Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Through to the Mastermind semis

Another series of exciting quarterfinal group contests brought the opening stage of the SEQC Mastermind to a close on Sunday, October 25. Though none of the contests had the close finish of the first day, this set did bring another upset. Rajiv D'Silva's partner in quizzing, Harsh Bhatkuly lost out to Amit Shet, who blitzed his specialised subject round on 'Cricketing Career of Sachin Tendulkar'.

Perhaps there's a jinx on all those who have been involved in setting questions for this Mastermind series -- Annie wasn't participating anyway, and the other two (Rajiv and Harsh) have been eliminated. Doesn't bode well for Vidyadhar Gadgil, who made the mistake of setting a couple of specialised rounds for the second day. He may be through to the semis, but is he going to make the finals?

This time around, too, one of our young guns deserves a special mention. Jatan Rodrigues, our second youngest contestant, scored a remarkable 12 points in his specialised subject round on James Bond Films, and must have given the fancied Vivek Krishnan quite a scare for a while.

What a diverse, and sometimes esoteric, range of specialised subjects have been tackled in the opening rounds. 'Architectural Heritage of Goa', 'Violins and Violinists', 'Nobel Prizes in Physiology and Medicine', 'Advertising Agencies in India', 'Life and Times of Metallica' ... It goes to show what an eclectic group our club is, and yet there's so much harmony and camaraderie. Let's see what outre topics the semi-finals throw up.

The nine semi-finalists have been identified. They will now be divided -- by some arcane system to which only Annie is privy -- into three groups of three, and do battle some time in December for the three spots in the finals. There are plans to ramp up the hoopla surrounding SEQC Mastermind in the next stages. Keep your eyes peeled.

The results

Winner: Anjali Sen Gupta (specialised subject: Tintin Comics) -- 14 correct answers in the specialised subject (SS) round + 3 in the general knowledge (GK) round = 17 total
2nd: Nitash CG (Snooker) -- 11 (SS) + 2 (GK) = 13 total
3rd: Luis Dias (Violins and Violinists) -- 4 (SS) + 2 (GK) = 6 total

Winner: Abhishek Jha (Life and Times of Metallica) -- 10 (SS) + 7 (GK) = 17 total
2nd: Jayant Karn (Astronomy) -- 9 (SS) + 2 (GK) = 11 total*
3rd: Sunil Sardessai (Hindu Mythology) -- 7 (SS) + 4 (GK) = 11 total*
* Jayant and Sunil finished with the same number of correct answers and the same number of passes (7), but Jayant had fewer incorrect answers (8 to Sunil's 10)

Winner: Adish Talwadker (Nobel Prizes in Physiology and Medicine) -- 10 (SS) + 6 (GK) = 16 total
2nd: Mahesh Prabhu (India in Text Cricket since the 1990s) -- 5 (SS) + 1 (GK) = 6 total
3rd: Raunaq Rao (Movies of Ramgopal Verma) -- 4 (SS) + 0 (GK) = 4 total

Winner: Navin Pai (Google and its Products) -- 6 (SS) + 3 (GK) = 9 total
2nd: Gaurav Kenkre (Indian Film Music since the 1990s) -- 3 (SS) + 4 (GK) = 7 total
3rd: Viola Rodrigues (Booker Prize Winners 1988-2008) -- absent = 0 total

Winner: Amit Shet (Cricketing Career of Sachin Tendulkar) -- 13 (SS) + 7 (GK) = 20 total
2nd: Harshvardhan Bhatkuly (Advertising Agencies in India) -- 11 (SS) + 6 (GK) = 17 total
3rd: Ashray Adappa (Greek Mythology) -- 7 (SS) + 4 (GK) = 11 total

Winner: Vivek Krishnan (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Series Books) -- 12 (SS) + 11 (GK) = 23 total
2nd: Jatan Rodrigues (James Bond Films) -- 11 (SS) + 0 (GK) = 11 total
3rd: Ameya Mardolkar (Logos) -- 5 (SS) + 4 (GK) = 9 total

Through to the semis (the full list):
Abhishek Jha, Adish Talwadker, Amit Shet, Anjali Sen Gupta, Chirag Mutgi, Leroy Veloso, Navin Pai, Vidyadhar Gadgil, Vivek Krishnan

Thursday, October 22, 2009

SEQC Mastermind Quarterfinal Match-ups (Groups D through I)

Date: 25th October 2009
Time: 4 pm (please note new timing)
QM: Annie Sen Gupta
Flavour: General
Venue: CCP Hall, 2nd Floor, CCP Building, off 18 June Road, Panaji
Participation: Open to pre-registered SEQC participants. Audience presence solicited.
Please be at the venue by 3.45 pm, as we need absolute peace and quiet once the quizzing begins (which it will at 4 pm sharp).

