Not just a trivial pursuit

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Test of knowledge Participants of Mahaquizzer 2009
Test of knowledge Participants of Mahaquizzer 2009

Karnataka Quiz Association, who conducted the Mahaquizzer 2009 National Quizzing Championship, aims to promote quizzing as a mind sport

In a room at the Government College for Women, Vazhuthacaud, 45 people of varied ages are tackling a question paper. Simultaneously, in 12 other centres across the country and in Singapore too, hundreds more are attempting the same. Though it could easily be mistaken as an entrance examination, these people are in fact participating in Mahaquizzer 2009, the fifth edition of the annual National Quizzing Championship conducted by Karnataka Quiz Association (KQA), one of the premiere quizzing groups in the country.

“KQA is a not-for-profit organisation that has been actively involved in promoting quizzing as a mind sport since 1983, when it was begun in Bangalore by Wing Commander (retd) G. R. Mulky, and seven other quizzing enthusiasts,” says Arul Mani, a Bangalore-based lecturer in English, quizzer and vice-President of the association who was in the city to conduct the contest.

Quiz on various topics

“Today KQA has about 1,000 members of whom around 200 are active quizzers and we conduct about 100 quiz events a year,” he adds. There are three levels of activities for its members, all of whom volunteer their time to conduct what they call “organised quizzing.” These include seven levels of quizzes (open for all, inter-collegiate, inter-junior college, inter-high school, inter-middle school, class four and class three), the Mahaquizzer contest plus quizzes on specialised subjects such as literature, science and entertainment. Apart from this, the association also brings out the ‘KQA Yearbook,’ handles quizzes on behalf of other organisations and conducts workshops for school children on the technical aspects of quizzing including how to set questions and thus promote “information culture” among the kids. Most of the programmes are team events but they also conduct a few singles events.

“The speciality of Mahaquizzer contest is that we want the participants to make informed guesses. Although the questions appear to be complex, each question is so phrased to give ample clues. Around 75 percent of the questions will be familiar to the participants,” says Arul who topped last year’s contest with an impressive 99 correct answers out of 150. The questions are set by a team of five ace quizzers: Ochintya Sharma (the president of KQA), Dibyendu Das, Thejaswi Udupa, Avinash Thirumalai and Arun Hiregange with Arul Mani, as ‘grammarian and guinea pig.’ Each person contributes a set of questions which are hashed over by the whole team and then put to vote so that “only the best possible questions get in.”

Going by the standard of the questions and the lost-in-thought expressions on the faces of participants, this Mahaquizzer 2009 too was a tough nut to crack. With questions such as: ‘The author of a novel, described by the Irish Times as ‘the most important Irish novel since ‘Ulysses,’ died in 1981 after choking on a dinner of lamb chops and potatoes. Name the Oscar-winning movie and his autobiography which share a title derived from an incident in his childhood about how he picked up a piece of chalk his sister was playing with’ ….no wonder the 760 contestant vying for the top prize (the Wing Commander G.R. Mulky trophy for Quizzing excellence) had their work cut out for them.

And if you are wondering, ‘My Left Foot’ is the answer to the question.

And the prize goes to...

The city winner of Mahaquizzer 2009 was T.K. Manoj Kumar, Transport Secretary to the Government of Kerala, who narrowly beat medical student Manu Sudhakar after two sets of nerve-racking tiebreakers.

The women’s prize went to B.S. Indu, a final year literature student of All Saints College and the school prize was won by Sreedhar J. of St. Thomas Central School.





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