This review is going to be longer than the rest (about 9 minute read) only because this quiz was arguably (wait.. Only I have been the witness to all my quizzes till date so I’ll take the liberty to decide. And I will say unarguably) the finest quiz I have been a part of. Let’s see if the review can justify the experience.
The 3rd edition of the annual business quiz for corporates, Udaan was organised by NHRD Network Ranchi Chapter in association with SAIL Management Training Institute. Since quizzing powerhouses of the south do not have a direct flight to Ranchi, the participation was dominated by teams from the North, Central and East. So we had teams from various cities including Kolkata, Jamshedpur, Delhi, Raigarh, Bhubaneswar, Hyderabad and from organizations like Indian Oil, JSPL, Rourkela Steel Plant, TCS, Bokaro Steel Plant and more.
Before starting with the quiz, the participants were treated with sources of information for the content of the quiz along with the distribution of topics. With that I left no doubt in the minds of the participants about what was to follow except of course the easy questions and their difficult answers. All of us did a yoga exercise that I call Switchoffasana, that magically(?) switches off cellphones. 53 teams participated in the preliminary round that had 25 questions with 4 tie breakers. Thankfully, we did not have any ties (missing out on a tiebreaker is every quizzer’s worst nightmare). The highest score in the prelims was 16 and the sixth team that made the cut did so with 12.5. Though I must mention there were 3 teams between 11 and 12 and all teams had atleast 2 answers correct. I’ve always stressed on the fact that to have a great final (for a level playing field and an even mix of answered and unanswered questions) the score of the qualifying teams should be between 60% to 40%. Between 64% to 50% turned out to be nearly as good.
The six teams that qualified were- Rourkela Steel Plant x 2, TCS, Indian Oil x 2 and Bokaro Steel Plant. I was told that Rourkela Steel Plant (Team A) was a two time defending champion. The other RSP team came second in the last edition. So both were here to claim the pole position for RSP. The finale had 3 rounds. First was Infinite Bounce. Team A started the quiz where they left it last year with two brilliant answers. Little did we know that the first timers for this quiz, TCS (Team B) would constantly be nurdling Team A for the top spot. Scores at the end of round 1 (in seating order)- 33, 24, 0, 17, 10 and 9. Everyone but one team opening their account.
Round 2, the Baazigar round was a less confusing and more audience friendly distant cousin of the more confusing and less audience friendly Pounce format.
As the old saying goes, buzzers maketh a quiz interesting. Baazigar was the round that got the excitement reach stratospheric levels. TCS making full use of the agility that their young age permitted, got 4 correct answers while Indian Oil (Team E) got 3 correct as well. Overall, many hits and a few misses meant that the Gini coefficient of the score inequality tended to 0 (0.308547 to be precise but I am talking metaphorically). Scores at the end of round 2- 39, 48, -09, 17, 28 and 18.
Round 3, the Do or Die round turned out to be the quizzing equivalent of T20 due to its principles of hit out or get out and also revising strategies with each answer. The fact that the Champions trophy final turned out to be a T20 game is pure coincidence. Simple rules- after every leg two teams are eliminated so the last two questions are for the top two teams. The other Indian Oil team (Team C) started with a pride saving effort for a 15 pointer which wasn’t enough for us to see any further action from them. They finished sixth. Then came the moment which separates wheat from the chaff (read: quizmaster from emcee). Bokaro opted for a 15 pointer question. They answered three-quarters of it and while working out the last quarter, some members of the audience got excited and blurted it out. My instant reaction was to scrap the question and ask another one, which the audience started objecting to. I asked them to not say anything lest I got influenced by the audience’s reaction (Note to self: Audience always favours the underdogs). I recalled the sequence of events and felt that Bokaro would have guessed the last bit since they had already given most of the answer. The audience appreciated and the other teams smiled in agreement. Rourkela (Team F), runners up last year, had no choice but to go for a 15 but they weren’t as well versed with their knowledge of Indian musicians. They finished fifth. Indian Oil (Team E), 3rd at this stage, in a strategy that I couldn’t understand much (but then it’s easy to be the one asking questions 😀 ) went for an 8er and go it right. The defending champions from Rourkela (Team A) intended to play the safety first game by opting for a 4er. They got it wrong. TCS, Kolkata thought of going far ahead of the pack and opted for an 8er but unfortunately they collected negatives. Scores at the end of first leg- Rourkela: 39, TCS: 44, Bokaro: 32 and Indian Oil: 36. All teams within one answer distance of each other.
Leg 2 question 1 to Bokaro, who had no choice but to go for a 15er. They did go for a 15. But luck and knowledge weren’t on their side this time and they finished fourth. Indian Oil, 8 pointer distance from going level with the leaders gave a fabulous answer with Mahendra Singh Dhoni. The cheering that followed was heard even at Edgbaston, said MSD later. Rourkela, once the leaders and now at the brink of elimination wanted an 8er. An 8er was duly (and musically) served, after their personal discussions indicated that they had no idea gave the answer I was looking for. They were now leading with three points. TCS now sniffing elimination opted for a 4er to leapfrog Rourkela by a single point. They got their 4. As a result, Indian Oil, who came all the way from Delhi, finished third. Their ascent to the top was like a budget airline at an airport, touch down and a quick turn around. Scores now: Rourkela: 47 and TCS: 48.
Last leg- 2 teams. 2 questions. Rourkela first. 8 pointer. Paul Schilperoord, they said unraveled the mystery of Hitler’s Volkswagen. They got their 8. Brilliantly worked out answer. In the beginning of the finals I said, ‘For every Bjorn Borg there is a McEnroe, for every Federer there is a Nadal’, this was TCS’s moment. TCS had to go for an 8 or a 15. They took an 8er hoping to dethrone Rourkela by 1 point. The boys from Kolkata missed out on the band from Delhi’s Tihar Jail and that ensured the search for a new winner that started in the summer of 2011 will atleast carry on till the summer of 2014. Rourkela Steel Plant completing a hattrick of victories at Udaan 2013.
Final Scores: Rourkela- 55, TCS- 44 and Indian Oil- 44
Some questions from the quiz:
1. The Editor-in-chief, celebrating 20 years of this publication wrote an article ‘An Enduring Love Story’. Excerpt:
‘This is from our internal mission statement: We have the responsibility to tell the story accurately, fairly and quickly. In that order. It is beneath us to take sides and inflame passions… Our reach gives us a certain clout and we must wield it responsibly. We must never forget that we owe everything to the game, and the welfare of the game must count among our top priorities.’
Identify the publication.
3. This rice merchant and commission agent was made two offers by Mohd. Ali Jinnah-
– Member of the planning committee of the Muslim League in September 1944. But he did not want to join the League formally for ‘personal and business reasons’. He was then assured by Jinnah that he could serve without publicly signing the Muslim League pledge.
– While forming the first cabinet in Pakistan, he was invited to serve as his finance minister. But he rejected the offer and decided to stay on in India and nurture his business.
4. India recently objected to Chrysler’s application for a domain name in view of the sensitivity attached to the name.
What domain name did Chrysler apply for?
Please answer in the comments section.