(Review of the Madras Quiz 2009 hosted by IQL By Subhashree Srinivasan)

Hey KN, I can’t find anyone at P.S. school”, I yelled over the phone and stretched my neck to find some signs of activity.

“Which P.S. school did you land yourself at?? Senior or Higher??”, he asked calmly.

“What??! There are two P.S. schools at Mylapore??”

Irony about the conversation. I was one of the participants at MADRAS CITY QUIZ- ellam about our singara Chennai. Yenna kodume sir ithu.

After troubling my friend for the right directions, I reached the right venue-P.S. Secondary School, Mylapore, to find the auditorium almost full and bustling with activity. Second irony about the quiz- there were equal number of people on stage as there were in participants. Owing to my geography IQ and ignorance, I decided not to participate, but curiosity prevailed and I found a random team mate.

The prelims started at 2 p.m. and consisted of 30 questions. For a person new to quizzing, it was a good set of questions- few easy ones, few brilliant ones and the rest were moderate level. There were some issues during the prelims – especially one of the audios on PB Srinivoss was not clear, and the visual on Hotel Saravana Bhavan was not clear enough.

I was kind of happy with our performance. But, yes, you guessed it; it was short-lived when the correction started. I happened to get JK and his partner’s answer sheet which lodged an extra bit of inferior complexity in me. To be technically right; our rights were equal to their wrongs. The prelims had quite a number of high scores and the top six were picked along with best school and ladies team.

The highest score was 27, and the other scores of the teams that made it on stage were 25, 25, 22, 22 and 22 respectively. Quizmaster Sylvian Patrick announced this and also read out the teams that just missed out by one point!! Tough luck, guys!! The final 6 teams on stage, would have been familiar names and faces to you if you are a regular quizzer in these parts.

And so the stage was set.

Totally there were 5 rounds – round one was a textual round, a mix of everything on Old Madras to current Chennai, containing 20 questions on infinite bounds. There were two rounds with a central theme to be identified – rounds 2 and 4. All teams cracked the theme easily. Ramana and Ramkumar, the defending champions appeared rather quiet. The last round was an anti-clockwise round with 20 questions. The format was a whiff of fresh air, but some of the questions in the finals were rather long to read – perhaps something for the IQL team to work on  in the future. The teams cracked most of the questions put to them, except in the third round (movie round) where they were unable to hit the right answers for almost all the questions.

At times it seemed like the quiz master was in a bit of a hurry, reading the questions at express pace as though he had an auto meter bill to contend with. .

To the credit of the entire organizing team, they started and finished on time. There were some little glitches, though one felt that the questions in the finals were too tough and not really aimed at the “true chennaiites” who know their history as well as their filter kaapi  – and those who like to soak up the latest news like their ponvandu soap.

This was a quiz that had people of all ages including a mami in her 60s who knew the answerrs to a couple of questions in the finals – the quiz team had to literally shush her from blurting them out before the teams on stage could.

A new script was written this year – the regulars at Madras Quiz know that Ramana and Ramkumar Shankar have been the defending champions over a couple of years now, but from literally nowhere, the team of Jayakanthan and Alagarsamy blasted their way through the finals. My heart went out to runners up Rajaram and Joshi,  when I heard that they had travelled all the way from the Gulf to participate  – apparently they  have made it each year  to the Landmark and Madras Quiz over the last few years; particularly at Madras Quiz, they have been runners-up on a few occasions without getting the coveted title. This year too! The other four teams were less than half the scores of the winner and runners-up, so you can understand that it was dominated by two of them.

I have attended only two of the Madras Quiz editions (2008 and 2009), I am not any “quizzer” as you call it, but found this quiz fresher and more enjoyable than the previous ones. When the quiz came to an end; we all left for our places – wiser and with better ideas for the next quiz. This is a big event for us; as a team and a quizzing group.

The destination is clear and we will be there someday. (Do I sound like a martyr??!!)

P.S; Congrats to the entire IQL team for putting up a great show at the Madras Quiz 2009. Very special thanks to Mrs.Raji Muthukrishnan for her wonderful questions. The “brilliance” of her questions was evident from the response from the audience.