Although, the headline gives away what the climax was like, read on to know how we arrived at that 93:20-esque moment.
Indiannica Learning launched a one of a kind quizzing property with quite a few firsts in the world of school quizzing. To begin with, it was a unique online and offline combination – one that was a rigorous 6-week exercise on their app and as if that wasn’t enough, it was followed by an offline quizzing league in Delhi, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Pune – a series of day long events consisting of two qualifiers followed by a zonal final. Collectively, it was a journey that one had to endure and as we saw at the end very it was a journey worth undertaking. But we’ll get to that later.
Approx 25,000 students participated in the online practice quizzes and live quizzes on Indiannica’s ILP app. An app, with its live quiz and practice quiz content built in a painfully small matter of a month. From each zone 120 students qualified. These students then competed in a written preliminary round from which 24 students qualified. These 24 students were then divided into 2 groups of 12 students each or 6 teams of 2 members each. This here is a concise explanation of the overall structure. Let me now give you a quick review of all the four zonal rounds.
Beginning with Delhi, although 3 teams qualified from each of the zones but Delhi had the closest competition, as all the 6 teams were in the reckoning after the penultimate round. And finally, just a small matter of 2 answers separating the team that finished 6th and the team that finished 3rd.
Onwards to Bengaluru, Bengaluru offered a strong set of participants and thankfully (something that’s always painful to watch when it doesn’t happen) at the zonal final stage there were as many girls as there were boys. The eventual winners however, scored more than twice the points than their nearest rivals. A strong statement to the other participants, for Priyanshu and Vedant were the ones to watch out for.
Next stop for the IQL express was the City of Joy – Kolkata. A city known to produce the brightest of minds did not disappoint one bit. The congregation of east’s sharpest middle school quizzers had its own storytelling flavor to it, where teams would drop in their answers in the middle of some stories that came in the form of answers. I had to keep my ears in rapt attention lest I miss the answers in their fancy storytelling sessions. Oh well, in all honesty, it was fun.
And now to the terminal, Pune. Perhaps due to the distance that the participants had to travel, the turnout was a bit low. But what Pune lacked in numbers, it made up in quality. It was an easy outing for the eventual zonal finalists though as right from the start, the three of them built a heady start and maintained a cushion right till the very end. Flamboyance for the qualifiers and a day of frustration for the rest.
So, onwards we march to the day of the finals on Christmas eve, to a day where battles were to be fought, reputations to be made and glory lay waiting to be achieved. The qualifying teams held their fort back home but now it was time to do it on a cold windy day in Delhi. The titanic tussle for an exciting title race was made all the more exciting, where unfortunately for North, neither one of the three teams qualified for the final. Which meant the finalists were all playing away, none of them having any kind of home advantage. I spoke so highly of the teams coming from the east earlier on in the post, remember? It was for good reason, all their three teams from qualified for the final! And two from the west and one from the south completed the grouping in the final.
The final started slowly with only three teams making a dent on the scoreboard after the first round, interestingly all three from the east (I told you, didn’t I). But the high scoring round 2 was when everybody weathered the chill and decided to take their destinies in their own hands. After Round 2 – Kolkata: 46, Bangalore: 40 and Pune: 32. Round 3, Howzzat required a bit of strategic decision making, something these young rising stars had already done in IQL by the time they reached this stage where it mattered the most. Our leaders after round 2 played it well and maintained their advantage but Bangalore took the lead when they identified the rituals of Jagannath Temple. Scores going into the final round – Bangalore: 60, Kolkata: 56 and Pune: 32 and Kolkata (Team B): 10. The final round was a rather long round, and a good one for all the teams as each one of them got to score some points. Special mention for Kolkata (Team B) though before I move to the drama that unfolded in the final question, they played so well that they not only slingshotted ahead of Pune but also reached a healthy 13 point advantage to ensure a comfortable 3rd place finish.
And now for the nerve-wracking, nail biting final question. After 2 and a half months of action described above, the ebb and flow came down to the final question (much like the cliffhanger of the Aguerrroooooo moment). Here’s how it went –before the last question, Kolkata was on 76 and Bangalore still on 60. In the final question the logo of NRC was shown, Kolkata hit the buzzer, a move that irrespective of the answer they could have avoided and still won the title, and said “Make in India”. Damn, -5. The game was brought back to life from its grave. And guess what, Bangalore then buzzed and said National Register of Citizens (an expansion that the people wanting to implement it struggle with as well). +10 to Bangalore. Scores now- Kolkata: 71 and Bangalore: 70. In the follow up question, Bangalore had to say whether this statement was True or False – “Within the video game – Legend of Zelda, one uses Rupee as currency”. Bangalore knew, letting go of the question meant Kolkata would win, so they didn’t. And trust me when I say this, Bangalore had no clue about it. The participant shut his eyes and said “True”. That’s when I got my Martin Tyler moment, in all these years of quizzing I swear I’ve never seen anything like this but I watched it and drank it in. Such is the beauty of the sport. It’s a gift that keeps on giving. Vedant Santosh Shinde and Nandigama Priyanshu from Bangalore win the first ever champion title of Indiannica Quiz League in unbelievable circumstances, from the jaws of defeat.
That was fun, a lot of it actually. Download the Indiannica Learning App if you want to be a part of it. See you next year!