24, 25 and 26 July 2008

Columban Open Quiz – St Columba’s School

Columban Open Quiz 2008

Columban Open Quiz 2008

The First Quiz of the Season, the Columban Open Quiz 2008 was held on 24, 25 and 26 July 2008. As usual, we had not received an invite for the Quiz. After contacting Mrs. K Singh (The teacher-in-charge of the COQ – Incidentally, she is an ex-teacher from NEPS), we got the invite and we sent in our entry comprising of Ankit, Sahil, Rohit, and ofcourse yours truly. We named ourselves “42 Is Not The Answer” (Yes, I know it’s a pretty boring name and I hope all H2G2 Fans as well as Ankur are reading this). Later On Day 2, there was quite a lot of booing; when Kunal Savarkar, the quizmaster asked us our team name in the Semis…I don’t know why ๐Ÿ˜‰ For the uninitiated, let me tell all of you that the Columban Open Quiz has been one constant on the Delhi School quizzing circuit for more than twenty years now. It is one of the biggest school quizzes in Northern India, witnessing participation of almost 250+ teams annually. This was my 3rd year at the Quiz (Unfortunately, we had never qualified for even the 2nd stage each time). The major positives about the Quiz are that – Its an Open Quiz (I guess the only one of its kind for school students). It has a 4-stage format – Prelims, Quarters, Semis and Finals. It also has a 4-member team format. Also, you can send as many teams as you like from one school – So anybody can participateJ. I will come to the negatives of the Quiz later. With virtually no preparation for the Quiz, (I had read just some current affairs) we left on the morning of 24th for the Quiz. As usual, we were placed in Group A – commonly called the Group of Death because it’s got all the best teams. All the teams which register are divided into 4 Groups (A, B, C and D). We reached the venue before time and saw the familiar scenes – Hundreds of students, messed up chairs, students from the host school shouting on mikes, the famous Edmund Rice Hall…..etc. I was quite nervous this time round because I wanted to definitely qualify for the Quarters and then go ahead. The Prelims started around 10-30 AM and there were 40 Qns. We had only 20 minutes to write the answers. There were 5 Audio-Visual qns, which were shown on screen during the last 5 minutes. As usual the paper had question on etymology, brand origins, trivia, English music, etc. I was not quite satisfied by our performance because it could have been much better. I believed 20 minutes was quite less time for such a long paper. They should have given us about 30 minutes. And one more suggestion – They should do something about their projector, because the visuals look blurred and dithered and what not….That does not quite help matters – And this has been happening ever since I have participated. We have to rush from our seats to see the visual on the computer screen. And the volunteers keep shouting – Please sit down, Only 1 member from a team can stand up and go blah blah etc. The Prelims and Quarters are usually conducted by ex-Columban students who have recently passed out. They gave away the answers and we got 12 correct. It was not a very bad score and not a very good one either. After some time, the results were ready for Group A. Each Quarter Final would have 10 teams qualifying from the Prelims. Our Group had around 70 teams, if I am not wrong. They started announcing the names – A-X, A-Y (Team Numbers) and we had lost hope once 4-5 names had gone. Then the 7th team to qualify – New Era Public School, Mayapuri (42 Is the Answer) – We had done it! They announce the qualifiers in order of their score – which meant, we had the 4th best score in our prelims. Which meant the cut-off would have been around 8-9. The Quarter finals started, and I recognized many of the organizers including Rononjoy and Noel – I had seen them on the Quizzing Circuit in previous years. The Quarter Finals had 2 teams from DPS RKP – and there were many others 2 – But I don’t remember them now….The Quarter Finals was based on Infinite Bounce. And we had to select the Question Number for our question. The Quarters had many questions which were ripped off straight from Online Quizzing Blogs and Groups, notably Quiznet (copied word to word) – I am sure there were some original questions too, but then such plagiarism is not acceptable in such a large-scale Quiz. After the Quiz, I came back and searched – Only to be surprised to see 3 Qns from one Quiz (On a Blog), which came in the Quarters. Anyways, we managed to perform quite well (giving some good answers), and finished 1st in the Quarters. To be frank, I did not quite like the Quarters. The Semis were to be held on the same day, but we were told that they would be held on the 25th now because the Quizmaster was busy or something. It felt good to have finally qualified. We went back to school in an auto. The Semis and the Finals of the COQ are done by Quizcraft (http://www.quizcraft.in) – By Adittya Nath Mubayi and Kunal Savarkar. The Semis were scheduled to be held at around 2 PM on the 25th, but they did not start till around 3-30. We had reached the venue at around 1-30 itself, and got damn bored just roaming around the school. They were not ready with questions or something (Kunal Savarkar thought there would be 8 teams in the semis0, thought actually there had to be 10). Adittya Nath Mubayi was not doing the Semis and Finals this year as he was busy and out of New Delhi. So they were preparing questions at the last moment, and we were left waiting and waiting and waiting…really, it was a tiring experience in the heat. The Semis finally started and they were looking much better than the Quarters – That’s because Quizcraft people are professionals – They Quiz covered all aspects – Geography, History, Science, Business, Sports, India, Computers and Technology, Music and Movies quite well. But I believe there were some real sitters in the semis and that could have been avoided – It’s always better to have a balance. It finished at around 4-45 PM. We missed some easy ones (that too on sports) – And scored nothing in the first round, when all other teams took some points. We did give some answers later – Finally, we managed to finish 6th in our semis. It was quite disappointing but nevertheless a good experience and a knowledgeable one.

I also went to see the Finals the next day, in the morning and noted down some questions. The Finals were definitely tougher than the Semis and Quarters. There were 4 teams from St.Columba’s in the finals…Amity NOIDA won the Quiz and DPS VK finished 2nd. I also collected our certificates and cash prize (Rs 600/- for the team) for being semi-finalists. The winners took home Rs 1500 each and we got Rs 150 each ๐Ÿ˜‰

Met quite a few friends, Agrim from Amity Saket (His team reached till the quarter-finals), Chirag from St Columba’s (They reached till the Semis and his experience of the quiz was posted earlier on the blog).

There were also Ishaan Chugh and Tejas Suri, who had come as part of the audience…..They were going around as if they were going to conduct the Quiz!!! Ishaan was there on Day 2 and Day 3 of the Quiz.

The negatives of the quiz are – There is a registration fee (I guess there should be no registration fee for a school-level quiz!), too many questions on English Music and Movies, repeats and rip-offs in the prelims and quarter-finals, mis-management to the core everywhere, working on IST (Indian Stretchable Time)….I guess that’s all.

But even despite all this, the COQ remains a must-win because its one of the best quizzes there is around on the school circuit in Delhi. Hope to win it next year!!!

My rating of the Quiz – 7/10. I will post some questions of the Quiz soon. There will be one full post dedicated to questions….So dont worry about that!