Twenty Paces, SEQC's solo knock-out quiz, promised by its very format to be an exciting competition. The first round match-ups, half of which were held on November 21, certainly lived up to that promise.
Several of the shoot-outs went into sudden death, and at least a couple of them resulted in upsets, including one huge one, as schoolboy Anurag Panicker knocked Harsh Bhatkuly out of the reckoning in a tie-break battle. The buzzer format, and tension of the one-on-one format, takes its toll even on the best quizzers.
Adish Talwadker was perhaps the only ranked quizzer who made it through with complete ease, winning his face-off against Soham Gaunekar 8-0. Some others who are usually among the SEQC seeds, picked up negatives along the way to falter, or come close to faltering.
Earlier that evening, eight participants who couldn't take the regular prelims tried out for the five Wild Card places that were up for grabs. A couple more huge shocks there -- Ajachi Chakrabarti and Rajesh Panicker failing to make it through as Wild Cards.
Lucano Alvares got 9 of the 10 Wild Card questions correct to qualify top of the pack, only to be knocked out by Leroy Veloso in the last match of the evening, evidently unnerved by a few early negatives.
Full marks to Sheriff Rajiv D'Silva, who conceptualised the format, and conducted the event with the ruthlessness and panache that Gene Hackman brought to the shoot-outs in 'The Quick and the Dead'.
The full scores are detailed in an earlier post.