About the SEQC Mastermind logo

The SEQC Mastermind logo design is meant to reflect several key aspects of the contest. The main visual symbol used is that of a pyramid. A pyramid means several things that connect up with the idea behind our Mastermind. One, it is a shape which represents 'perfection', a quality our contestants should aspire to. Its structure mimics the structure of the competition itself, with the different stages eliminating the numbers of participants until only the one at the pinnacle is left. The letters of SEQC have been given a typography and form which can be seen to be giving the top of the pyramid a 'glow' -- the glow of achievement. In classical symbology, the pyramid with the eye, or rays of light, is a symbol of omniscience -- usually associated with a divine providence, but in our case taken to represent the all-knowing Mastermind. Finally, the pyramid has been done in black, which is a colour that absorbs all frequencies it receives, much like a master quizzer has to absorb all forms of knowledge to be the very best.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Leaving the best for last

A report on the SEQC Mastermind rounds held on October 18

What a finish it was! Leroy Veloso was in a position to pull of a huge upset in his round. When he came to the hot seat for his General Knowledge round, the whole thing seemed to be done and dusted. All he needed was a single correct answer. Just one!

The first two questions he passed. Then something seemed to strike him -- he started providing an answer to every question that was posed to him (perhaps he had just recalled that, in the unlikely event of a tie, the number of passes would determine whether he won or not). But astonishingly, unbelievably, answer after answer was met with the response, "That's incorrect; the correct answer is..." As the wrong answers mounted, so did the tension in the room. Could it be possible that Leroy, who had seemed so close to pulling off the unexpected, would somehow manage to reverse it and extract the most astounding defeat from the jaws of victory? When the bell went at the end of his two minutes of questioning, Leroy had still not got an answer right, and the entire room let out a loud and collective, "Oooohhh!" Then quizmaster Annie Sen Gupta, in traditional Mastermind style, said, "I've started, so I'll finish" and everything was silent again.

"By what name are the migrants from Holland who settled in South Africa in the mid-17th century known?" was the question.

Leroy, his expression as implacable as it had been throughout the session, answered "Boers", and then revealed his relief by shooting out of the chair even before Annie had replied. "That's correct!" The room erupted. And Rajiv D'Silva, certainly a top contender for SEQC Mastermind, was out in the first round of the contest.

None of the other quarterfinal match-ups was anywhere near as close, with Chirag Mutgi and Vidyadhar Gadgil winning their groups with reasonable ease.

The Group A contestants get their scores read to them.

For an event whose format requires extensive preparation and a good deal of precision in execution, the SEQC Mastermind evening was an unqualified success. It went off without a single major hitch, indeed with a degree of flair. A sizeable audience filled the hall, and enjoyed every moment of the show.

Annie, looking rather sadhu-like, introduces the event (top); the audience finds it amusing

Several members of future quarterfinal groupings were present, and no doubt took away significant learnings that they will apply to their own performance. But you can't really know how you will react to the Mastermind pressure until you're in the hot seat yourself. That's something several of those participating found out to their discomfiture, as questions that they could casually answer after their two minutes had passed, eluded their grasp while they were facing the music.

Sachin runs the gamut of emotions as his session proceeds.

A word of congratulations must specially be reserved here for the youngest contestant, Julian D'Costa from Margao, who took the chair with confidence and performed well.

Julian dwarfed by the hot seat.

The results

GROUP A Winner: Chirag Mutgi (specialised subject: Hollywood Westerns) -- 8 correct answers in the specialised subject (SS) round + 7 in the general knowledge (GK) round = 15 total
2nd: Tallulah D'Silva (Architectural Heritage of Goa) -- 8 (SS) + 4 (GK) = 12 total
3rd: Paul Gatward (English Premier League) -- 5 (SS) + 2 (GK) = 7 total

GROUP B Winner: Vidyadhar Gadgil (Indian Writing in English) -- 7 (SS) + 12 (GK) = 19 total
2nd: Neville Monteiro (World Capital Cities) -- 6 (SS) + 4 (GK) = 10 total
3rd: Sachin Chatte (Pink Floyd) -- 6 (SS) + 3 (GK) = 9 total

GROUP C Winner: Leroy Veloso (Legislative Assembly Elections in Goa) -- 15 (SS) + 1 (GK) = 16 total
2nd: Rajiv D'Silva (Grunge Music) -- 10 (SS) + 5 (GK) = 15 total
3rd: Julian D'Costa (Children's Literature by Roald Dahl) -- 6 (SS) + 3 (GK) = 9 total
4th: Paola Ann Mhambro (Geography of India) -- 5 (SS) + 1 (GK) = 6 total

