madras (now Chennai) in 1989, so it was only 4-5 years old when I was quizzing.

What a blast of nostalgia!
posted by RedOrGreen at 8:21 AM on February 27, 2015

There's so much in the opening article that reminds me of American quizbowl, but the philosophy behind Indian quizzing is entirely different. In America, we have the concept of "good quizbowl", which is about "[rewarding] teams for demonstrating differing levels of academic knowledge in a fair and consistent manner." The point of quizzing, according to the Bombay Quizzing Club, is not about knowledge: "The kind of quiz we do is based on problem solving and not knowledge. The idea behind a question is to give facts and clues so that the quizzers can work out the answer."
posted by Small Dollar at 11:52 AM on February 27, 2015

It depends.

Otoh, even the straight out questions aren't really academic - one I recall, was a quote from the news and we were asked "Who said that to whom?" and the answer was Nancy Reagan to Ronald. You kinda have to know completely random in addition to the swotting up. But in a team you'll have different strengths. I was the random specialist.

Unless its completely changed in the past three decades
posted by infini at 12:23 PM on February 27, 2015

or maybe that's the specialist in random?
posted by infini at 12:25 PM on February 27, 2015

I love the act of writing a pub quiz as much as I enjoy delivering it. When players tell me they were able to figure out an answer it feels really rewarding, and I'm so happy to find out this is a widely-agreed on aesthetic halfway around the world in a scene I'd never heard of.

One thing I like to do is to steal the mechanic from the old quiz game Stage II where the answers in a round will come together to form a theme, such as members of the Brady Bunch family, middle names of presidents, or words that go with "kiss". That lets teams guess the theme and then work back to find the answers they didn't get, which gets very hilarious when they mis-guess the theme and then hammer their other answers into place to fit the incorrect theme.
posted by Space Coyote at 6:57 PM on February 28, 2015

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