By Aravindabharathi R
Capitalising on the success of Korean rapper PSY’s hit Gangnam Style were the posters for this year’s IIT Madras Open Quiz (or “OQ” as it is known in quizzing circles). Starting about a month before the quiz, the posters began appearing in the schools and colleges in and around the city and in the shops along Besant Nagar beach. In addition to this, the organising team also reached out to the masses using online publicity campaigns on Facebook and Twitter. The campaigns seem to have been quite successful, and the crowd which had gathered for the prelims consisted of quizzers of all ages and backgrounds, from wide-eyed schoolchildren to weary software professionals and at least one young mother with an infant.
There are two questions that must be asked in any quiz conducted in Chennai. The first is a self-referential question about the city itself. Conforming to this, the first question in the preliminary round asked participants to name the Indian city whose sister cities were Vologograd in Russia, San Antonio and Denver in the USA, and Kuala Lampur in Malaysia. The second compulsory question is about the latest Kollywood music sensation. Once again, the Open Quiz team failed to disappoint, as the 40th and final question posed in the prelims had the audience identifying a track from the recent Tamil hit Maattrraan.
About forty-five minutes after the prelims were over, the finals began with the top eight teams being called on stage. By this time, the crowd at the SAC had dwindled to about a third of what it was before. T-shirts with the OQ insignia were on offer as audience prizes, and the very knowledgeable audience managed to answer every audience question, and also all the ones that were passed to them since none of the teams on stage knew the right answer.
The first round of the finals was conducted by Sanjay “Service” Byalal, IITM alumnus, former Quiz club convener, and co-host of the last edition of the IIT Madras Open Quiz. The topics covered ranged from the economics of printer cartridges to the execution of Adolf Eichmann. It was followed by a buzzer challenge round in which teams had to answer a question on a topic they picked from a 3×3 grid. This was followed by a ‘long visual connect’ in which teams had to guess the theme behind a series of images. After an oral buzzer round, the team of Swami, Gopal and Jayakanthan (QED) emerged as winners.
The quiz was a hit with Chennai’s quizzing fraternity, who had a lot of encouraging words for the organisers. “Congrats on a great quiz yesterday. I think everyone quite enjoyed it, it was a good mix of contemporary and ‘classic’ stuff, covering a lot of ground. Generally everyone seems to be pretty impressed with the show, so you guys should definitely give yourselves several pats on your backs!” wrote Ravi Mundoli, one of the finalists.
Jayadev Bhaskaran, one of the conveners of the IITM Quiz Club, congratulated the organising team that evening, saying “OQ 2012 is now finally done! It went off pretty well, and was well-received by all the teams and the audience”. Akshay Rangamani, convener of the Quiz Club and OQ quizmaster, attributes the success of OQ to the careful planning and preparation that went into it. “Nitwit Oddment Blubber Tweak”, he began, “We’ve been working on it for over a month. We started early, setting questions, publicising it, and getting sponsors.”
The complete set of questions can be found here.