Muscat: Eight teams — Questionable Characters, ISG Darshan and team, VIT Invictus, Natural Born Quizzers, Mostly Clueless, TamBrahms, Jet Set Go and The Quizters — will fight it out in the finals of the 16th edition of the coveted Times of Oman Open Quiz Contest (TOOOQC), to be held on Friday (December 7, 2012) at the City Amphitheatre.
The eight teams that made it to the finals were from among the 155 teams that had contested in the prelims held at the Indian School Muscat yesterday.
It was a close fight to reach the finals with teams scoring as high as 25 not making it. This, of course, underlined the quality of the teams that participated.
What came as a surprise was of course a school team qualifying for the open quiz contest. In fact, on Friday, you will not just see representations from Indian School Ghubra, but Indian School Muscat as well. Team Jet Set Go has ISM's Shreyans Singhvi from the last year's inter school winning team. Besides, team VIT Invictus has two students who passed out last year from Indian School Wadi Kabir and one from Indian School Muscat.
Speaking about the format and the questions at the prelims, quizmaster Giri 'Pickbrain' Balasubramaniam said, "We completely took into account that or we were cognizant of the fact that this is a pure open quiz. So we didn't really prepare this quiz factoring the participation of the school kids which we normally do. So it was out and out an open quiz. The format, therefore, was a graded one. There were questions that had not only single answer but dual answers. I think the tiebreaker issue was factored into it. The length of the quiz was longer to give the open teams a wider width of range to battle with. Having said that I personally think I would have expected the teams to do a little better than what they did knowing Muscat. I am actually a shade of the opinion that the participants would also be actually feeling that they could have done a little better." Speaking of the balance of the prelims, Giri said, "It is something I really liked this time because there were questions for everybody from a far wide gamut than we normally pick from. That is a very distinct change that people will see, which is what has helped the older quizzers to get back. I am glad some new teams have popped up which is really good."
Impressed that a school team is in the final, the quizmaster said, "But I had predicted that a school team will make it. That underlines the quality here. I think they are just setting the path for the other schools to follow in the future because that one team qualifying is going to give a lot of self belief to a lot of teams saying the open school is not beyond us. But it also tells me that the school quiz in April is going to be a potboiler."
About enthusiasm among teams, Giri said, "It is really nice to see teams travelling all the way and planning their travel around this quiz. There is a team which has travelled from India to participate in the quiz. The day is not far when this will probably be the Olympics of quizzing — who knows there could be multiple countries battling against each other!
"It is a quiz applicable to anybody as a global audience and we should encourage that in the future," he noted.
Speaking about the finals, he said, "Friday quiz is now well balanced with the kind of teams that have qualified. It would require teams to be of good basic quizzing foundations so to say. So, if they have a good quiz foundation they stand a phenomenal chance in this year's quiz because there is a very distinct difference that we are trying to create between the school quiz and the open quiz. But Muscat is all about how you hold your nerves is front of 6,000 people."
Some of the questions asked at the prelims included "The word comes from the Arabic root for Amīr al-bihār which meant 'one who commanded in the seas'. It was then adopted by the French and later English; What is this word? (Admiral); What do you call a group of parrots? (Pandemonium); A tomb now suffices him for whom the world was not enough, Whose epitaph reads thus? (Alexander the great), among others.
Times of Oman Annual Open Quiz is presented by Samsung and is powered by Citizen. The major sponsor is Centrepoint. The co-sponsors are Al Mudhish, Sohar Aluminium and Jindal Shadeed. The official airline is Oman Air while official host is Al Falaj Hotel and official rent a car is Sixt rent a car. The venue sponsors are Oasis water, National Investment Funds company, Modern Exchange Co, Sapil.
Audience prize and raffle
Quizzing audience of Muscat who take a lot of time to prepare for this quiz, given the fact that it is open to all, have lot to take away from the quiz. Besides audience prices through a raffle draw, they can win Samsung 40" LED TV Series 6000 from SARCO, Citizen Eco Drive watch, Oman Air ticket, Laptop from HP, HP and other prizes.