…. because it’s there!!

A review of the Landmark Quiz 2009 on Aug 15 in Chennai by KN.

“Which institution uses the National Anthem, Jana gana mana as their school song?” You will understand the significance of this question as you read this review…

Each year on August 15, Chennai’s gravitational pull seems to head only one way – the Madras Music Academy. Sounds heavy, right? But then, with a great quizmaster, well researched content, amazing quizzers from across the country and lots of fun in store, who wouldn’t want to be part of it?

This year it was no different, even though the organizers felt the number of school teams was relatively low, the Music Academy still had an inflow of over 700 teams.

There was a significant urgency amongst the organizers to start the event on time. This made a lot of sense since the format was on a strict time line: prelims followed by the Chennai (regional) Final and then the grand show-down between Bangalore-Mumbai-Pune-Chennai in the Clash of the Titans.

Inside the MMA, we were enthralled with a Michael Jackson live concert to cool off our nervousness. This was indeed a landmark event in our calendars: Lost friendships are found, facebook pals face each other for a change and let’s save the best for the last: no parent would say no if you said you were heading out to a quiz, even if its with your girlfriend!! Plus they gave out swine flu masks, so even if your father or mother came along, you could pull the mask over your face.

The Prelims had 40 questions, as always, the questions were simple and most importantly, answerable by a lot of us. A lot of questions seemed familiar; there was a mix of the contemporary, the classic, though some were admitted to be taken off from old editions of the same quiz. The Prelims reminded me of the Best of Booker Prizes – to choose the best book out of books that had already won the Booker earlier, if you get the point.

But then the Landmark Quiz is an open quiz, an easy quiz keeps everyone happy – nobody wants it tough, do they? That’s why the scoring pattern in the Prelims was so high, the top score was a whopping 37!! I’d bet my hat that there would have been scores of teams in the band of 25-35. Tough work for scorers…

The Finals had a brilliant mix of questions on India, current happenings across the world and some classical stuff again.

Now there are three types of questions that you find in all these Big Open Quizzes:

1. Questions for which your reaction is “oh wow”.

Questions that keep you thinking – what could be the answer and when it was answered, kept you clapping till your hands hurt; by the way, there is no way you could have even attempted it, you feel, but the answer is so good.

2. Questions to which you react, “oh yeah”

Questions that you already know the answer for, relatively easy and since you already know it, you almost jump around if it is not answered, and;

3. Questions that make you go, “oh?”

Questions that are answered, but you don’t care if it is answered, because the answer does not fascinate you at all.


Now every quiz has a mix of all the three, but Dr.Navin Jayakumar has been consistently finding the right recipe of the above, more of points 1 & 2 and less of 3.

As a quizmaster, Dr.Navin Jayakumar was cool as ever; like good old wine, his wit and research seems to get better each year. Always wonder where doctors steal their time for quizzing, that too for 18 years on the trot (except for one year when Derek hosted it)!!

Congrats to QED comprising of Ramana, Samanth and Swami for great answering; The quiz had a fitting finish – with two teams tied for first place and three for the second place, we were anxious to see who would win this battle. For all the other teams, matchless effort – JK and team, Kabala and team, Kiddo and team, Gopal Kidao’s team, Udupa’s team…. they are all the best quizzers in the country. All did well, but apparently the stakes were high, the level was high, it all boiled down to the best of the best on that particular day.

Answer to the question asked in the beginning – Doon School. Why this question singularly? This was the last question on which QED won the Quiz…

Some titbits from the quiz: “born to rule but forced to school” was the winning team name, school teams made it big once again, ruling and schooling.

KN’s corner of a Landmark field:

On the personal front, I have been constantly setting targets for myself each year – first it was 15, then 20, 25 and this year it was 30. So, did you think I achieved the target? Yes I did, we managed to score 31 (in spite of missing out on sitters like Roland Garros!). But considering Will Smith’s smart statement – You will never achieve 100% when you are content at 99%, I guess we need to raise the bar to go all the way. I’d love to thank my team mates who were fantastic in their own ways, and apologize for messing up on Roland Garros and “because it’s there”. Had we got both, maybe we would have done our arangetram on stage (sans the dancing)!!

A personal thanks to Dr.Navin for putting up the poster for the Madras Quiz on August 23, 2009.

Prelims Questions with answers follow…

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