Time for the thinking cap

“The art and science of asking questions is the source of all knowledge,” said Thomas Berger.

These words find resonance with the community of avid quizzers in Chennai. What began as a small group of people quizzing each other on the steps of Anna University in 1988 is today the Quiz Foundation of India (QFI). The first organised quiz club in the city, it was founded by Dr. Navin Jayakumar, a familiar name for anybody who is even slightly interested in quizzing. For this group of over 200 people, their shared passion is a thirst for facts and trivia, and the process of cracking a question using this knowledge.

Comprising mainly of urban professionals and students, the age profile extends from those barely out of their teens to veterans who have been with the group since it began. Meeting fortnightly on Sunday mornings at P.S Senior Secondary School, Mylapore, the quizzing sessions form the highlight of their weekends. For those who are unable to make it, but want to stay updated, the questions are circulated via email.

Inspired by quiz clubs in cities like Hyderabad, Bangalore and Calcutta — which hosted annual quiz festivals — QFI started their own, QFIesta, a decade ago. This year’s edition takes place this weekend at the Ada Lovelace Auditorium in Anna University, Guindy.

QFIesta typically has six quizzes — three on general topics and the others on themes like books, sports, entertainment and more. The competing teams generally consist of three participants, and about 50 to 60 teams turn up per quiz. “The festival is growing in strength each year and the quizzing is of a really high standard. It is an intense event, and we see participants coming in from other cities as well. In fact, this year, we are expecting 30 to 50 teams from other cities alone,” says Deviprasad Viswanathan, joint secretary of QFI. Explaining the evolution of quizzing, Deviprasad says that the association of quiz with just brute memory is an unfair one, “Earlier, quizzes were about what you knew and how well you knew it. But now, it relies on deductive reasoning as much as it does on memory. It gives us an opportunity to use reasoning and a process of elimination to build answers based on the facts we know.” Mirroring his sentiments is Ashwin Kumar, a marketing professional who straddles both the Chennai and Bangalore quizzing scenes. “It wasn’t just in India; across the world, quizzing was mainly a factual style of questioning, where you either knew the answer or you didn’t. A well-framed question gives you just the right number of hints. They force you to use your logic and knowledge to arrive at the answer, which is the most rewarding part of the experience,” he says.

Ashwin also draws our attention to the fact that Indian quizzing attracts people of all ages, unlike the quizzing scene in other countries, where the participants are older and are professional quizzers. “There is an actual market for a sport like quizzing, but in India, it remains a hobby. There is something for everybody here. The process of taking part in a quiz is extremely energizing.”

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Printable version | Dec 6, 2021 3:11:19 PM |

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