Jun 2, 2003

Pune quizzing in the limelight again

...though it wasn't the dream result that we'd hoped for.
All apropos the ESPN School quiz, which is probably the top national school quiz currently, but restricts itself to sports. I will do away with my usual encomiums to Harsha Bhogle (the man with the best job in India), take it for granted.

Last year, Abhinav Vidyalaya put on one smashing performance after another and it seemed to be a cinch that they would win. They inexplicably did not.

This year, I kept an eye out for this team, thinking they would steam roll their way through the opposition. But this time they didn't.

(Read an Abhinav-alumnus' account of the same)

It did seem a little off-the-script when AV didn't get a century in their prelims. Neither did they get anywhere near it. Blame me for being unfair to this champion team, but blame them for setting up such high expectations.
AV started off shooting down the anagrams in Citius, but when they struggled to identify a golden-haired figure looking like Brett Lee in no-camoflauge as Brett Lee, the warning bells had started to ring. It got a little embarassing when they even guessed Monica Seles. Hmm. As signs go, that was one in scarlet.
They still led rather aaram-se after 2 rounds, but started to turn on the hara-kiri instinct in round 3. According to me, the quiz turned when AV identified Phil Tufnell as Dion Nash. Even Harsha Bhogle was a little disappointed with the quality of that guess. AV could now feel the hot breath of their rivals Rangubai Junnare from Nasik on their neck as RJS got this answer to move into 1 point behind AV.

And here's where I disagree with Gaurav: he opined that had AV shown a little more courage, they might've emerged winners. Having watched the show as much as he must have, I have to beg to differ because of the following: though the questions and participants are great, I have to criticise the following aspects of the format.
First, I don't always agree with the level of questions chosen for the 5-, 10- & 20-pointers. Subjective of course. Also, the team in front at the beginning of the final round has to take first shot. Which means in a tight contest, the team in 2nd spot know exactly how much they need to win: the risks have to be taken by the leading team, thus penalizing them for doing better in the earlier rounds. AV could not gamble with a ten: if they missed it, RJS would have won even without attempting the last qn. Getting a 5 was more realistic for AV to force RJS to go for the final qn and see if they missed. They didn't and AV lost.

In this heavy spotlight on AV, I'm being unfair to the other two Pune teams Symbiosis & Bishops that made it to the West Zone final. Good luck to them and may they make a splash in the National Finals.

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