Through to the semis:
Chirag Mutgi, Vidyadhar Gadgil, Leroy Veloso

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Frozen Music - The Architecture Quiz

Date: 21st October 2009
Time: 4.30 pm
QM: Rajiv D'Silva
Flavour: Architecture
Venue: Goa College of Architecture, Altinho - Panaji
Participation: Open to the staff and students of Goa College of Architecture.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Results of SEQC October Quiz

QM: Vivek Krishnan

1st: Janice Figueiredo, Paula Mambro, Rajiv D'Silva, Sajan Venniyoor, Salil Chaturvedi, Sunil Sardessai, Tallulah D'Silva - 1250
2nd: Aniruddha Sen Gupta, Ashray Adappa, C. G. Niyati, Ira Almeida, Neville Monteiro, Pooja Kamath, Renuka Figueiredo, Shaila De Souza - 1120
3rd: Ameya Mardolkar, Ananya Mukherjee, Julian D'Costa, Kanchan Desai, Sachin Chatte, Taran Mukherjee, Tulna Patel, Vidyadhar Gadgil, Yashodhara Kundaji - 800
4th: Abhishek Jha, Adish Talwadker, Anjali Sen Gupta, Deepika Figueiredo, Maria Souza, Mariette Correa, Paul Gatward - 570
5th: Amit Shet, Kanchan Gatward, Leroy Veloso, Luis Dias, Shaunik Chaturvedi, Sneha Puri, Vernon Fernandes - 450
6th: Anant Nagi, Anil Rodrigues, Frederick Noronha, Jatan Rodrigues, Pranab Mukherjee, Prita Sardessai, Savio Figueiredo, Srikant Subramaniam, Terence D'Costa - 400

The next monthly quiz will be hosted by Srikant Subramaniam on the 8th of November.

Everything you need to know about the Mastermind quiz

SEQC Mastermind is based on a popular quiz format from a BBC TV series. BBC Mastermind was the brainchild of TV producer Bill Wright, a former RAF gunner, who drew on his wartime experience as a PoW of being interrogated by the Gestapo to come up with the feel of the quiz. This reflects in the way contestants are put under the spotlight, and in the ritual of being asked their name, occupation and specialist subject, much like the three bits of information PoWs generally reveal -- name, rank and serial number.

The first ever edition of BBC Mastermind was recorded at Liverpool University and aired on BBC1 in 1972. The show was hosted by 43-year-old former journalist Magnus Magnusson, a formidable Scot of Icelandic parentage. Its immediate popularity -- somewhat unexpected given the highbrow nature of the quiz -- led to both Mastermind and Magnusson becoming household names. The show ran in its original avatar till 1997, and has re-appeared in numerous versions on other channels as well since.

Mastermind came to India as a series on BBC World between 1998 and 2002. Hosted by Siddhartha Basu, it retained all the hallmarks of the original show. One of the innovations of the Indian edition was the staging of the contest at heritage sites across the country. For example, in 1999 the semi-finals were held at the Ferozshah Kotla in Delhi, and the finals were held at the City Palace, Jaipur. Two SEQC members have featured on Mastermind India -- Annie Sen Gupta in the 2001 edition, and Harsh Bhatkuly the next year.

The format of the quiz has always been the same, and will remain so for SEQC Mastermind as well. Groups of four contestants (three, in the case of the SEQC contest) compete against each other and the clock to earn the most points. Each is quizzed first for two minutes on the specialist subject of his or her choice, and then -- in Round Two -- for a further two minutes on their general knowledge. Interrogation takes place in the famous 'black leather chair', which we have been fortunate enough to find bequeathed to us along with the CCP Hall (I believe the CCP Chairman or the Mayor or someone of that sort sits on it during important meetings).

SEQC Mastermind takes off on Sunday, October 18, when 14 of our members take the chair. Only four will survive this rigorous trial.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

SEQC Mastermind: The first cut

The date: Sunday, October 18
The time: 5.30pm
The venue: CCP Hall

Who's up:
* Anjali Sen Gupta
* Chirag Mutgi
* Julian D'Costa
* Leroy Veloso
* Luis Dias
* Neville Monteiro
* Nitash CG
* Paola Ann Mhambro
* Paul Gatward
* Rajiv D'Silva
* Reuben Rodrigues
* Sachin Chatte
* Tallulah D'Silva
* Vidyadhar Gadgil

Only four out of these 14 contestants will progress to the semi-finals. Who will make the grade? Land up to find out, and bring friends and family.

A word of warning: This event will be run more formally than most SEQC events are. Once the quizzing begins, the doors will be shut so as not to disturb the participants. So please be there before time, to ensure you don't get locked out.

Participants will need to be at the venue by 5pm for a briefing before the event begins.

