Mindspark – Building the Next Gen of Quizzers in Rourkela

Amongst the many joys I find in quizzing is debuting in newer centres where I haven’t quizzed yet. The reason of course is the challenge in the suspense of how well the set I have prepared will be received and the obvious fear that accompanies any new endeavour. And so, the latest location for my debut was the city of Rourkela.

All thanks to the Management Association of Rourkela (MAR) and its group of quiz lovers who have made a big name for themselves in the national corporate quizzing circuit winning some of the most sought-after quizzes. They had the desire and more importantly the will to put together a show of such scale in a short time period not for themselves but for the next generation of quizzers. Thus, Mindspark was born – an inter-school quiz competition for students of grades 8th – 12th.

Such was the rousing response to the outreach team of MAR that the wonderful auditorium of Rourkela Club was packed beyond capacity as 122 participating teams were joined by their parents and teachers on a Sunday evening. The beyond expectation numbers did overwhelm the organizers but the non-participants were quickly made comfortable in the adjacent conference rooms and lounges of the club.

As with most quizzes, the quiz had two parts – written prelims with all the 122 teams followed by an onstage final with the best 6 teams. In hindsight, I must admit, with 122 teams we could have had another qualification round between the prelims and the final allowing more teams an opportunity to be on stage and fight it out in a buzzer round. But in my defence (to my allegation against myself :P), we were expecting about 50 teams not more than twice that (and with that lame reason of an excuse I have officially cut myself some slack)!

In blog posts over the years and even chitchatting with participants, I have spoken of the 60% to 40% as the sweet spot range for the qualifying teams from the prelims to the final. In Mindspark, the highest score in the prelims was 65% and the cutoff score for qualification was 48%. Not quite 60-40, but not too wayward either.

The final had 6 teams from 5 different schools – DAV (Unit 8), DPS, St Joseph’s, St Arnold’s and St Paul’s. After the first couple of rounds, it was DAV (Unit 8) and St Joseph’s who pulled far ahead of the others with 42 and 38 points respectively. After the penultimate round, one of the two DPS teams began inching closer to St Joseph’s as DAV’s marginally risky yet mostly rewarding strategy helped pull them ahead of St Joseph’s.

In the final round, DAV continued their fine form to etch their name as the inaugural champion of Mindspark as DPS drew inspiration from Dhoni to strike three consecutive answers for 35 points on the last three questions to park themselves between DAV and St Joseph’s in 2nd place. Final standings – DAV (94), DPS (68), St Joseph’s (43), DPS Team E (25), St Paul’s with a team of class 8 students (15) and St Arnold’s (9).

For all their enthusiasm, participation, and performance beyond expectations, the winners were rewarded fairly handsomely. The winning team collected certificates, individual trophies, a champion’s trophy for the school, Rourkela Club vouchers worth ₹3000, and a cash prize of ₹10,000. The 1st runner-up team collected certificates, individual trophies, Rourkela Club vouchers worth ₹2000, and a cash prize of ₹7,000. The 2nd runner-up team collected certificates, individual trophies, Rourkela Club vouchers worth ₹1000, and a cash prize of ₹5,000. The three remaining finalists collected certificates, individual trophies, and a cash prize of ₹1,000 each. And finally, there were consolation prizes for the teams that placed 7th to 12th in the preliminary round.

While the above is the QM’s view of a new quizzing endeavour by the not-so-new friends of quizzing, here are the “friends” with the press release of Mindspark.