Monday, August 11, 2008

Rajiv and Hash provide some savvy fare

SEQC put up a super showing at Goa's inaugural Tata Crucible quiz, with Rajiv D'Silva and Harshvardhan 'Hash' Bhatkuly making mincemeat of the competition to win the Regional Finals. Representing Savoir Faire, Rajiv and Hash, who were last year's national runners-up, finished with 85 points, while the second-placed team (from Synapse) ended on 30 points.

One other team from SEQC -the husband-wife team of Anjali and Aniruddha 'Annie' Sen Gupta, representing Splash! Communications -made it to the last six, while a third SEQC pair -that of Ameya Mardolkar and Vidyadhar Gadgil, also purportedly from Splash! Communications -lost out by a whisker.

The event, possibly Goa's first big national-level quizzing episode, was heralded by torrential rains. Some 20-25 teams braved the monsoon storms to troop wetly but hopefully into the beautiful shell-shaped auditorium at the National Institute of Oceanography. The 25 questions which made up the prelims were of a reasonably general nature, and gave the less business-inclined quizzers some hope of doing well.

Besides the SEQC two, the four other teams who made it to the final stage were from Synapse, HLL, Betts and Cajetan Vaz. The first round, one of general quizzing, saw some even competition, with several of the teams managing to get on the scoreboard. At the end of it, Rajiv and Hash were behind for the only time in the contest, not yet having scored. Annie and Anjali were fortunate to have an answer more or less thrust down their throat by the quizmaster, which got them their solitary points for the evening.

The second round -a buzzer-driven one on questions related to the Tatas -was where Savoir Faire really got going, with Hash and Rajiv gobbling up four of the five posers to get their team ahead. From there on, it was a one-team show, as the two of them steadily increased their lead, while the rest of the teams more or less joined the audience and watched in appreciation of this quizzing masterclass.

There were four other rounds -including one of audio-visual connections; one of code-busting, which involved identifying logos and people photos and then doing some word gymnastics; and one of multiple-clue questions, none of which progressed beyond the first clue.

At the end of the quiz, quizmaster Giri Balasubramaniam acknowledged the role of Rajiv and Hash in bringing the Tata Crucible to Goa, saying that it was largely the result of their excellent showing in previous editions -which they had to go to Pune to participate in -that drove the organisers to choose Panjim as one of the new venues this year.

So Savoir Faire, already richer by Rs 75,000, besides the DVD players and other bric-a-brac, is off to the National Finals, whose date and venue are yet to be announced. Wherever and whenever it happens, here's hoping they end this year's edition on a truly SEQC note.

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