The Bombay Quiz Club Open is back!

Surya Ragunaathan

Friends, quizzers and countrymen, drop whatever you’re doing. The Bombay Quiz Club Open is back! It’s bigger and better this year with over Rs 50,000 cash prizes and top notch quizmasters of the country conducting the quizzes. It is probably the most-awaited event in the Indian quizzing calendar.

This year, BQC Open, an annual inter-college-open quiz festival conducted by the much celebrated Bombay Quiz Club kicks off on April 28, and the tension and energy is palpable across college campuses in India.

The Bombay Quiz Club was conceptualized and started on April 1, 2006 when six quizzing enthusiasts met informally at Tea Center, Churchgate. Says Dhananjay Shettigar, one of the original members of BQC, “Apart from the usual quizzing, we discussed on how to take the club forward, what could be the possible venues, etc.”

BQC’s first proper quizzing session happened on April 30, 2006 at Inorbit Mall, Malad with around 25 people attending the same. “With our session in full swing, the mall authorities tried to evict us. They thought we were conducting housie and mall-ested us,” chuckles Shettigar.

The next few sessions were conducted informally at each other’s homes. It was a while before Pinstorm founder, Mahesh Murthy, a quizzer himself, stepped in and offered his Santacruz office. Says Vikram Joshi, “Now we meet every alternate week and try to challenge each other to come up with facts that in the best case will get applause.”

BQC Open began in 2011 after the members realized that Mumbai was the only major quizzing city in India without a regular annual quiz event. So in 2011, the members came together to start a quiz jamboree of sorts – a combination of various quizzes conducted by members teamed up with each other. For starters, there was one college quiz and two open-to-the-general-public quizzes. Conducted at the IIT-Bombay campus, the BQC Open 2011 saw a total of more than 300 participants from Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad and other city colleges.

After the success of the first season, BQC Open in its second edition promises to be bigger with five open quizzes and one college quiz. Says Atul Mathew who is conducting the General quiz for College students, “This year we are expecting more teams from Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore, Chennai and even Dubai.”

There are certain rules that BQC members follow while setting a quiz. And nobody is an exception to that. Rajiv Rai who is conducting the India Quiz says, “Questions should be original. Even if it takes off on a known theme, it should add something to it. Questions should be interesting, relevant, should evoke an “Oh, I did not know that,” or “I can repeat that at a gathering." Questions should have some weight, should not be all candy floss, even when dealing with trivial topics, should invoke an element of timelessness, something which at least our children when they read them, 20 years later, can understand if not appreciate. Questions should largely be ‘work-out-able’ (at least for people who clued in). We try to ensure that our questions meet these four criteria.”

As for the formats, The BQC members follow three –four favourite formats for quizzes. They create quizzes by mixing and matching these. “We have written rounds - by far the fairest way to evaluate, but its slow and for non-participants a little boring. Then we have speed or buzzer rounds – reflexes, anticipation and quick recall are as important as knowledge here. Then there is the passing round on infinite bounce - where question passes by turn to the teams on the stage and if a team answers a question, then the next question goes to the first team which was denied the opportunity to answer the question,” explains Rai.

As interesting as it sounds, we do really hope BQC 2012 packs a punch. So be there and treat yourselves to some quizzing fun!

(The event will take place over two days - on Saturday, April 28 and Sunday April 29, 2012 - at the Bengal Club, Shivaji Park, Mumbai.)