Monday, October 12, 2009

SEQC squeezes onto YouTube

Check out Frederick Noronha's video interview of Rajiv D'Silva and Annie Sen Gupta on YouTube:

The Fast and the Furious

A review of the SEQC October 2009 quiz

Vivek Krishnan is a student of BITS Pilani, currently in Goa to do his internship with Pentair Water. He stays on the BITS campus near Vasco. It's a long way to Panjim for him, and a long way back.

Which, perhaps, explains the whirlwind nature of the SEQC quiz that he conducted on October 11. At 56 questions, it wasn't the shortest quiz we've had (thought shorter than most). But it was certainly the fastest. Keeping the structure to two rounds -- one clockwise, one anti -- also contributed to keeping things moving. There wasn't any of the customary score read-outs (accompanied by desultory clapping) at the end of every other round -- this time, the scores came up only once at the halfway point, and then the final positions at the end.

It also helped that many of the questions got answered quickly. The quiz wasn't easy, but Vivek did put enough clues into most of the questions that people could figure them out. The competition was quite open till the halfway mark, at which point Luis's and Gadgil's teams were very much in the race, along with Annie's and Rajiv's -- the lattermost having built up a sizeable lead. Gadgil's team's positioning between Rajiv's on one side and Annie's on the other was a classic example of why the Direct-and-Pass system of conventional quizzing doesn't work. If that traditional system had been in use, the team in the middle would have had a far smaller percentage of questions reaching them.

The second half of the quiz turned out to be largely a battle between Rajiv's team and Annie's, with the latter creeping up on the former but eventually losing out 1120 to 1250 (there was a bizarre 100-points-per-answer scoring system in place, and Vivek generously handed out half-portions and other fractions whenever he wanted).

Before the quiz began, prizes for The BiG Q were handed out by one of SEQC's most recent sprightly young recruits, Maria Imelda Souza. And after the quiz was over, Fredrick Noronha, Goa's busiest journalist, did a video interview with Rajiv and Annie which has since gone up on YouTube, but that's a story for a different post.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

More participants for Mastermind

Three last-minute entrants and one omission rectified have brought the final participant count for the SEQC Mastermind competition to 28. The four additions to the list posted earlier are Sunil Sardessai (inadvertantly omitted earlier), Gaurav Kenkre, Raunaq Rao and Neville Monteiro.

The new count has entailed a change in the format. The new plan is for the participants to be divided into 9 groups of 3 each, with one group including an extra member. The 9 winners of the groups will be divided into 3 semis of 3 contestants each. The 3 semi-final winners will fight it out for the overall title of SEQC Mastermind.

We will hold four of the quarterfinals on the 18th of October, and five on the 25th. Make sure you're there on both days, with friends and family.

Those who missed the earlier announcement, scroll down for the older post.

Friday, October 2, 2009

SEQC Sunday Quiz - October

Date: 11th October 2009
Time: 5.00 pm
QM: Vivek Krishnan
Flavour: General
Venue: CCP Hall, 2nd Floor, CCP Building, Opp. Cafe Central, off 18th June Road, Panaji
Participation: Come one come all

Thursday, October 1, 2009

SEQC Mastermind participants and format

The ball has begun rolling on SEQC Mastermind. Twenty-four participants have confirmed their participation in the event -- a good number, mathematically. Here's the final list:
1. Ashray Adappa
2. Harshvardhan Bhatkuly
3. Nitash CG
4. Sachin Chatte
5. Julian D'Costa
6. Luis Dias
7. Rajiv D'Silva
8. Tallulah D'Silva
9. Vidyadhar Gadgil
10. Paul Gatward
11. Abhishek Jha
12. Jayant Karn
13. Vivek Krishnan
14. Ameya Mardolkar
15. Paola Ann Mhambro
16. Chirag Mutgi
17. Navin Pai
18. Mahesh Prabhu
19. Reuben Rodrigues
20. Viola Rodrigues
21. Anjali SenGupta
22. Amit Shet
23. Adish Talwadker
24. Leroy Veloso

These 24 will be divided into eight groups of three each, for the quarterfinals. These eight contests will be split over two days -- four on October 18, and four on October 25. The eight winners of the quarterfinal groups will qualify for the semi-finals.

In the semis, which will be held some two months later, the eight qualifiers will be divided into two groups of four each, with the top two from each group qualifying for the finals to be held early next year.

More information will be revealed over the next couple of weeks, but some things -- who's in what's group, what people's specialised subjects are, etc -- you will only learn when you land up at the events.

The events of October 18 and 25 should be fraught with excitement and cut-throat competition. We expect that the quizzing will take up about two hours on each of the two days -- from 5.30pm to 7.30pm. Mark these dates and times off on your calendars, and tell your friends and relatives to turn up as well, to witness the best of our best go up against each other.